If you work in schools, pencils are an integral part of everyday life. For adults, they can be a way to express individuality and taste. For example, I’m rather picky about my choice of pencil, mostly for reasons having to do with the eraser. For children, pencils are not just a tool for writing, but also a form of currency. A colleague and I ran a social skills group for 5th graders a couple of weeks ago, and at each child’s seat we placed a piece of colored paper and a newly sharpened pencil with an American flag design on it (we happened to find them in a big bin of mixed-up pencils in the art room). The kids were so excited when we told them they could keep the pencils, like, “Wow! Cool!” It was really sweet, and such a simple little thing that made them so excited.
So I found this recent interview with a scion of the pencil-making world, Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell, pretty interesting. Who knew that pencil-making had such a rich history? Or that one family has run the business for 8 generations? Or that there is a nearly 250-yyear-old feud between the Faber-Castell family and the Staedtler family? They’re like the Hatfields and McCoys of Bavaria!
This all reminded me of an Italian jewelry artist named Maria Cristina Belluci who makes interesting pieces using re-purposed colored pencils. Here are some of her designs (click on images for links):
A quick search of Etsy found a few US-based sellers making jewelry in this style (click on images for links):
And lastly, if you’re feeling crafty and want to try your hand at making pencil jewelry, there is a step-by-step tutorial on DesignMom.com. She shows you how to make each of the pieces shown below: two different necklaces and a brooch. Looks like a fun project for a rainy day, or maybe something for all you art teachers out there. A great way to introduce concepts surrounding recycling, color theory, and mixed media. Not sure I would wear any of these with a white shirt, but still they’re lovely to look at. Enjoy!