Friday, March 12, 2010
Curtis Australia Spring Flowers
I met with Glenn and Heather Curtis in mid-February, in a hotel lobby in Manhattan Beach, CA. Los Angeles was one of their stops during their weeks-long business trip that began and ended in Victoria, Australia; I was there for the LA Pen Show. In case you don’t know, Glenn and Heather are the principals of the Curtis Australia brand of pens and accessories, perhaps most famous for its jewelry-quality limited editions. They are a talented and interesting couple I had the pleasure of entertaining in my home a couple of years ago, and it’s always a pleasure to catch up with them wherever and whenever possible. It’s no surprise that Glenn’s background is jewelry design and production and the lovely and statuesque Heather—in addition to her multiple business roles in the company—often serves as his muse. The new limited production Spring Flowers fountain pen is an example of her inspirational powers, since the primary floral motif is a variation of her favorite doodle while talking on the phone. This idle scribble became a recurring theme of the pen, surrounded by images of Asian bamboo, reed art and Japanese room screens. In all, over 80 brilliant-cut diamonds are handset into the sterling silver body, with diamonds in a rainbow of different colors—pink, yellow, green and blue—set into the petals of the flowers that are strewn about the cap and barrel. Having spent time with Mr. Curtis on numerous occasions, I feel I can safely say that this was no random scattering of art elements. Rather, each flower and each piece of the woodsy background was mindfully placed in its perfect position. Spring Flowers is not a pen for the faint of heart, since its feminine floral demeanor belies its heft and weight. But as one who likes bold pens, I think the counterpoint of design and profile is perfect. This fountain pen (which is also available as a rollerball pen) is the first of the Four Seasons Series to be released over the next eight years, and only four pens will be produced by Curtis Australia each month. The fountain pen with an 18-karat gold nib is priced at $8,800.
A pen is a powerful agent for inspiration. The designer merely starts the process; it is up to the writer to maintain the flow.