Tracy King-Sanchez is a loyal customer of mine who has an interesting and inspiring story about her discovery of Clairefontaine. I’m incredibly thrilled that the products I carry have helped to reignite her passion for writing, that’s what I strive to do with my customers and blog readers every day. She’s done a wide assortment of ink samples on several different papers, utilizing one of the most fun and efficient ways to test ink colors: the glass pen. Be sure to also stop by Tracy’s blog, It Is What It Is. Ink samples are available at Brian Goulet

About 3 years ago, I had begun noticing a mild reaction to the paper in the new notebooks I was purchasing (itching, watery eyes, sinus problems). Even my joy for books had to be shelved due to this same reaction. In addition to loving pens and paper (and everything Mac), I’m a bibliophile. I own over 500 physical books (as well as an ever-growing eBook collection – I love my Kindle). I believe that the new efforts at recycling paper may have caused an unforeseen problem in the possible chemical or processing being used. I have searched the internet for facts to back my assertion; however, to date I have not found one stitch of evidence. At first, I thought it was just in my head, but it got so bad that I could not go long periods of time without having to get up and wash my hands and face, sometimes even turning to Sudafed. That’s when my Macbook Pro and, later, Kindle became my best friends.

A few weeks ago I was strolling through my favorite little neighborhood down port – right on the Long Island Sound, and I came across a stationery store – of course, a beautifully bound journal caught my eye, and I just had to have it. That’s when I saw these two small plastic wrapped books and the words “Life. unplugged” screaming out to me. I purchased them (and oddly enough, not the journal), not really realizing how much joy they would return to me. It was a few days before I sat down to rip open the plastic and discover the gems within. I’m in love!!!!! Clairefontaine, I wish I had known you sooner. I am halfway through one of the books and have been holding back, but now with the arrival of my treasure trove of Clairefontaine goodies, pen will go to paper once again, reawakening a part of me that had been lulled to sleep.

As a writer and aspiring filmmaker, writing is essential for me – pretty much like breathing. I originally wrote all my scripts with pen and paper, but I had to sadly abandon that approach until I met my new love – Clairefontaine. My favorite Clairfontaine product is Life. Unplugged Duos; I’ve gone through them like water. I can’t wait to use the Loose Paper I just purchased.  While I love technology, there is nothing like pen and paper. I can’t pass a beautiful bound journal without scraping the bottom of my purse for loose change in order to add to my ever growing journal collection. Yes, collection, as I have been unable to actually write in many of these journals due to my unexplained (un-collaborated) reaction to the paper. 
This is my first paper/ink review, so forgive me if I leave anything of importance out.
Also, ironically, this review was typed on my iPad using the Pages App – I love the
juxtaposition between old and new.


I really love Clairefontaine paper and was excited to try out the $3 Rhodia No. 16 Sampler
Pack from The Goulet Pen Company. The packet includes four types of paper (wideruled,
dot, graph and blank).

I started with the graph paper and immediately fell in love with the smooth Clairfontaine

I tried a few different fountain pens (mostly Lamys) and inks and they all performed as

Next I tried the wide- ruled margin paper. At first glance, I was not a particular fan of the
wide margins – not something I would use daily. I do see how this could be extremely
accommodating for budgeting and/or record keeping.

Please forgive the horrible writing samples as I am extremely new to glass pens and
have yet to master the art of writing with one (I’ll keep practicing).

Next up was the dotted paper. I have to admit, I am not a fan of dotted paper. This was
my first time using it, and I doubt I’ll be purchasing more. I’m really glad I was able to
purchase a sample of it before committing to an entire pad/book.

Again, I ran into issues using the glass pens, but I did notice, even with all the
scratching my way through (and believe me I did a lot of scratching on the paper), the
paper held up. The paper is very strong and sturdy, and takes the heavy ink well.

I don’t think the true ink colors are coming through in this review. I scanned the pages
using Fujitsu Photo Scan, I then saved it into iPhoto and emailed it to myself opening it
using my iPad. It’s always interesting finding new ways to use technology. However,
these photos do a poor job getting across the look – and especially feel- of the paper
and ink.

Lastly, I used the blank paper. Let me state for the record, I do not do blank paper well. I
need lines – and even then, I’m all over the place. For me, I use paper for first drafts,
and am so thankful for computers for polishing up my act.

Anyway, as expected, the paper performed well, while my glass pen writing failed

In terms of the ink, I am a fan of the J. Herbin line of inks – even when trying horribly to
use glass pens. I love the rich, deep color of the Caran inks – I will be purchasing more.
The jury is still out on Diamine, they may be a bit too saturated for me to appreciate the
color and shading – I’ll have to see how they perform in fountain pens before I rule them
completely out (my guess is that they will probably do best in an extra-fine and/or fine

A side note – I must confess that my favorite ink is the Levenger Shiraz. I love, love, love
the rich color and am looking for something comparable in one of the other brands. I
use the Shiraz daily in my Rhodia Blank “Webbie” (as expected my hand writing is all
over the place – lines are a guideline and not a rule – no matter what the pun says).