Pencils (What are they?) Take on a New Life

pencil service photo

Image from warburton.labs

The start of school used to mean a new pencil case filled with perfectly sharpened, brand new pencils. Coloured ones and black lead ones: it was so exciting. Not sure if pencil cases even exist any more, but one man still remembers and esteems the pencils.

In upstate New York, David Rees still practices the age-old art of manual pencil sharpening. He will sharpen your #2 pencils and ship them back with their shavings and a "certificate of sharpening." Or you can be a real sport and buy a new pencil that is freshly sharpened.

pencils poster photo

Image from

This is not a joke. Although David Rees used to be a political cartoonist, he "considers it a privilege to sharpen pencils for friends and strangers." He particularly loves #2 pencils which are the best, by the way. He charges $12.50 for his form of authentic American craftsmanship. Or for $40. you get a new one, a certificate of authenticity and the above great poster.

bowl with pencils photo

Images from michiel cornelisen

If you love pencils but prefer to sharpen your own, you can always have this bowl, made out of 36 coloured pencils. Inhabitat found it, and we love it. It is fun because it is DIY: you buy the base and then pick whatever pencils you want to fill it. They can be coloured or plain black and you get to sharpen your own. And pick one out when you are in need.

light pencils photo

Michiel Cornelisen recommends that you don't nick them from the office. From Antwerp, he has created a light fixture, using 30 pencils, again you can pick your own colours and kind.

maria bellucci photo

Image from

If you prefer to wear your pencil on your sleeve, Maria Bellucci makes rings and bracelets out of silver and coloured pencils. For some pieces she slices the length of the pencil and uses the tops, in other pieces she cuts sideways and uses the length. She used to be a theatre costume and accessories maker, and pencils are her latest fascination. Perhaps we could introduce her to the other guys; that could be a rather pointed conversation.

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