This week’s pen blog begins with an announcement, then a review of a pen I’ll not get to use again until July… what a way to start a week.
The announcement: This weekend, I received an email from Pen World Magazine. They liked an essay I submitted to them, and if I agreed to the terms, they would like to run it as the IMHO column in the June issue. How fast could I say “YES! Yes! A thousand times yes! (only slightly more calmly and professionally)”? I am beyond thrilled.
The pen review:
I’m reviewing an “artisan” pen this week. I don’t get to see it again until July because technically my husband bought It for me as an anniversary present. HOWEVER, not before I review it. We found this pen at the “April in Edom” street festival. Edom is a small town in East Texas near where my husband’s family has a lake house. We went out for a couple of days of “vacation”–which is a term most writers don’t have in their vocabulary.
One of the last booths/tents we visited belonged to Blue Timber Wood Studio, owned and operated by Elizabeth Kupec. She and her husband, Frank, do beautiful woodwork –including hand-turned pens. Her husband makes the blanks, she turns the pens. She does Slimline and Cigar style, like most artisans. But one in particular caught my eye…
This pen is actually resin based, but this batch of resin had a story. When it was mixed, Frank and his buddy/partner had been having some “fun” and inadvertently dropped COFFEE BEANS into the resin. At first wailing over the waste of coffee (which I understand beyond measure) they made it a challenge to go ahead and use the coffee bean infused resin to make blanks and then pens.
The pen is beautiful. The beans pop against the white(ish) resin. As the resin warms in the hand, the writer can smell the beans. Kupac used gold and black hardware to accent the colors of the beans and resin, making this pen really “pop”. She told me the turning is very delicate to keep the beans from snapping out of the resin which I totally get.
The pen itself is 5.5″ long, retracted, and 5.75″ long with the point out. She has it machined to take either a Parker or Cross refill – it came with a Parker-Style ballpoint black refill, and I’ll keep it that way. I prefer Parker-Styles because I can exchange ball point for the gel refills. I do prefer the cigar styles over the Slimline because I like some heft in the pen. This one straddles the comfort line with diameter. It’s easy for the cigar styles to be too bulky to be completely comfortable, but this one is not. Maybe because it’s turned by a woman who tends to smaller hands. I don’t know. I just know I fell in love.
Blue Timber Wood Studios does NOT have a website, but if you Google the studio, they do TONS of these street fairs and arts festivals.
Now to the numbers:
1. How does it work? – 1 This pen works well. The mechanism is smooth. They use a good quality ink in the initial installation.
2. Grip and feel – 1 – The grip is actually textured from the coffee beans. To some it may feel rough, but I like the idea of aromatic traction. I like the feel and a bit of roughness to the barrel. It makes it unique.
3. Material – 1 This resin/coffee bean pen is a crazy, random happenstance that just WORKS for me. The resin warms to the touch giving the beans a chance to be an aromatherapy part of the writing experience.
4. Overall Design – 1 -What I like about this, besides the material and the uniqueness of the pen is that it’s not too thick. I mentioned that before. It’s a comfortable diameter for cigar style. I love the use of hardware that just makes the design pop. And I love the craftsmanship.
5. Price Point – 1 – Now, here’s where things get interesting. Because I’ve seen pens like this run $60-$160, and be worth it depending on the materials used and generally puts artisan pens out of my price range. Kubec sells her cigar styles for $39 – wood and resin. Okay, the ball points. She has some rollerballs and fountain pens (Frank has hand-ground some nibs, and boy do I wish I could buy/try/afford THAT) that are more expensive, but $39 is an AMAZINGLY affordable price for most of her pens. I didn’t pay that much attention to the Slimlines.
And here is it is… my very first…