Culture Desk: My Life in Pencils

Devotees of the Blackwing had been paying up to forty dollars apiece for them after they were discontinued, in 1998. I received a box of twelve Blackwings, and I got hooked. The lead is ungraded, but it is definitely softer than a No. 2, and very expressive. The Blackwing motto is “Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed.”

Therefore it was with great enthusiasm that I attended a party this week, at the Art Directors Club, to celebrate the revival of the artisanal pencil: the Palomino Blackwing and the Palomino Blackwing 602. The host was Charles Berolzheimer, of Cal Cedar, a sixth-generation pencil-maker. He was dressed in shades of pencil lead. Hundreds of pencil enthusiasts were there: drawing, graffiti style, on big white sheets of paper, adding to small communal notebooks, creating do-it-yourself Thaumatropes, experimenting with the camera obscura and the camera lucida. One woman wore two Blackwings in her hair. — Culture Desk: My Life in Pencils : The New Yorker.