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* The Penmaker's Garden

Why on EARTH Would You MAKE Your Own Pens?
Here is the answer!
from the fountain pen of B.G. Roberts
It happens sometimes.

I somehow mention that I make pens, and the astonished reaction follows. "You MAKE your own pens? WHY? You can buy a perfectly fine pen for a DOLLAR! WHY on EARTH would you MAKE them?"

I suppose this is a reasonable and valid question, especially in today's mass produced, "one-size-fits-all" world. But it is a question that has no quick and simple answer. Perhaps, being more precise, it is a question that has far too many answers. I find myself somewhat at a loss for words as I try to explain deeply held beliefs and feelings.

Why does a painter paint?

Why does a builder build?

Why do I make pens?

The first and foremost reason I make pens is the joy of fashioning something I find beautiful and of worth. To watch the materials I have carefully selected be slowly transformed from their native state into a finished design of my choosing brings to me a great and overwhelming satisfaction, one that often defies description. Though perhaps on a different scale, I believe it is the same passion, the same joy of creation, known by the artist when he lays aside his brushes and views the finished painting, the architect and carpenter when they step back and gaze at the finished building, the author when she sees her published work. This joy of creation, of having formed something one loves, is a heady and intoxicating emotion indeed.

I am, among other things, a writer. A pen is a major tool of this craft. As do many craftsmen, I derive considerable pleasure from the use of a well made tool. An exquisitely hand crafted pen, one who's size, weight, balance, and other characteristics have been chosen to fit MY hand, MY unique style of penmanship, is a joy to use. To have MADE that tool intensifies the pleasure.

As with all hand made products, no two pens are ever alike, just as no other person is like me, nor I like any other person. This uniqueness brings about a character, a style that cannot be duplicated. Because of my intimate involvement in it's creation, there is a part of me in each pen. I sometimes sit for minutes on end, lost in admiration of the small object d'art that I hold in my hand. The form, the finish, the materials, all combine in ways that are beautiful to my eyes. Again, this beauty is partly a result of choices I made, of the skill with which I shaped and combined things. That I am in part responsible for that beauty is very satisfying .

One last reason, perhaps the biggest reason, truth be known, is the reaction my pens bring from those I show and present them to. I never tire of the wide-eyed looks of appreciation, or hearing the astonished and delighted exclamations of, "Wow! YOU made this? It's BEAUTIFUL!". Those words resonate deeply into my being, a tonic to my heart and a balm to my soul. They render inconsequential the hours and effort I have expended in the production of the object of admiration. They leave me eager to race back to my shop, burning with the desire to produce an even BETTER masterpiece. The appreciation of one's efforts, be they artistic, literary, or whatever else, is something we all find fulfilling.

That is why I make pens.

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