The postman delivered an unexpected package this morning. It was a large bottle of ink and an accompanying letter, from which I quote: “I offered to give it away on the Fountain Pen Network forum and someone suggested I send it to you. So here it is. I hope that you love (or at least don’t hate) it. If not then feel free to throw it in the bin. I don’t recommend pouring it down your sink unless you are prepared to replace your sink and possibly your entire kitchen.”
So this is the famous, or perhaps infamous Baystate Blue, one of Nathan Tardiff’s more controversial inks. I remember Tardiff from many years ago when he was an expert in re-tipping pens and produced some highly unusual nib tips. Where he upset some was in re-tipping uncommon vintage nibs, an absolute no-no in the collector world. He went on to produce a new range of inks with great success.
I believe Tardiff is a species of genius, highly original and very capable but he is also a troubled spirit, constantly seeking controversy. The titles of some of his inks unnecessarily reflect his politics which some would refer to as patriotic while others, including me, would say he is aggressively right wing, which I regard as a thoroughly unpleasant creed.
Leaving that aside, this is the first of his inks that I have used. It is very beautiful, a startlingly intense blue, clearly a super-saturated ink. I am not unaware of its reputation for staining everything it comes near and destroying pens. It is said that the process whereby it damages feeds and sections is that it reacts with traces of other inks that remain in the pen. A warning is given on the bottle to ensure that the pen is absolutely clean. I am taking no risks and have filled a cheap Chinese pen that has never been used before. Hopefully it will survive and become my Baystate Blue pen because I love this ink.
Normally I pay little attention to ink. As I may have mentioned before, I have some Parker and Diamine inks and several bottles of very old inks, Stephens, Swan and some others. I stopped buying ink quite a while ago. That makes it all the more surprising to me that I am very impressed with Baystate Blue.