At this point in my life as a Pencil Lady I've done quite a lot of interviews for various things. The one question that always comes up is 'When did your love of pencils start?' in some form of another. For that, I (more times and not) credit my mother, Karen Weaver, who exposed me to nice pencils at a dangerously young age. She is a multi-talented woman who still has a passion for office supplies, analog tools and all things pencil. I might go so far as to call her the OG Pencil Lady. So, I thought I turn the tables and interview her about pencil things:
What's your most important pencil related memory?
When I was growing up my dad worked for Shipshewana State Bank, and they had pencils with the bank logo on them. We always had a box of them in our pantry. I love those pencils. They came in different colors, they sharpened well and the erasers were good. I still have one.
What are your three favorite pencils?
Well - my all time favorite pencil is the previously mentioned Shipshewana State Bank pencil, I love the Swiss Wood pencil, and most recently - the pink stenographic Mongol Pencil of the Month - sharpened at both ends is the one I'm currently obsessed with. I can pretend that I'm Joan from Mad Men. I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention my love for my Felissimo 500 colored pencils that hang on my dining room wall. I bought them 5 or 6 years ago, and it makes me so happy to see them every day.
What is it that you love about using a pencil?
I love that the possibilities are endless. The pencil line can be thick or thin, dark or grey, I can change the way my writing looks based on which one I use and what mood I'm in. Plus who doesn't love that you can erase it and start over?
How do you feel about being the official Pencil Mom?
I LOVE being the official Pencil Mom! I love all things paper and writing utensils, so she gets it honestly. I carry her business card pencils in my handbag all the time and am constantly giving them out. I'm so proud of how hard she's worked to make CW Pencil Enterprise happen. It's truly been something she's dreamed about for many years. I'm also the proud mother of Evan - who's a whiz at math, and Annie - who is fluent in many languages. All three are much more accomplished than I have ever hoped to be.
You studied interior design in college. What were the tools you used most?
I studied interior design back when there was no AutoCad and we used graphite and vellum. (Purdue 1984) We created drawings that were accurate to an 1/8th of an inch, but also were beautiful. Working for Architects I learned to mimic their lettering style. Each sheet may have 2 or 3 people contributing to it, but it had to look like only one person's lettering. Each person might hold their pencil at a different angle, with a different lead and I had to figure out how to replicate it. I loved doing those drawings. I think it's one of the reasons I chose interior design, it married my love of all things related to buildings with all things pencil and paper.
What is your advice to someone who is skeptical about the pleasure of using a pencil?
I'm surprised when people say they don't use pencils anymore, I think they just haven't been exposed to good ones. I want to put a great pencil in the hands of all of the skeptical ones.
Why is writing by hand important to your everyday life?
I still bring my own notebooks and writing utensils to work, I never use the ones provided. I take notes in meetings in a Rhodia gridded notebook with the spiral at the top. I mostly take my notes with a Caran d'Ache pen that I bought in Geneva. I know there's probably some science behind this, but when I take notes by hand in a meeting it makes me remember that information better. The information is then also a visual memory. I'm also pretty old-fashioned about notes that get sent in the mail. My kids will tell you that I've often said "never underestimate the importance of a hand-written note" Everyone loves to get one. I draw my own Christmas cards every year, and I address the envelopes by hand. It's important to me, and I chose the writing utensil, envelope, and handwriting style deliberately.
What's your favorite stationery product right now (non-pencil)?
It's definitely the CW Pencil Enterprise notebook with the elastic band and the lines and columns on the paper. Caroline donated one for my fundraiser, and when I saw it I had to order one for myself.
My mother is the best because she infused the oxygen of our home with creativity and endless possibilities. I owe many of the things I know and the skills I have to her. She's also an avid quilter, reader and sports fan. Right now she's involved with the Arthritis Foundation in Cleveland, OH and is currently fundraising for the Walk to Cure Arthritis. You can find more information here (and a chance to win a box full of CW Pencil Enterprise goodies).
Photos from top: Sneaky little family photo, my mom's Felissimo 500 colored pencils in her dining room, drafting tools saved from college.