Posted on January 1, 2016
Writing and drawing ... the old way, by hand ... has always been a big part of my work practice. And whilst I do a lot of it these days with styli on desktop and mobile tablets of various sorts ... most times I still draft articles and thought processes using pen and paper ... albeit, then porting the written mess into digital format by one of several voice dictation methods that I use.
Touch-type and committing thought processes straight to digital has never been easy for me because I can't type as quick as I can think. Nor do I find it easy to dictate on the fly. There are a lot of factors involved but for now, let me just say that I'm sitting on a couch on my veranda committing my thought process to paper with a heavy fountain pen ... and taking time to stare up at the mountain range when I need my thoughts to collect for the next assemblage of words. So, it goes without saying that I've long had a love of writing instruments ... and always have a selection on hand for the "process" of "writing".
When I was a kid I had a small fascination with "old style" ink nib pens and was given one to use for my drawings. A mission to write my memoirs at the age of eight or nine was born ... although destined to be short-lived when I knocked the first bottle of India ink over on the family couch.
Recently, I was asked by the people managing my stock for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (Australian government) if I could (or would) make some pens to go out as diplomatic gifts. Strangely, it's not something I've ever done ... or ever really wanted to do, but I said yes.
It took some time to decide what I needed and get the gear together. This included fully re-building a wood lathe which had been destroyed several years ago in a storm. The field of pen-making is quite specialised and begins with acquiring kitted components and can be taken as far as fabricating all of the hardware in-house on a metal lathe. The latter is hard-core and naturally, I find that concept very interesting and its hovering on my "will do" list for a little later.
During the last couple weeks, I put out the first batch of 8 pens ... all roller-ball instruments in single barrel (body) designs. I'm not a fan of thin lightweight pens, so I'm opting towards larger fuller body designs that have substantial weight. Each pen of this batch has a main body made of wood and finished with hand-rubbed resin and oil. The woods include Silky Oak, Queensland Silver Ash and Purple Heart.
The components so far have all come from several suppliers and are of a design known as "Sierra" in various configurations. It's a lovely solid pen which I certainly will be maintaining as a core design in my range.