March 30th marked the birthday of artist Vincent van Gogh, West Designs celebrated the Day of the Pencil. The pencil fits into any pocket, is environmentally friendly and works reliably without a charger, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It's still a vital part of the creation of artworks that stands the test of time.
For 111 years, the legendary dark green Castell pencil, with its golden letters has inspired the creativity of artists and makers all over the world. It all starts with a pencil. A quick note, a swift sketch or a small doodle captures ideas, inspirations or thoughts that might have never taken shape otherwise. A seemingly simple tool like the pencil is the starting point of creations that have had a lasting impact in the world of arts, literature and science.
How many ideas might have been lost if there hadn't been a pencil at hand? March 30th wasn't only the Day of the Pencil but also the birthday of artist Vincent van Gogh, who was born in 1853 and was an early fan of the Faber-Castell pencils. In an 1883 letter to his friend he wrote: “I also wished to tell you about a sort of pencil I have found from Faber. They are of ideal thickness; very soft and in quality superior to carpenter's pencils, a capital black and most agreeable for work on large studies.”
Unfortunately, van Gogh never had the opportunity to use the iconic dark green Castell 9000 pencil, as he passed away 15 years before Count Alexander von Faber-Castell presented the new product in 1905. The newly developed writing instrument was given the name Castell 9000, which from then on graced it in golden letters. The pencil has remained unchanged in appearance, apart from a face-lift in colour and print. Shaped hexagonally, so that it would not roll off a sloping desk, and equipped with a lead of the highest quality it is available in no fewer than 16 grades of hardness.
Perfect in its simplicity: The iconic Castell 9000 pencil celebrates its 111th Birthday. Throughout its 111 years of existence the green, hexagonal pencil has been part of legendary creations. Performance artist Joseph Beuys once posed with it for an art book as though it were a creative exclamation mark. It inspired special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi to draw a whimsical alien that later brought tears to the eyes of millions of cinema-goers as E.T.. Günter Grass, writer and Nobel Prize winner for literature fell in love with this writing utensil too. The talented illustrator created a watercolour painting showing a bouquet of pencils instead of flowers. He adorned it with the enigmatic lines: Words on demand. All pencils sharpened. And yet there is still much left unsaid. Faber-Castell celebrates the 111th birthday of this iconic pencil with a limited edition anniversary box that contains all 16 degrees of hardness of the Castell 9000 as well as all five degrees of hardness of the Jumbo version that was launched in 2012.
West Design – www.westdesignproducts.co.uk
Posted: 6 April 2016
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