Meet the Artist

Robert Frey
Artist Statment
My Picture

I turned my first piece of wood in 1968 under the tutelage of my eighth grade shop teacher, Mr. George McGinnis, I believe it was a balsawood nose cone for a model rocket. I knew then that the idea of the wood moving and the tool standing still was a wonderful departure from the conventional flat woodworking that I had been doing since I was five years old with my grandfather. I was hooked. The surface of the wood flying in all directions, the sound of the tool steel cutting into wood, the shape of the wood changing with the grain immerging as I cut deeper and deeper into itís heart, a spiritual experience for me. As the wood turns and the steel tool peels off layer after layer it begins it reveal it's true self, its beauty, its personality, its soul. Woodturning gives me the opportunity to free wood from its bark shackles and let everyone see it for its true beauty, naked, vulnerable and glowing.

At first the art of pen turning is straight forward woodworking. Then the more you do it the more complicated it becomes. Sure the mechanics of it get easier, your muscle memory starts to take over, but you begin to demand more from your art. The subtle colors, the shape and direction of the grain, the fit and finish become a passion, a motivation, an obsession. An obsession I would be lost without!

It was in the middle 1970's that I turned my first pen. It was a stick pen. I took a Bic apart and used the ink cartridge to fill a simple maple holder that I turned into a pleasing, comfortable shape. I still use that pen today! Now I have a hundred different suppliers of semi-precious and precious metals like Gold, Silver, Iridium, Rhodium, and Titanium, stones like quartz, lapus lazuli, garnet, and marble, faceted gem stones, and birth stones, exotic woods like cocobolo, pink ivory, lignum vite, ipe, koa, and desert ironwood, natural materials like deer antler and ox horn. These are some of different raw materials that go into the designs of my custom pens.

My designs are based on timeless classic shapes with a twist. They are inspired by all the best known pens from around the world. My comfort grip pens use a silicon insert that is easy on the fingers and doesnít slip in your hand. I turn pens with an inverted bell on the lower barrel that I'm told is perfect if you have a touch of arthritis.