Tuesday, April 20, 2010
A declaration of independence
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently gave a talk in Dallas about some trends in contemporary pens, one of which is the advent of independent pen makers who are creating some really exciting products. Their pens fulfill a need for pen lovers in general, and collectors in particular, since they appeal to the desire for exclusivity, hand craftsmanship and limited quantities. One such pen maker is Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Company. Gray is as talented as he is personable, and his products are wonderfully made with great attention to detail and some interesting twists. I had the opportunity to see and touch—over a period of a few days—a couple of his products. One was a Huron Bulb-Filler in Bronze Pearl Acrylic with an 18-karat gold medium Edison nib. The bulb-filling system is unique in itself, since it requires that the nib be submerged in ink while the bulb is repeatedly squeezed, thus creating a vacuum to draw ink. It’s a lot more fun than a vanilla plug-in-a-cartridge-and-go filling system. The acrylic body of the pen is indeed beautiful and the finishing superb. The ink is visible through a translucent area on the barrel, making one’s choice of ink color an aesthetic decision. The second pen was the Pearl in olive ebonite—a grassy post-spring hue with all the tactile qualities of hard rubber. It has a steel nib that Gray ground to a 1.1mm cursive italic. Again, great work. The Dallas audience was impressed with the pens, as I was, agreeing that they are testimony to the talents of this admirable young pen artist. Gray has a number of pictures available through his site.