Giant Steel Dip Pen and Penholder for Demonstration and Display

by Jim Woodring


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I am soliciting $4,500 to manufacture a giant steel dip pen and penholder for public demonstration and display. I hope to promote the understanding and use of this beautiful piece of ancient technology through a series of performances, as well as create an art object in itself.

The dip pen is a bit of fetish item for me (as it is for many pen users). The pen is extremely difficult to master but ultimately allows for an extraordinary degree of expression. The well-constructed pen and ink drawing is a monument to perseverance, requiring tremendous patience and control. I am thrilled by the challenge of creating such drawings in public and introducing new audiences to the allure of the medium. The pen (nib) itself will be approximately 16 inches long, made of steel and fully functional. The holder will be six feet long and made of wood with a metal sleeve insert to hold the pen. Nib and holder will resemble as closely as possible the actual implements on which they are based.

Once the pen and penholder are built I will train myself to ink with it; and once I've done that, I will arrange at least two public performances in which I will use the pen to ink large graphite drawings on 3' x 5' sheets of bristol.

The money raised will go towards the engineering and manufacture of the steel nib; the creation of the pen holder, which will be hand turned and lacquered with a cork wrapping and metal insert with spring retainer; the supplies to create the public drawings (ink, paper, graphite, eraser, and); and the creation of the drawing table itself.

Thank you very much for your interest and support.

    • September 04, 2010 Jeff Hall Community Member

      I'm so glad to hear that this one got funded. It's great to know that there is a community of like-minded folks who continue to see value in the unquantifiable aspects of our culture and our dreams.

    • September 04, 2010 Erik van Blokland Community Member

      Really interested to find out how the nib works! I've made a large flexible nib (minus the elaborate holder though) that responds to pressure. It draws two separate lines, but it has the same dynamic range as a regular nib. A great device for teaching.

    • September 03, 2010 Jack Webb Community Member

      I second Jake's feelings. You make my universe better, and make me feel like I fit into our strange world a bit better. =)

    • September 02, 2010 PL Community Member

      Make it happen, Jim. Alas I have not the excess cash to offer, only deep emotional support & maybe a suggestion... This pen reminds me of a) those huge sumi ink brushes used in Japan and b) steady-cam camera mounts. How will the reservoir hold the slick of ink in a space that big? Good luck!

    • July 19, 2010 Jim Community Member

      why would you not change the vescosity of the ink and draw proportionately instead of the whole "baffle" concept in the pen?

    • July 18, 2010 Nancy Olson Community Member

      I'd like to interview you for my magazine.

    • July 17, 2010 Patrick Linehan Community Member

      Best of luck. Can't wait to see the results!

    • July 17, 2010 Monty Lawton Community Member

      Jim is an amazing influence. I hope he has a liquid engineer to explain scaling recipes. Even a baker might help.

    • July 16, 2010 Norman DeValliere Community Member

      This is going to be a big challenge, but I laude it. Depending on the profile of the pen holder, it may not need to be lathe-turned.

    • July 16, 2010 Joel Linn Turner Community Member

      I don't know what you've considered for your nib,but it sounds like you might have to make a totally new design that allows the ink to be stored on the top of the nib.

    • July 16, 2010 David Edward Nicholas Community Member

      General Electric could make this item for you no problem I am not sure if they would make it for that amount but you should still try. They are very precise in the things that they make. Cheers

    • July 15, 2010 Jake Fowler Community Member

      Thank you, Jim Woodring, for keeping the world a stranger, more beautiful place.