Robert Oster Signature Inks prides itself on its unique colours that are a genuine “inventory and inspiration” of the Australian landscape palette.
The colours are reminiscent of landmarks, cultures and feelings that surround us in our breathtakingly beautiful – and sometimes harsh – natural environment; these colours embody a feeling within us inspired by these landscapes. Suffice to say, we are very excited to launch Robert Oster Signature Inks on Milligram and proud to be supporting an Australian, hand-made brand, which is already bringing joy, inspiration and triumph on the world stage.
Who is Robert Oster?
Robert Oster became interested in fountain pens in 1989, and from there he developed a desire to produce inks that reflect the rich culture and colours of the wine region of Coonawarra, South Australia.
The inks are 100% Australian made, they are non-toxic and come in recyclable PET plastic bottles that are produced through totally carbon neutral processes in Australia.
We chat with Robert Oster to find out a bit more about these signature inks and where his inspiration comes from.
I am blessed to be an Australian and I’m grateful for the spotlight that being Australian has shone on my ink colours.
1) Your interest in fountain pens began in 1989 – what was it that triggered your interest and what inspired you to create your own signature inks?
I worked for the public service on an internal marketing on secondment at that time. I had an interest in writing styles from a very young age – somehow I think I missed childhood and skipped forward into adulthood at about age twelve (haha) – and so when I spotted a Montblanc pen shop one fateful day, I bought a 146 fountain pen with absolute glee.
Less than a year ago I sat at my desk and looked out over a sea of ink bottles I’d bought from every country imaginable. The urge came over me that I must make an eco-friendly non-toxic ink that everyone can enjoy. I made four colours, Matcha Green (which became Green Lime), Red Orange, Bondi Blue and Rubine. They were listed on Ebay in jars. Robyn Corbett, an FPA (Fountain Pens Australia) member, was my first customer. The rest is kind of history, as they say.
Robert Oster Signature Inks – Bondi Blue.
2) Which was the first ink you created and can you describe that feeling when you knew you had “nailed it”?
After designing Green Lime (formerly Matcha Green) friends were called on to test run it for me in real time. Reports were fairly positive and the colour seemed to please the senses. But I really didn’t get the import of what that meant until Robyn Corbett came back and bought colour after colour. Robyn was really very encouraging. That was the catalyst.
3) Can you share more about your colour palette inspiration?
I love blues (surprise surprise). But I tire easily, too. I’m a weird combo of emotions you know… I get bored easily, but I hate change. Go figure. As a result I look at new hues and shades all the time. Sometimes I’ll see how a dark cloud interacts with blue sky and rain, and boom boom there’s Blue Denim. It just happens. It might be a bit like writing a hit song on the back of an envelope … inspiration just happens at odd times.
Now I’m not a huge drinker, but I live and operate in the Coonawarra wine making district of South Australia, and I was born in the Barossa Valley… so of course I’m inspired by vintage seasons and consequently grape colours both reds/purples and greens drive me. Greens are just beautiful. Ask anyone who’s used Tranquility. Greens are underrated (chuckles cheekily). So earthen chocolate browns, greens, pastel skies both blue and pink, and the rich colour of people’s skin of all parts of the world inspire me daily.
Robert Oster Signature Inks – Barossa Grape
4) Robert Oster Signature Inks are still quite new on the market but are already highly sought-after – at home and internationally. Why do you think these inks are becoming so increasingly popular on the world stage?
I think Australian food and drink and anything to do with its richness are on the world’s wish list. We are – all who are Australian by birth or by love – are blessed. The fact that the world wants anything Australian is an added bonus. We share what we have from our heart, and the world soaks it in. I am blessed to be an Australian and I’m grateful for the spotlight that being Australian has shone on my ink colours.
5) When you create a new colour, is there a certain vision you have in mind? Is your end result usually what you had envisioned?
Its just as well you couldn’t hear me laugh when I read that question. There are 64 colours currently released. I’m guesstimating that about a tenth were not the colour I had in mind when designing them. Sometimes the most popular colours were unexpected or maybe the farthest shade from my imagination at the time. But one rolls with the punches. Some colours are developed with massive inspiration from others, such as Astorquiza-Rot and Caffè Crema (those peeps know who they are).
6) Why is it important to create your products in Australia and ensure they’re handmade?
Australia is pure and colourful. Its people inspire me and the views from Southern Ocean to Great Barrier Reef are world famous images reflected in colours not only in my inks, but in inks from all the great Australian ink brands. There are so many boutique inks in the world today that bring so much joy to so many. All ink brands were hand made in their first days. I aim to never mass produce mine.
Robert Oster Signature Inks – Deep Sea
7) There are some fantastic inks on the market, what were you seeking to do differently with your range?
The difference is in the behaviour of the ink, I guess. Shading is not enough for me. It must have depth and range. Sheen is not enough for me. It must have life and glisten differently in different light. Colour is not enough for me. It must mature and ripen on the page and in the pen.
8) What other pen and ink brands do you admire?
Funny you ask about pens… I have plans to commission a Robert Oster Signature pen that is both familiar and new. No timetable on that one yet but I will comprise precious resin and Australia in various forms. I’m very excited about that.
I’m always so happy to promote ink brands which truly inspire. KWZ comes to mind immediately. Japan has some astounding and talented masters. But for each of us, the inks we admire are those which bring out the best in us. Those which empower us to beautiful and meaningful self-expression. That could be different for each of us. I still use the first Montblanc Turquoise ink which came with my first fountain pen. If we only have one ink, let it be one which moves us to write from the heart.