Montegrappa Tulip For Team Fox: Writing For Health
by Martin Green
Especially over the last couple of decades, the fountain pen has metamorphosed from being in everybody’s pocket into an objet d’art.
People who still buy and write with fountain pens make a conscious decision to do so, making the writing itself a more deliberate act as well.
Italian brand Montegrappa is well aware of this fact and has for quite some time now been focusing its production on creating exquisite fountain pens that write superbly and look great.
Yet Montegrappa also looks beyond that, recently joining forces with renowned Australian artist Timothy John to create an extraordinary pen whose proceeds go to support the Michael J. Fox Foundation in its fight against Parkinson’s disease.
Montegrappa and Parkinson’s
The sad thing is that the celebrated actor and the talented artist have something in common: they both have Parkinson’s disease.
The disease dramatically affects how they express themselves in their respective arts: audiences miss the wit of Michael J. Fox on the silver screen, while John, who has his good days and his bad days, tries to continue making art, the essence of his life.
John freely documents his struggles through his Facebook account, and whether he has a good day or a bad day he continues to create. This gives even people who are not familiar with the effects of Parkinson’s an idea of how it impacts everyday life and presents daily challenges.
“We have collaborated with Timothy for many years and when we learned of his diagnosis, it left a deep impact,” said Giuseppe Aquila, CEO of Montegrappa. “Giving the green light to the Tulip for Team Fox was a chance to support a friend while highlighting the overriding issue of Parkinson’s. From the creation phase through to post launch, Timothy’s engagement has been remarkable.”
Fox did not sit idle after disclosing that he had Parkinson’s disease in 1998, becoming a strong advocate for increased research and in 2000 establishing a foundation to take on the fight.
Currently, Fox’s foundation is the driving force behind Parkinson’s research worldwide. And now Montegrappa and Timothy John have joined in to help support its efforts.
“The design for the pen was an amalgam of ideas between myself and Giuseppe,” said John on the creation of the pen.
“When I was having a good day and I was able to draw (when the Parkinson’s tremors and the brain fog was not too bad) I was just sketching in my notebooks. I had only recently discovered that the tulip was the international symbol of Parkinson’s disease, so I was exploring the form of the tulip. I knew that I wanted to design a unique clip and I wanted it to be sculptural and cool looking as it ‘peeked out’ of a shirt or jacket pocket. I covered pages with ideas and, like always, it was the first drawing that I kept coming back to.
“The form was perfect, and when I showed Giuseppe he agreed. The choice of the pen was Giuseppe going with the retro shape, which I think is beautiful. Once the collaboration with Team Fox was confirmed, it was decided to use their corporate colors. I had always wanted the pen to shout ‘LOOK AT ME!!!’ and it most definitely does that. I wanted this pen to demand attention and create discussion. Most of all I wanted it to be beautiful and commercially successful, so we achieved great sales for this great cause.”
Is the pen mightier than its purpose?
While it’s great when a fountain pen supports a good cause, that doesn’t automatically mean that anything goes as regards the pen itself.
Montegrappa probably understands this better than anyone as the added value of the brand is in being more than just offering a way to write something down. That and, of course, being Italian.
When we look beyond the cause it supports, the Tulip for Team Fox leaves little to be desired. Perhaps one of the things I appreciate the most is rather than scream “I support a good cause,” it is simply an attractive pen.
Its cap and body are crafted in resin in a very attractive color scheme of red and orange. If you mentioned these two colors to me in the same sentence, I would normally say that in combination with each other it might be a bit too Austin Powers.
But they work very well in Montegrappa’s sleek design. The fountain pen can be filled with either a cartridge or a converter.
A beautiful detail is the tulip-shaped clip John designed, which adds a lot of character and further increases the want factor.
The nib is made of stainless steel, making it the only part of this pen that I would have liked to have been different. Call me a purist, but I prefer the smooth touch that gold gives a nib.
To its credit, Montegrappa does offer the stainless steel nib not only from Extra Fine to Broad but also as a 1.1 and 1.5 mm stub as well as in ballpoint and rollerball.
Alongside supporting the fight against Parkinson’s, it also makes a fine addition to any (fountain) pen collection.
Parkinson’s Reflection by Timothy John
In the quiet
when the world sleeps
I sit and think and hurt.
I remember, what used to be,
how once thought and movement connected.
Now, not so much.
Now there is a pause
and a stutter
and a fall
and a constant mutter
but that’s not all.
Now there is also a space where confidence once lived,
where a lifetime of work and memory
were safe and could be called upon.
Where beauty flowed
and ideas grew
and with each breath, I knew…
who I was
and why I was here.
Now, not so much. ….
Now there is a pause and a stutter
and a fall
and a constant mutter
that’s not all.
For more information, please visit www.montegrappa.com.
Quick Facts Montegrappa Tulip for Team Fox
Barrel and cap: resin
Nib: Stainless steel
Price: €295 (fountain pen), €285 (rollerball), €275 (ballpoint)