Monday, August 16, 2010

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

by Bonnie Alter, London

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.

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.

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... read more story at

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