Falling Sakura by Pen 18111.

It’s a delight to see the custom pen market growing with the demand for non-disposable writing instruments. My first bespoke pen, a Shinobi from Shawn Newton, is a wonderful workhorse.

My second bespoke pen is by Yoshi Nakama, who did fabrication for conceptual artist Sol LeWitt for almost three decades. His background in materials is impressive. What made me pause mid-scroll on Facebook was a 3D-printed pen prototype with a cap shaped like an Easter Island monolith. The texture was reminiscent of ishime. Further stalking led me to his first Sakura pen, with cherry blossoms evenly distributed across the black cap and body.

I sent Yoshi a doodle of Falling Sakura. He accepted the commission and I waited a couple of months for the pen to arrive. Before he shipped it out, he asked if I wanted to use the pen as an eyedropper, and when I said yes, lengthened the inner thread section to forestall leaking.

The pen arrived in a simple box.

 The Sakura petals and blossoms aren’t painted on, but filled in with composite.

(scuff-like marks are dirt and not really scuffs)
Without a doubt, he captured the feel of softly falling cherry blossoms.

The kimono is from vintage fabric
The pen comes with a simple no. 6 EF nib. “How does it write?” Like a simple no. 6 EF nib should – with no fuss.

This model is longer than average, but is lightweight. It is closest in capped length and girth to my longer-than-usual Shinobi. (This was a surprise – I didn’t use the Shinobi as a guide when talking with Yoshi about my pen.)

Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Danitrio baby octagon, Pen 18111, Nakaya Long Piccolo, Newton Shinobi
There is a wide variation of thread placement and section length when uncapped. These are crucial in the day-to-day use of a pen, and what one person likes might not suit another. The 18111 has a shorter section than either the Nakaya or the Danitrio.

longer inner thread section for easy eyedropper conversion later
There is a mystery hole that isn’t in the right place for a breather hole. I assume this had something to do with how the pen was made.

I love how different my two bespoke pens are from each other. I do want to find an amazing nib for the Falling Sakura, though. It’s fun for scribbling, not as much for drawing.

Every pen becomes personal. Part of the joy that comes with using the Shinobi is having been present for its creation, and making friends along the way. Materials can be duplicated, but never experiences. I know the Falling Sakura will collect its own memories in time.