The making of this pen box was a most enjoyable journey. The description that follows is also presented as a journey, one which this box maker hopes you will also enjoy…
Materials - These materials were brought together to present and protect the finest of pens:
Huanghuali, Bird’s Eye Maple, Wenge…all finished in hand rubbed lacquer. Solid brass hinges, Sterling Silver Lotus Blossom, Soft Black Velvet.
Design – Achieving perfection in a pen box is realistically not possible, but it is an elegant objective that pushes the craftsman to his finest work. Having that as my goal exerts many demands of detail. This is how I pursued that elusive objective…
The box clearly expresses Asian influence, appropriate pairing to the primary timber: extremely rare Chinese Haunghuali. (“Extremely rare” is an understatement: today this timber is typically acquired by carefully repurposing fine, intact and expensive furniture from the late Ming dynasty!) The box is modest in size, yet dramatic by its understated charm. It asserts its own presence in a manner that, while not overbearing, does compliment the special pen that it will present and protect. Approaching the box, you experience the mystery afforded by every closed box: “What is concealed here?” Anticipation of something special is conveyed by the elegant, classic lines. The eye is undeniably drawn to the sterling silver lotus blossom. The pen, concealed by this closed box…could it also be made of this incredibly rare Huanghuali?
Open the box! (Sorry to disappoint: contest rules stipulate only a garish “generic pen”.) The pen cavity is made to visually ‘coddle’ a medium size pen in such a way that the pen appears comfortable, not crowded or cramped; fully content in its assigned space. The pen stanchions are such that, as the pen owner opens the box, he or she will sense that the pen is being graciously presented, ready for use. The pen is positioned high within the cavity, achieving a dual purpose. First, it supports the visual aspect just mentioned. Second, grasping the pen is a smooth, flowing undertaking: ‘Form’ follows ‘function’. There is a significant bevel-easing of the upper interior box walls that provide pleasing clearance to facilitate grasping the pen, and returning it when writing is done. Hollowing of the interior roof of the box provides additional clearance to locate the pen as high as possible within the cavity. It is by intent that this precise arrangement demands that the pen be positioned with the clip slightly forward of top center, imposing a visually ideal positioning when the pen is first revealed upon opening the box.
Details make or break when judging or using an item such as this. The forward plane of the box angles back slightly, presenting the central visual object in an appealing manner, drawing from ambient room lighting to accentuate the lotus and its backdrop. Orientation of the prominent, open-grain lines of the Wenge backdrop are at a slight angle off the vertical, suggesting the, nourishing, cleansing rains that maintain the beautiful lotus. This is symbolic of the entire purpose of this pen box. What a fine detail! This description ends with a statement and a challenge: The Golden Mean (ratio, proportion, etc.) is prominently evident in this design. See it?
This is my entry into the 2018 IAP Bash Pen Box Contest. It is a replica of a Grand Piano. It is a combination pen box and music box. The box was constructed using various tools and jigs. The interior is finished in a Cardinal Red flocking. The keys were cut from pieces of white and black acrylic pen blanks.There is a brass plate behind the keys. The top has a clear plexiglass insert in the center to show off both the pen and also the musical movement that plays Elvis' "Love Me Tender" theme. It plays when the box is open and shuts off when closed as most music boxes do. There are musical themed decals on the top of the glass to enhance it. The box was finished in black lacquer. This was a fun little box for that special pen. Hope you like it.