Nancy, the Pigma Microcon is archival and comes in different sizes.
Something that I use a lot because I buy them to grade papers is the Pilot G2 that is fairly cheap and can be bought in almost any store. It comes in broad, medium, and fine, I think.
I buy a lot of my art supplies from Dick Blick. They have a store that's a little more than an hour away and I also order a lot of things online from them. They have pretty good prices and run lots of sales!
Moroccan pen story.
I once went on a walking trip in the Moroccan mountains. We would come across villages in which time seemed to have stopped a long while ago. No electricity. No running water. Mud hut type buildings. etc.
There were schools though.
The children would run after we rich Westerners and appeal for 'Stilos! Stilos!' ie pens, pens of any sort.
I vowed that if I ever went back I would carry with me a box that I have under one of my bookshelves that must have about 500 pens in that I have acquired over the years from bars, restaurants, hotels, conferences, companies etc. I'll never use them, but the Moroccan kids would.
Alas, I don't think that I'll ever go back to Morocco.
End of pen story.
Michael O'Leary story.
Michael O'Leary is the CEO of Ryanair which is, I think, Europe's most popular airline.
O'Leary is famous/notoruous for his cost-cutting measures, and for trying to screw as much money out of his passengers as possible: he recently wanted to charge people for going to the toilets on his planes, but the European airline authorities canned (ha!) this.
Rynair employs thousands of people. O'Leary doesn't provide them with stationery. his message to them is basically bring your own pens and pencils and paer to work, or rip it off from other companies.
End of Michael O'Leary pen story.
Regards, JE Sweefoo
Also thanks to Amy, Theresa, and Skybridge -- Skybridge for those excellent sites to peruse. If I ever buy a lottery ticket and win, I might order every single pen at those sites, they look great. I have bookmarked them to try to figure out one or two to try. It would be great to try to send a collection like Amy suggested -- the ones I don't use anymore, plus years and years of colored editing pencils, would make up a big box by themselves. It's too bad to have them going to waste. I know, as Val said, that the bureaucracy of it all would prevent this. :--(
The Pigma Microcon interests me, Theresa, in that it's archival -- and doesn't smear if it gets wet, yes? Most people online gave it good reviews.
We use the local "FreeCycle" to offer unwanted but still useable items to our neighbors. It's amazing how many teachers snap up anything that writes! If you go to freecycle.org and enter your ZIPcode, it will tell you what Freecycle groups are near you.
Almost forgot: soaked and cleaned my two fountain pens thoroughly, and at least one may be coming back to life, very exciting! I wrote Thom a letter with one the other day and it was just getting going and seems better since. If I keep using it every day or something maybe it won't dry up like it has the other 86,000 times.
It's a beautiful French pen -- I can almost not read the name -- would it be Pecife? or Recife? I will post a picture because it's wonderful even just to look at.
The other is a very heavy Yafa fountain pen, maybe from Israel -- don't think they make them anymore? The whole thing seems to be thick stainless steel or something. I like them fat and heavy; skinny ones cramp the hand. The Yafa is cleaned but not tried yet this go-round, we will see.
Of course neither of these can be used much in art, they would smear, I'm pretty sure, though will experiment with them. I love pens and paperclips and pencils and envelopes and all that stuff, and I'm happy you all contributed your thoughts on your favorite pens. Some great info came of this, thank you.
"Found" pens! Skybridge! That idea is huge, and what a great one you made. So many plans are now swirling around in my head. Thank You Very Much.
And also for finding those sites -- it was several years ago that I tried and failed. Quite a few pens on the Yafa site look good and not expensive, eh?
Yah, the Recife was a splurge like nothing I'd ever done before (nor since). My husband was away sometime in the '90s and I decided I needed a treat, so went to a specialty stationery store in Portland and plunked down 150 of our not-many dollars on the Recife! I really loved it, but also felt guilty, especially when it didn't get used regularly enough and kept drying up, so the "treat" wasn't even real. It will be now, though, finally.