15 November 2011

Madrid 2011

The Eighth Madrid Pen Show has just finished. As is often the case with these events, it was a big celebration for all of us lovers of fountain pens and other writing utensils.

Paradoxically, this show is becoming one of the leading events of its kind in Europe. We should remember that the pen industry in Spain was never truly important, and it was localized mainly in Barcelona, and Spanish pens are seldom, if ever, collected by foreign stylophiles. So, those arguments that apply to other pen shows located in cities with a deep manufacturing tradition do not apply in Madrid—does anybody come to Madrid in search a locally made exotic and unique pen? Maybe the 43 traders from Europe and America supplied a number of outstanding pens.

Last year, the seventh edition received about 1000 visitors, and this year everybody said there were less people (about 850, Pen Show sources say), as was the trend on other European pen shows. Figures about the size of the transactions are not made public.

However, this pen show has a big problem of space. Some of the trader’s tables were small and moving around became difficult with just a few number of visitors. Organizers said that the venue for next year’s show will be bigger. I look forward to it, but I am also afraid that organizers think more of the trader than of the visitor. Having more space for more traders with ampler tables is great, but too often the social aspect of the show is ignored. Pen shows are also a meeting place for stylophiles, who keep in touch through fora and blogs. And few occasions are as perfect as pen show for a gathering.

Then, what many an organizer ignores is that those meetings increase sales. We all love to talk about our hobby and we enjoy testing each other's pens. Having a place to sit and a table to display our treasured pens will trigger even more curiosity on other pens. And right there, there are over ten thousand pens ready for the action.

Resident artist Els Baekelandt's tools.

I do believe the social aspect of a pen show needs to be favored. If only, because it will increase the economic yield. But it seems that only in Japan this aspect is taken into consideration.

(Sailor ProGear, senior nib – Daiso red cartridge)

Bruno Taut
November 14th, 2011
[etiquetas: evento, Madrid, mercado]

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