A story about weddings, stationery and magpies

herbin stormy grey ink


Have you ever wondered what happens to something when it disappears out of sight? Every day we send all this stationery out to a new home and we have no idea what fate awaits it. Rarely does someone shed any light on how they have used it. And then along comes a customer who shares so much of her story that it simply demands to be told.

A customer of ours, Maria Berry, had bought some of the Herbin 1670 stormy grey ink (the one with gold bits in) and a Lamy fountain pen. She had liased with Kate when sorting out her order, and then received a personal note with her order from Mishka (our ‘fountain pen Yoda’ apparently). The story first crossed my radar when a very nice picture popped up from @Picapicas on our Instagram feed (

A conversation ensued and the result was that Maria told me the story of her impending wedding and our ink. As she says of her relationship with us, “I've been a stationery addict for years and my first encounter with Bureau Direct was about 3 years ago when I bought the J Herbin rollerball.  From that day to this, Stationery Wednesday has formed a staple part of my digital week! There was no way I couldn't somehow include you in our unconventional, handmade wedding!” It’s possibly the most unusual compliment we’ve had, but we do unusual so that’s perfect. And now Maria’s going to feature in Stationery Wednesday.

Maria wisely chose a Lamy pen – “I bought my first Lamy about a year ago and I was hooked. When I realised that Steve's sister (who has made our invitations as a wedding present) would not be addressing the envelopes, it seemed obvious that I would *need* a new fountain pen for the job. I prefer broad nibs but I wondered how broad I could possibly go - could I really get away with using a 1.5mm italic nib? I read all the reviews for the various Lamy pens and the Lamy Logo fountain pen sounded perfect - a heavier pen than the Safari with a convertor included! I couldn't believe the price, especially when it arrived and felt like a grown up pen!

And the Stormy Grey ink? “Stormy Grey ink is practically legendary on Instagram and I'd wanted to try it for ages. But how often does one really require an ink with gold particles? Well if I didn't require an ink with gold particles to address my wedding invitations, I never would! So that was sorted!”. Maria didn’t stop there. “I melted down the black and gold (Herbin wax) sticks to make my own sealing wax that would hopefully match Stormy Grey.

So far so easy, you say. But not all of us have the same confidence when it comes to writing. I certainly don’t. Maria told me “I would never be so bold as to call my handwriting calligraphy - I watched lots and lots of Youtube videos beforehand, which was a terrible idea. I lost all my naive confidence and felt sure the plan was doomed to look childish and amateur - me, a perfectionist? Never!"

"Anyway, never having even attempted calligraphy before, I took Lamy in hand with my Rhodia paper and just started writing.  The quick brown fox never jumped over the lazy dog so many times! Eventually, I decided enough was enough - just write the bloody addresses on the envelopes! So I did.  And it worked! It looked great (even to my eye) and I was really chuffed with myself. I took Mishka's sage advice and regularly shook and rotated the pen to distribute the gold particles - how the ink twinkles in the light!

And so to the wedding. “We’re having a handfasting ceremony in a bandstand set in local woodlands.  There are lots of handmade and unusual elements in the day, which will have a woodland theme - daffodils, crystals, real antlers and lots of magpie feathers.  I've asked lots of my Instagram friends all over the world to send us something either vintage or handmade to include in our decorations - crocheted daffodils, knitted bunting, old postcards, bits of twigs and stones - anything they like as long as it's sent with love!

And finally, what's that title about?


The magpie thing comes from me - I see myself as a magpie (often misunderstood and hopelessly attracted to twinkly things!), hence my Instagram profile name being @picapicas, the latin for European Magpies.


The Roman numerals in the blog title? All is explained, in case you hadn’t worked it out. As Maria told me, “we decided to get married at 14:15 on 1/4/15, the Roman numerals being MCDXV. As big fans of Greek & Roman history, it made sense to somehow incorporate Roman numerals into the day.

There is one last thing that I am surprised Maria didn’t mention – that she is getting married on…a Wednesday. I guess it had to be really. Stationery Wednesday wishes Maria and Steve all the best for their big day and the future.


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One thought on “MCDXV”

  • Jane Imrie

    Re MCDXV.
    Your lovely story from Maria, but tell me do you know where she got the stamp to impress into the sealing wax??

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