I wanted to start with the same question as my last post - why did they call it that?
Today I am writing about Noodlers Black Swan in Australian Roses (BSAR). I was going to write my first post about Apache Sunset but I am currently using BSAR and I am genuinely intrigued by the name choice. In my search for meaning I learned a bit more about Noodlers and I realised I should pay more attention to the artwork on the bottles as it tells a story.
BSAR is a pretty ink first released in 2010, it is hard to characterise colour-wise as it seems to be a very different colour depending on paper and pen and who has posted a picture on line.
BSAR is partially bulletproof (16% according to Noodlers) and partially water resistant. It is designed for use in pens with flex nibs as that will bring out its shading properties. Variously described as a dark burgundy plum but in drier pens it has a light cherry tone. I used a TWSBI mini for my samples and I find TWSBI does tend to the drier side so my samples are more cherry than plum.
I am still stuck on the name as there is nothing in the ink that reminds me of Australia. What comes to mind is a big red very hot country with a lot of nasty creepy bugs and snakes. If you look at the image to follow of the ink on very absorbent paper you can see the various shades that make this ink - apparently representing a black swan in the middle of a rose garden. I admire the mind of a man that could see that in the ink - it is pretty but just a blob that looks more like a poppy to me.
I find the most interesting thing is the story behind the artwork on the bottle. It is not long and here even more condensed but I hope it conveys the essence of the story.
The catfish is inviting the swan to come out of the roses. The swan doesn’t know what to do because he doesn’t know if he is going to be eaten or not, the catfish has eating utensils in his hands and in parts of the US where catfish have eaten all the fish in a lake or river they are known to eat migrating waterfowl, for example swans. The catfish is saying to the swan, “no fears mate, I am not Zeus and I only eat yabbies”.
According to Noodlers this is a very Australian thing to say and the point of interest is that an American fish is saying it. Firstly, though not Australian having lived there for many years I know Australians do not go around saying mate – it’s an urban myth that this is a common phrase across the whole of Australia. The reference to Zeus is to let the swan know the catfish isn’t a god though it is speaking and yabbies are a fresh water crustacean from Australia. The black swan is also native to Australia.
Of course the Zeus reference could also be due to the story of Leda and the swan, when in the form of a swan Zeus seduces Leda. I mention this because its not that obvious on the image of the bottle I used but if you look just to the left of the catfish's hat you can see Leda and a white swan.
This is not an ink I ever thought about purchasing. Noodlers has become very difficult to obtain in Australasia. There are a few online sites and at least one shop in Australia that used to stock Noodlers ink, my last visit in March this year there was no Noodlers available. It has got that the only solution is to order from the USA but that usually means expensive postal charges. Recently though it has become available in New Zealand through penclassics.co.nz. The range is limited but it is a start.
Cost is $NZD27.90 which works out at 31c a ml. Prices in the USA are $NZD17.26 / $AUD16 so there is a big difference but when many online sellers in the USA start with $USD75 for postage ($NZD103 / $AUD97) the cost of purchasing from the New Zealand seller is actually quite good.
Australian Noodlers retailers (prices in Australian dollars)
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