‘Fountain Pen Inks and Bleach encompass in Nick Stewart’s professional and creative practice an essential passion and unbridled enthusiasm for the medium, application and culturalrelevance of practice driven engagement. His investigations into this little known area, offer an insightful and creative edge not just in terms of its extensive rigour and ground-breaking approach, more so through its overarching educational focus and intent.
Nick has successfully repositioned, re-examined and expanded the knowledge base through intense practice led endeavours that have unlocked previously unrealised potential in both the medium and application techniques. His series of successful community and university based workshops have been a pivotal aspect of his extraordinary experimentation, allowing a breadth of access across a diverse demographic, keying into a rich historical context while celebrating a new lease of life for a medium in decline.
The potential and future development for his research is immense, with opportunities on a national and international level. The cultural and social capital in regard to both product and educational development is clearly evident.
Having known Nick for over fourteen years as both educator and practitioner, I have utilised his experience and expertise on a number of occasions across a range of courses at University for the Creative Arts. He is a natural communicator and inspirational educator who easily engages with students from the widest range of educative and cultural backgrounds.
His Fountain Pen Inks and Bleach workshops are a unique art experience.’
Gary Clough RCA
Head of Programme – Graduate Diploma Art and Design
Royal College of Art
‘The work Nick is doing is a fascinating exploration into some of the yet-to-be-discovered aspects of the composition of fountain pen ink. With a recent boom in diversity of fountain pen ink colours, Nick is exploring the makeup of these inks through his art in a way I haven’t seen done before. His work is visually stunning and fascinating to those within the fountain pen community as well as those who can simply appreciate beautiful art. I support Nick in his efforts to explore the boundaries in what can be expressed with fountain pen ink.
I am Brian Goulet and I am founder of GouletPens.com, one of the largest online fountain pen retail stores in the world. I have over 1,000 videos reviewing and showcasing various pens, notebooks, and fountain pen ink. I know or am connected to just about anyone who is moving the needle in the fountain pen world, and Nick came up on my radar in last year through his exploration of ink and bleach. It’s incredible to see his talent and dedication to his craft, for the creativity expressed in his art and for the excitement and enthusiasm he’s generated within the fountain pen community.’
‘My name is Catherine from Sakura Fountain Pen Gallery in Belgium. Some time ago we organised a fountain pen ink workshop with Nick Stewart. The workshop turned out to be a magical ink experience. I think most students had a calligraphic line in mind but Nick led them into a world of chromatography, ink splashes, bleach, paper, brushes, automatic pens … After a few hours small works of art appeared !
Fountain pen ink looks like a common thing but it is an unexplored medium ready to be discovered by anybody from the age of 8 to the well trained artist. Nick is an artist. His tutorials are fun and based on experience, skills and passion. Sign up for one of this classes and you’ll return with a whole new vision on fountain pen inks!’
‘Rochester Cathedral first worked with Nick Stewart in 2011 on the KJV400 project. Nick ran a series of inspirational Quink ink and bleach workshops for teenagers which resulted in a stunning exhibition in the Cathedral crypt. The exhibition attracted 20,000 visitors in a two week period, a record for the Cathedral. The project linked Facebook page is still attracting interest. Click to view.
We then engaged Nick in 2016 to deliver a series of workshops on illumination, taking inspiration from beasts real and mythical found in decoration in and around the cathedral. This was followed with a series of grafitti inspired workshops in 2017. His medium for both events was coloured fountain pen inks and bleach using techniques learned through his personal project. Nick delivered a total of 12 workshops to varying audiences including families, adults, teenagers, retirees and students with special needs. Nick was informative, inspirational and encouraging in his approach. The resulting exhibitions inspired over 2,000 cathedral visitors to submit their own illuminated letters and grafitti for inclusion in dedicated display areas.
Nick is a creative thinker who passes on his enthusiasm for ink and bleach to each and every audience he works with.’
Education Officer at Rochester Cathedral Helen.Bradshaw@rochestercathedral.org
(Evaluation document available on request).
‘Nick came to our attention during the launch of our fountain pen Shimmer Inks. Not only did he test the new range with his perfect handwriting but he used our inks in artistic and calligraphic ways that we could never have imagined. His in-depth research and chromatic based artworks posted on his blog are an inspiration.
As an international manufacturer of one the world’s largest ink ranges, we are aware of his ambitions to promote fountain pen inks and bleach as a stand alone art medium. An ambition that Diamine sincerely hope is realised.’
‘What can one say about the art of Nick Stewart. In the realm of the normal, one is polite and careful. In the world of Nick Stewart, normality has no place. The careful is banished.
Some of the grandest statements made in art are the purest and most gracious. Nick has captured newness in message. This is made possible only by his departure from the normal and his embrace of boldness in method, media and medium.
Nick has brandished inks and ink dyes and wielded them as weapons of change in a world in desperate need of the super natural. With water and other liquids added, ink becomes art becomes a virtual pool to drink in the bitter sweet.
Eye popping results that effervesce and quench the ink community desire for ever increasing personality in what they see. No longer are ink reviews about letterforms alone. Not since Nick Stewart.
The originality in ink and ink dye applications in art, of which Nick is master, has led the community in unchartered directions. It is now commonplace to see budding artists, once mere fountain pen users, tread in the master’s steps, using ink for art instead of just ink.
Nick has trail blazed. Mortal ink manufacturers such as I, are now seen as ink designers through the beauty of product reviews painted by Nick Stewart. Our names are echoed in his media and upon his talents rest our futures.’
‘What Nick has achieved with Fountain Pens Ink and Bleach is quite significant. Not only is this a visually impactive illustration and lettering investigation that has caught the imagination of an international audience, but he may well have stumbled upon a new art medium through re-imagining an already existing product intended for use in a related but separate visual communication sector. He has certainly remained true to his manifesto and the outcomes he has revealed to-date would suggest that he’s unwittingly found himself at the forefront of something new and exciting.
I certainly champion the idea of taking a process from the science lab and transforming it into art forms with new techniques found through the project investigations. With some wider recognition and credibility behind it, this project has the potential to grow into a seminal piece of creative investigation with genuine value for creativity as a whole.’
‘I ran into Nick’s work at the beginning of 2016. I myself I am an avid inkophile who has been experimenting with inks not only as a utilitarian tool for writing but also, as tool for expressing oneself in an artistic fashion. Nick’s work caught my attention because of its immense creativity and innovation. No one but him has jumped into the field of combining Ink and Bleach as a medium of artistic significance. His work is breathtaking and I am in awe of his talents in successfully combining various techniques (washes, calligraphy, line work etc) with ink and bleach.
I am a known Ink Reviewer at The Fountain Pen Network (FPN) and although I have reviewed hundreds of mass-produced inks, I specialized in testing and reviewing hand crafted inks. The Fountain Pen Network is an international online community with more than 100,000 members (107,900 members as of December 2017).
The last 10 years we have seen an explosion of colour in the ink market and it is Nick’s work that brings forward the immense new possibilities for ink as an artistic tool. Seeing what Nick can do with ink and bleach reminds people that in this era of technological advances, there are still basic things, ordinary things like fountain pen ink that can give us great satisfaction in our artistic pursuits.
Nick’s impact on the Fountain Pen Community is tangible; every time he experiments with a brand of ink there is a surge from the FP community to acquire the inks he uses so they can also recreate his famous washes and swatch cards.’