Friday, July 27, 2012

What a novel idea! Unique Pens Make Great Exclamation Points

And it all started in a high school woodworking class
Two samples of the craft
  On my last flight back from Sarah’s mountain, I happened to notice my seatmate making notes with this extraordinary wood pen. When I exclaimed over it, she kindly handed it over for closer inspection.  I’d never seen anything like it. It was smoothly and artfully shaped. The finish beautifully enhanced the natural grain. She then unzipped her planner and drew out several more such pens – all different, but all equally amazing. I couldn’t get over it.
My seatmate introduced herself as Sheri Painter, from Coronado, CA, traveling on business for Premier Solutions International. The artisan responsible for these remarkable creations was her son, Merrick.

Here’s the story:
Merrick Painter
Merrick, aged 15 at the time, had to come up with a project for woodworking class. He didn’t say how he happened to think of making wooden pens, but he turned out the first one for his mother. "She started getting so many compliments and even requests to buy them that I decided to see if I could turn it into a business." 

At first he simply gathered wood on family walks through the coastal forests and along the California shoreline. Now, with increased demand, he buys from woodworking suppliers.  Still, as is the nature of wood, each pen is unique. No two alike.

Sheri told me Merrick’s pens are stocked by some shops in Coronado, and he and his dad were working on a webpage. Since Sheri mentioned that her husband is in Afghanistan, my next question to Merrick was how they were accomplishing this. "He has internet access and the 'know how'. We communicated via Skype and email."
It’s finished now:, and I’m happy to report it includes the PayPal option.

Why I chose redwood
My pens were by special order. My husband has unusually large hands and has trouble finding pens that offer a decent grip. I described the problem to Merrick, who then produced an oversized, ridged barrel that filled the bill nicely. For myself, I wanted to match my book covers – a neat way to show off at signings!
Browsing through Merrick’s website, I saw that he’s also working with acrylics - and achieving some pretty wild effects. How did you discover it, and how do you work with it, I asked.  "I saw it on the web and loved the colors and patterns available," he replied. "You work with it the same as wood but it takes more time because it's a harder material."

So…whether you’re an author wishing to add style and statement to your signings, or looking for that novel and unexpected gift, I give you
What does the future hold for this enterprising young man? "I am deciding between the military and college. As far as my pen business goes, I would like to keep it up if we can help it grow."

I don’t think that will be a problem, Merrick!

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