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Massdrop Staff Picks: Meet J9

To help you get to know the people behind our Staff Picks collection, we asked each team member a little about themselves, how they got interested in their favorite community, and what else they’re doing these days. Read the Q&A, check out their picks, and use the comment section to ask questions or just say hello.

Meet J9, who’s all about the Writing Community.

Q: What do you do at Massdrop? A: I just started on our Vendor Relations team. I'm working with lots of new vendors, orienting them with how we do things at Massdrop (we are a little different than a lot of other businesses).
Q: What do you like most about working at Massdrop?
A: The people. This will be a common answer, I know, but it's true. Everyone here is smart, skilled, and passionate. It doesn't hurt that we have a good time when we're all together. The products are pretty cool too. When I started working at Massdrop, I actually came on as the Sample Coordinator, so I got to handle all the products that came in and out as they had their photos taken for the site. Working with products you’re passionate about with people who are just as enthusiastic as you are is incredibly rewarding, and so much fun.
Q: How did you get into writing?
A: Journalling and writing to pen pals were significant catalysts for me. I love the way new thoughts fill the space that's left when my pen is physically catching up with my previous thought. One night I found myself on the The Fountain Pen Network forums and after many hours of sleuthing, I decided that a Lamy Safari would be my first fountain pen. Then I found the Pen Addict podcast and it was game over from there. Along the way, someone showed me the drop page for the Levenger Bomber Jacket Pen Wrap-- I signed up for an account on Massdrop and read the daily email every single day for ten months before I applied to work here.
Q: What are some of your favorite products in that community?
A: J. Herbin 1670 Inks (because obviously), the Karas Kustom EDK Pen, Octaevo Brass Bookmarks, the Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencil Set (I drool over this even though I have absolutely no reason to own this many colored pencils, but it is seriously gorgeous), the Flower Collection of the Diamine Ink Boxed Gift Set, and basically any of the Bungbox inks. I could really go on and on and on.
Q: What are some of your other hobbies/interests?
A: Recently I've been getting into painting with watercolors and it has been so much fun pushing water and pigment around. I also practice calligraphy (currently focused on Spencerian script), and am obsessed with plants and gardening. My first love was bookbinding--I love the precision and craftsmanship that goes into it. To me, making books feels like magic.

Check out J9’s picks: Pilot & Rhodia Silver Starter Set
Levenger Bomber Jacket Pen Wrap
Karas Kustoms EDK Pen
Diamine 150th Anniversary Ink (2-Pack)

Follow J9 to see what she's up to:

Jan 22, 2018
Beautiful @jeanines - delicate work indeed. Love it
Aug 22, 2017
I'm sorry but the bricks and chicklets pose for the Massdrop crew portrai really does not do them justice.
Do you still bind books J9? Where do you source your material and equipment? I would love to get my hands on a book press and a heavy duty paper cutter.
Aug 19, 2017
TherocThese days, not so much-- but I'd like to get back into it. If there are any folks locally (Bay Area) that would like to Skillshare or hang out and learn, this could be fun.
There is a lot you can do at home without having things like a fancy book press, and that's one of the things I love about it. I'm super lucky that in SF, we have the San Francisco Center for the Book. Once you take a basic course with them, you are able to rent studio time- and they've got all the stuff you need. Sometimes I will work on as many projects as I can up until a certain point where I need the equipment, and then spend some time there to use even just the guillotine for those smooth even edges.
As for supplies- I got some basic supplies (awl, bone folder, linen thread, paper) from a normal art store. Of course today you can also get everything online, but I think it's fun to make my own book cloth. You can take any fabric and turn it into book cloth with the right kind of glue and paper. When I was in college, there was a bookbindery super close to campus (Petingell's Bookbindery for any Berkeley folks). They would sell me leftover scraps of book cloth for very cheap, and they also had a selection of other supplies and leftovers, like headbands and cool paper. Art books made out of found objects are fun too.
What about you? It sounds like you are into making books as well!
jeaninesBack home, almost every other stationary store would offer book binding services. Nothing artistic; it was a university town and most of it was binding and re-binding of text books. The upshot was you could bring your own project to any of those stores and they would cut or press the block for you, for the equivalent of about 50 cents. Binding material was easy to source and very cheap. It's still common for people to buy the fabric and sew their own clothes. In the past it was out of necessity, today its more of a tradition. The one thing that was hard to get (read expensive) was quality paper. I started by downloading texts from the Gutenberg Project (it was the bees knees to me, back then. Like a public domain Amazon) work typography and page layout on Microsoft Publisher, add illustrations, sometimes my own. Then print it on cotton paper, get it cut and pressed, then bind it and have it gold embossed. I did all this because fine-bound books were impossible to find over there. However, I wasn't very happy with the end result, mostly because HP Laserjet 5. So eventually I gave up on the printing part and began re-binding my father's old books and notes. Anyway, that was all over a decade ago, but I've always wanted to pick it up again.
Can I get to see some of your water color paintings? Also, bookbinding!! I want to know more about the process.
Aug 18, 2017
kunalkumarhere's some watercolor progress pics. i'm such a beginner that everything i work on is a learning experience.. especially the mistakes. watercolor is really difficult!

trying to recreate a john singer sargent piece


I'll post pics of books later :)
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