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By: Bobby Hatchet, Fri Nov 5th, 2010
Recently, I heard about a book that promotes bringing back some of the graciousness of days gone by. The point seems to be, according to the author, we are caught up in immediacy and convenience, instant this and that. We are all way to comfortable in a disposable, good-enough lifestyle. If we just took the time to examine and appreciate the finer things is life, well, our lives would be finer. Some of the ideas seemed a little silly. Oh, but some, sounded like a really brilliant idea. For example, according to the author, take the time to feel the substance and grooves of a long playing record; appreciate the needle and the process and the music. Really feel the luxury of a fine pair of leather driving gloves. Another example of recognizing craftsmanship in common objects is to put aside the disposable plastic pen and feel the heft of a quality handmade turned wood or acrylic pen.
Fountain pens date back to 1705; before that we used quills. Waterman patented the fountain pen used today. Collectors around the world pay top money for certain writing instruments. Fountain pens used by authors, statesmen, and given as gifts of celebrities go for tens of thousands of dollars. Handmade fountain pens can be fashioned from a number of materials, but typically from turned wood and acrylic material. Hobbyists enjoy honing their skills using turning supplies and exotic woods. It’s easy to find clubs, shows, books, and magazines geared to the collector and craftsman.
Barry Gross, one of the finest pen artisans, designs and crafts extraordinary pens from unusual woods and is currently exploring design with re-cycled products. Speaker, presenter, author of pen books, and now producer of two instructional pen turning DVD’s, Gross is recognized worldwide as an expert on pen turning techniques.
BGArtforms.com has examples of Barry’s work and his history and offers a complete list of pen making supplies, turning supplies, and pen turning accessories, such as Robert Sorby tools and Corian refinishing supplies as well as turning kits for hobbyist to try. Gross has a variety of “shimmer” acrylic pen blanks to choose from.
Gross also creates ergonomically, one of a kind, finely crafted ballpoint or gel pens. Like the fountain pens, these writing instruments are hand crafted to be beautiful and durable. The Barry Gross pens come with a limited lifetime guarantee. There are even display cases available; BG Art Forms is a great place to start your collection.