Exhibition – The Secret Life of the Pencil
Through school and art college I always enjoyed sketching and amassed a nice collection of sketch books, pens and pencils. I loved using different weighted leads – my favourite being a 2B. I’d sketch and mess about with ideas and write. There’s something quite primal and yet personal and expressive with the pencil. It’s basic yes, but oh what wonderful things this tool can allow us to do. It’s used over the past couple of centuries to give us great masterpieces in art, illustration and writing, while also being an aide to start create buildings with architectural drawings, graphic design, fashion – the list goes on.
When travelling, I’d carry around with me a little Muji note book and jot down various notes and write poetry as well as sketch landscapes and cityscapes, all with a pencil. Even nowadays, when I travel or go out for meetings I carry a notebook or diary along with a pen and pencil – for those moments of inspiration or for practical use. I still get excited when wandering around stationary shops.
In hommage to the humble pencil, Alex Hammond and Mike Tinney have set about celebrating it and getting respected figures to lend their pencils to be photographed for The Secret Life of the Pencil. The project sets about documenting the pencils in stunning detail, thereby showing the secrets of their use and revealing an insight into their users. I find that very true also with the handwriting of an individual – as I did a project at Goldsmith’s College looking at peoples’ handwriting and what that can reveal. I love how this project looks at the tool used. A tool that now comes in many forms that does help define a person and their craft.
Alex and Mike have managed to enlist some wonderful names including William Boyd, Anish Kapoor, David Adjaye, Philippe Starck, Pam Hogg and Sir Paul Smith, to name just a few. Sir Paul Smith is even lending his Albermale Street shop to host the exhibition.