I tend to get asked this question a lot about my hobbies. I suppose that I should really expect this from my unusual hobbies. I don't do things that are normal, like play golf, on the weekends. Instead I obsess over fountain pens and fanboy about the newest ink iterations or get all twitterpated about the newest innovations coming out of 3-D printing for the pen world.
It's a little strange, I admit, but as I tell everyone, I'm not hurting anyone and there are far worse things to be doing with my time.
But why fountain pens? How did I come to be obsessed with them and how do I explain the obsession? I've had this conversation with other fellow addicts and there is one thing many of us can agree on that draws us to this hobby - that is the aspect of functional art. It is the same thing that draws many of us to also collect pocket knives or appreciate homemade quilts or collect watches. They are pieces of art that can require great skill to accomplish (or can be mass-produced with varying results) and yet we are able to use them every day, on a near constant basis.
Before mass-production was a possibility, there were only craftsmen and women who spent their lifetimes devoted to learning how to perfect the craft of each of these arts. Now there are companies that have figured out how to do it on such large scale that mass-production has almost completely replaced craftspeople. In some industries and areas it unfortunately has. Lucky for us in the pen world, there are still myriad craftspeople who are carrying on the trade and making their craft available to us.
It's these craftspeople that attracted me to the hobby and keep me entertained. I love to see what the mass manufacturers come up with and their wares make up the bulk of my collection, but the real passion comes from seeing the craftsmen and women and their innovations.