As pen and paper geeks, I think we can all agree that there aren't many cooler ways to spend an afternoon than standing on a loading dock shooting the shit with Aaron Draplin. To my delight, that's exactly what I got to do on Sunday.
My family and I spent Sunday afternoon at American Field, a pop-up marketplace in South Boston showcasing American-made goods. Draplin was one of the featured speakers at the event, and he and the Field Notes folks had neighboring merchandise tables set up as well.
While the DDC / Field Notes area seemed like a no-brainer first stop to me, a 3-1 family vote claimed that honor for the Benny's Crepe Cafe truck.
The detour worked out in my favor though, since I hit the DDC / Field Notes booth at a slow time. And sure enough, the man himself was holding down the DDC merch table. I didn't have to muster up the courage to strike up a conversation, since he marched right over and complimented me on my t-shirt. (It is pretty awesome.)
I was the only one there at the time, and he was really gracious with his time. I am terrible at making small talk, but the conversation came easy as we chatted about the whole Field Notes phenomenon, the latest Unexposed edition, and his travels around Massachusetts. He also gave the wear on my trusty DDC Stuff Sheath a good inspection.
I'm kind of past the hero worship phase of my life (though you wouldn't know it from this post), but it's really cool to meet someone whose work you respect and admire. I've mentioned before that there is something intangible about Field Notes that means something to me, and much of that soul comes from Aaron.
Then, of course, there was the whole matter of a table full of Field Notes merchandise right next door. I'm more of a Field Notes user than a collector, so I try not to buy them until I'm within a few months' striking distance of using them. But I couldn't resist grabbing a few packs of the new Unexposed books even through I already had some on the way via mail. (This was in addition to the DDC / COAL special edition re-up I had already grabbed at the DDC table.)
Matthew from Field Notes was even kind enough to let me have one of the cool stenciled storage boxes they were using for the event.
I think I may start tossing my spent Field Notes in it to see if I can fill it up before I die. Matthew also said that if you are in any way dissatisfied with the colors you receive in your Unexposed packs, you should feel free to call him at home at any hour to arrange a swap. His home phone number is....I'm just kidding, you shouldn't do that.
While the DDC / Field Notes stop was obviously the highlight for me, American Field had many other great things to offer.
Ian Schon, who was part of the 2012 class of Kickstarter pens, was set up at the event. He took it in stride when my 6-year-old walked up and immediately began busting his chops for not having any fountain pens. (If I do nothing else right as a parent...)
Some of my other favorite stops at the event were:
- Leatherhead Sports - Hello, blue leather football!
- Stonehill Design - Antique cameras and rotary telephones turned into lights!
- Loyal Citizen Clothing - One of every t-shirt and plus a hat to go, please!
That is really just scratching the surface. It was fun to see so many independent companies showing off their products (and transacting a healthy amount of business) in one place. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for future American Field events.