Several months ago I was incredibly honored to be chosen to give the keynote presentation at the 4th quarter 2018 meeting of the Atlanta chapter of the International Association of Pen Turners (IAP). They asked that I speak about fountain pens, from their anatomy and function, to tuning their nibs to meet the purchaser's wishes.
The meeting took place this morning at the Atlanta WoodCraft location and my presentation, scheduled to run 30-45 minutes, wound up stretching to almost 1.5 hours after a lively Q&A session. People were interested and had lots of questions, which was humbling considering the combined experience of the audience in the art of pen making. I believe the reason for the interest is that while still a niche market, fountain pen sales continue to climb abroad and here in the U.S.. Sales are becoming so robust that the handful of manufacturers in the world that make the metal writing nibs are running at max. capacity and cannot keep up with demand. Indeed, there is a worldwide run on fountain pen nibs! It's natural that the craftsman in attendance want to learn all they can to begin tapping such a market.
There are many reasons for the increased sales and I touched on them briefly in my opening remarks. I will likely write more about that in greater detail here in the blog in the upcoming weeks for you all.
Not everything went as planned however. Last night I had printed out a stack of diagrams to pass around during the presentation, as well as my personal outline so I could stay organized... I tend to wander when speaking without an outline... and of course I left both at home! Then, about 20 minutes before I was scheduled to begin I rubbed my left eye and lost a contact lens. From that point on the entire audience was simultaneously in focus and blurry! So yeah... Remarkably, at some point during my presentation I blinked and my missing lens, which was still in my eye, rolled back into place and I could suddenly see again. Heh! Even with all that, the audience seemed very pleased and thus, so was I.
Between preparing for this presentation and filling a number of custom orders in the shop (THANKS to all those who ordered gifts this year!), I didn't have time to write a proper blog for this week. So I hope you enjoyed this little story and expect a proper blog post next week!
Until then, keep writing!