As always, I’m blown away by the response this release has received from the community. I never would have guessed that we’d still be at this two years later, or that people would even still be excited about our caps. Least of all the humble little toe beans that started it all. It's clear that the community has grown exponentially since we began our involvement in the mechanical keyboard addiction back in 2014, but somehow I'm still amazed when I actually see it. It never stops being exciting to me.
More than anything, though, I’m amazed by how my own appreciation and understanding of keycaps--or rather keyboards in general--continues to grow. Every release, I feel like I develop a deeper understanding of the different sensory experiences and nuances each configuration has to offer. From the stark contrast of the plastic case of an HHKB to the staggering weight and muscle of a metal Duck Viper--all the way down to the acoustics of stock versus reinforced caps. I love finally being able to distinguish and appreciate the sounds the variations of thickness create as they glide down into their housing. I just fall more and more in love with this hobby every day. I want more.
Around this time last year, we were wrapping up our second round of Topre Modifier Sets. Although it was a nerve-wracking time, it was also a pivotal moment for me in regards to my relationship with artisans. I had been, for the most part, lukewarm about artisans until then. Even alongside my most cherished keysets, I shamefully found myself wanting something more, something that truly matched. And then came modifiers... The astonishing level of personal customization that mods offered quickly spawned an insatiable love affair, and it was right at my fingertips. This, as I remember it, was one of the first times I truly felt connected to the artisan hobby.
I had only started heavily using blanks shortly before then, but the way the Mutemallow and Bianchi Celeste mods complemented my RealForce Cherry Blossom blanks was so exciting to me that I often found myself making excuses just to use my HHKB. At the time, I was surprised by the ease at which I picked up using blanks. It's embarrassing to admit, but I had once been so intimidated by the concept of them that I'd resigned to never to using blanks at all, despite the minimal aesthetic only they can offer and I happen to adore. But once I began to trust my intuition, I quickly realized that almost no one looks at their keyboard while they type! The muscle memory was already there, I just needed to trust it.
With GMK Plum on the horizon, I have found myself counting the days as they go by. We all know the joy of receiving those sets after months of waiting, and this was one of the first that I was personally really excited for and actually followed from conceptualization down to production. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Skeletor and Sky Dolch, but I had to see them in person to really appreciate them. And now that I have, they are some my favorite sets we own. But the GMK Plum set will be the first non-DSA, non-blank MX set that will own, and the first set that I've felt was worthy of my upcoming rose gold M65-A--my only MX "endgame" as a Topre convert.
RAMA M10-A macro pad in person: this is something I have also been looking forward to since its inception. Suffice to say, it has been almost painful to wait for it to go to from GB to production, and at long last--ship. When the package finally came, I nearly tore it to pieces in my frenzy of excitement. Upon taking it out of the box, I was immediately elated by the hefty weight of it. I was also really looking forward to seeing the shade of rose gold in person, since I've amassed a rather large collection of meticulously matched EDC's. Although it turned out to be more of an Apple rose gold than a true rose gold, it is regardless breathtaking in person, and matches my existing Apple devices quite nicely.
Another long-awaited goodie I recently received is an Octopink Clack set. Normally I prefer my artisans in Topre. After all, I use my HHKB BT more than any other board in my rotation. But I also happen to be using a Leopold 660M at work these days, the timing worked out perfectly. Especially since I tend to feel a little reluctant when it comes to bringing my artisans and keysets to work. I want to be able to enjoy them at home, where I do most of my serious writing, but I also just hate seeing a stock keyset while I'm at work. It's... depressing. After all, artisans and keysets both make me happy when I look at them, and I certainly welcome any little reminder to slow down enough to appreciate the small things in life, especially while I'm at work.
In other news, the Meowsepads GB is currently being wrapped up, Instagram contest winner packages went out and the Guava Beans have found their way to their new homes. While we are still prototyping for our next production, we decided to utilize our evaporating free time to work on some keyboard mods for a friend over the weekend, but I'll save the details on that for the next post. I can't properly wrap this up without first thanking everyone who participated in any way in the the charity raffle that took place a few weeks ago. Even though it was cancelled, we consider ourselves privileged to be surrounded by those who make this community a better place. We never cease to be amazed by this community's ability to band together and help one another. And thanks to those who participated in the #katkollectiv contest on Instagram. Most importantly, thank you all for your continued support in this ever growing hobby we all love.