“The Secret Garden” pen is presented as the culmination of work spanning over six months. The art-piece pen is a collage of materials and techniques that also offers the very best in functionality for the user.
First published in 1911, The Secret Garden, by Francis Hodgson Burnett, tells the story of a neglected young girl coming to live with her reclusive uncle in England. It is there that she meets a boy about her age that helps her rejuvenate the neglected garden at the manor house; the summer spent making a garden grow again also rejuvenated a family. It is the story of breaking down barriers and learning empathy. I wanted to make a timeless pen that represents these timeless messages.
The themes of the book withstanding, I decided to represent the locked garden on one side of the cap and – on the other side of the cap – the other side of the gate wherein the garden has begun to grow again. The majority of the metal work is done in nickel silver with accents in bronze, mokume-gane and sterling silver. The barrels of the body were constructed from vintage Conway Stewart “Silver Storm” to take advantage of the garden colors it offers. “Cumberland Green” and “Pine” Italian acrylics trim out the rest of the pen. The cap, body and section are all accented with nickel silver “twisted vine” rings, and finished with key and keyhole finial medallions on the cap and body respectively. I added a #6 Jowo 18k gold nib (two-tone, fine width) to complete this piece. A pen cradle in matching materials and style make for a wonderful desk set.
This pen is entirely handmade in our shop in Western New York. The majority of the metal work has been constructed from sheet material, shaped and soldered. No CNC (computer-driven) equipment has been employed to create this work – just hands, tools, and a desire to raise the standard for my own work.
This pen was offered as my entry in the 2020 Pen Artisan Guild Pen Contest where it won "The David Broadwell Best of Show."
Postscript: I hesitate to think of how many times I read this book aloud to school children in a former life. Though considered “children’s literature,” it would be a difficult read for an American adolescent today, as it is a post-Victorian British novel. Vocabulary, idiom, and heavy dialectic conversation make it a lot to digest for a child today, but it is a great book – the message will touch your heart. -GH