pen and pencil holder

pen and pencil holder by portia wells from usa

designer's own words:

This fall I undertook a pen and pencil holder design project. My rigorous research led me from stores to various desktops: One home design storeowner picked up a small vase, “This is what I use.” Another shrugged, “You could probably use just about anything for a pen and pencil holder.” My mother liked to use an old mug, the handle being convenient for mobility. My friends told me they used whatever old jug or can was around the house.

The solution emerged: This was not a “problem” of seeking a new form for a pen and pencil holder… the problem was that there were already too many vessels that worked perfectly well for this purpose. The need was for a method to differentiate which object was actually a pen and pencil holder.

As we have become socialized to trust in signals and signs to dictate purpose, and the flood of consumer product purely inspired by the urgency to sell, it is the label of an object that has come to define its usage. In semiotic terms, it becomes conceptually obsolete for the form of an object to resemble “pen and pencil holder” – it is merely the security in knowing that an object on the shelf via a cognitive signifier is, indeed, a pen and pencil holder. The presence of labeling becomes its very embodiment of purpose.

Accordingly, I foraged flea markets, thrift shops and garage sales, gathering various vessels. These were chosen using the following criteria:

1. The vessel should adequately hold pens and pencils
2. The vessel must be second hand
3. The vessel should not cost more than one dollar
4. Ideally the vessel should have a handle, though not entirely necessary.

I marked these "pen and pencil holder" with fireable ceramic decals. The holder is secured in newsprint and is packaged in recycled corrugated cardboard. Because the object comes packaged and the contents indeterminate, the owner will not know the color and form of their pen and pencil holder until they have opened it.

pen and pencil holder set

copy_0_dscn0141psweb2.jpg pen and pencil holder detail

copy_0_dscn0142web2.jpg pen and pencil holder bunny