|Why on EARTH Would You MAKE Your Own Pens?
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
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.