If you have a fountain pen, and you use bottled ink, you haven't been short of choices for inks to use. From old classics like Parker Quink, Waterman and Pelikan 4001, to interesting Japanese inks from Sailor, Pilot and Platinum. From the vast selection of Diamine to the carefully selected luxury range from Graf von Faber-Castell.
So why would you choose ink from Australian specialist Robert Oster?
How about the environmental credentials? The ink is inspired by Australian nature, and Robert carefully selects the packaging to minimise harm. The bottles, for example, are made from recycled materials. Or perhaps just for the colours? They are amazing, with a huge range, and some beautiful shades. Or what about the unusual effects? Some of Robert's inks have the most amazing sheen, and there's a selection with tiny particles of gold and silver to give them a sparkle.
We'd love to say we were ahead of the curve with finding these wonderful inks, but the truth is we saw the amazing sheen of Fire & Ice all over Instagram, as people discovered its charms. It wasn't the first ink to have a sheen in a contrasting colour, but it was one of the most contrasty ones - a fiery red shining on top of an ice-cold blue. People started asking us about it, so we asked Robert about it, and then a shipment of liquid beauty was on its way from Australia to Devon.
We still didn't know a lot of the story behind the ink, so we asked Robert Oster a few questions, and he took a little time from his (very!) busy day to fill us in a little.
I was working for a government department at the time. I had always liked papers and pens and so forth. Previously I’d run a small graphic design studio in Adelaide. So when I walked past a pen store in Melbourne one fateful day in 1989 and saw a beautiful, black Montblanc 146 – it seemed to have my name on it. I still have the first bottle of Montblanc turquoise ink I bought with the pen.
I love Australia. Its colours. Its nature. And I love that we manufacture some of the finest and cleanest products around – so it makes sense that we source components and packaging in Australia. Our bottles are made from recycled chemicals; they’re produced in Australia’s first fully carbon neutral plant. So we like to think that we’re doing some good along the way.
Fire and Ice was inspired by an artist who asked not to be named. He shared his passion for someone who he admired, and it was crafted to that person’s favourite shade of blue. We’re grateful for the profound influence our blues have had on the pen community, Fire and Ice being the best known I guess.
I don’t comment on my favourite colours or which I have any special preference for. Suffice to say that I personally favour blues and teals. I can’t deny that. And it obviously reveals itself in the percentage of the collection that blue and teal make up.
I use inks from a number of manufacturers on a daily basis. I’ve never been afraid to promote some of the stunning colours other manufacturers make – my respect for manufacturers such as KWZ for example is a matter of record. And I still use that first bottle of Montblanc ink I bought with my very first fountain pen.
We’re aiming to get some form of permanency into a range to form part of our regular collection of gold label Fountain Pen Ink. The hope was for a Christmas release. But that may not eventuate until the new year. We really want to keep our product as nature clean and friendly as possible, and that means being careful to do it right rather than on time.
8 October 2018