Friday, July 24, 2009
Clairefontaine Pollen small flat cards
My first Exaclair goodie review shall be the Pollen small flat cards. These are the 5 x 3.25 size in light grey. (The fountain pen shown is a Sailor Ballerie XF, quite a slim pen.)
I hope in this photo you can see that the envelopes have a self-adhesive closure; pull off the wax backing, and they'll seal themselves. I have no idea why they do this, but it's kind of nice. The paper weight is heavy but not cumbersome, and it's no surprise that it takes fountain pen ink beautifully. (I've not met a Clairefontaine paper that doesn't.)
Since the marketing copy on the envelope notes that stamping is one of the intended purposes, I thought a rubber stamp was in order. This went to a cat lover, so of course I got catty with it. Indeed the card did take the stamped image beautifully. The ink shown is Private Reserve Blue Suede (riding in the Ballerie that you saw above), which is normally a very smeary, slow-drying ink. I am pleased to report that it dried more quickly on this paper than on my beloved Clairefontaine standby, the Triomphe writing tablet. The Pollen is not as smooth as the Triomphe, but I'd hardly call it toothy. I'd say this is great stuff for stamping. I didn't photograph it for a review, but in using the larger Pollen notecards, I stamped those with a different stamp, and it also did quite well.
I hope this photo of the envelope can show you a fairly accurate portrayal of the light grey color, in contrast to the white border on the Memo stamp. (Yes, Memo is another one of my cats.) Actually the color is my biggest complaint here. Normally I am a grey fan, but this grey is just kind of boring. Instead of having any color tones or depth, it looks like a dingy cream. I swear to you that the back of my package says "light grey," but in the Pollen color listing on the Exaclair page, I see no light grey - only pearl grey, dark grey and silver. I think this must be pearl grey, it says 88 next to that color name and the label of my package also has an 88 on it. The dark grey looks too dark for me, so I can only hope the silver is a little more interesting. But I think the only colors I would choose would be ivory or white; I prefer to show off the color of a fountain pen ink and not let the color of the paper get in the way. Oh yes, this cat rubber stamp is an Edward Gorey cat.
The back of the envelope sports a second impression from the same Gorey cat stamp inking, plus a photo sticker of my cat Magic making one of her many charming faces (and sticking out her little pink kitty tongue). I do like the cut of the envelope, or the fold, or the pattern - whatever you call the way the pieces fit together in the back. And this envelope is certainly sturdy; again, not unwieldy, but should stand up well in any postal service handling.
Also, the paper and envelope are both sturdy enough to stand up to some interesting crafting options. I wouldn't hesitate to use glitter glue, spray glimmer mist, or do things a bit more hearty or "wet" to it.
Overall my impressions of this are quite positive. I enjoy writing on it, and am pleased that it takes ink so well, but is thick enough never to show through. Granted, I used an extra-fine nib to write, so if I have any bleeding or different results with a medium nib, I will be sure to report that... but I really doubt I'd ever see bleeding on Clairefontaine.
Oh yes - the retail price is $5 for 5 flat cards and envelopes - not a bad deal at all, I'd say.