When I failed to check Stanford Wood Studio (SWS) off my 2021 wish list, I vowed to ensure I ordered from them in 2022. To that end, as I mentioned in my 2022 wish list post, I reserved a commission right at the beginning of January. But, before I dive into that, allow me to say that SWS was fabulous to work with. I believe I mostly, if not only, communicated with Di — she’s lovely. I appreciated the updates on my commission and her suggestions for making it better. And, once my pens arrived, I could — and can — see what fantastic work they — Di and Dave — do.
With that most important part out of the way, I’d like to walk you through what the commission process was like for me. As a side note, all of my interactions with SWS were via Instagram messenger.
My first conversation was the initial inquiry and planning. Once I confirmed SWS was accepting commissions, I requested a beaded pen in pink and yellow, sending a nibsandflourishes post as the color inspiration. We worked out the shape and bead colors fairly easily, and then it was just a matter of waiting for my turn to come up.
The second conversation started with photos of blanks. One set was deemed too dark, one too light, and was was Goldilocks — just right. There was also a suggested blank from the “Goldilocks” set, and a pairing suggestion for a contrasting section.
With the blanks squared away, it was on to the beading. I got to choose the style and location of beads, and got a run-down of the types of available beads. Let me just say, there are A LOT of choices:
- beading location options: beads on cap or barrel or both;
- beading section size options: from two rings — like the Impressionists Pens — to much wider;
- beading style options: a few colours that subtlety grade from one to another, stripes, or a random mixture;
- bead types: silver-lined beads — which provide a solid colour — or coloured rocailles that are more translucent.
I ended up leaving the beading style and bead type(s) in Di’s capable hands, as I couldn’t make up my mind. She very kindly sent me some process photos of the beadwork.
Who’s Up For Round 2?
Just as the pen was nearing completion, there was a disaster. I don’t understand the particulars, but the cap melted on the lathe! Much sadness.
However, they were able to get a new one made in what seemed like no time. To celebrate, they sent me a video of the pen. Isn’t it a beauty?
During the commission process, I ended up reserving a second pen, their Africa Moon model. At first, I thought I’d need to keep it a secret for a while. But, with the small melting setback, the pen had already debuted by the time it got to me.
Shipping was via DHL and only took 6 days from South Africa to Maryland, USA. I very much enjoyed the minimalistic packaging, and my boys loved the free cat toys.
The labeled PVC pipe is especially clever, providing excellent protection for the journey.
I also highly appreciate the included card with all the pen particulars. It made my little data-hoarder heart happy. Not to mention, the front of the card is gorgeous. I’d never heard of a helmeted guineafowl before.
As an extra bonus, they sent me the barrel to the original, melted cap, pen. I hadn’t noticed the difference in final in the final video and had assumed only a new cap had been made. Instead, I can mix and match the bodies! Such a neat surprise!
The beaded pen (African Miyuki Magic in Sunshine & Azalea) is a very basic model, letting the material and beading shine. The finials have a very slight concaving, keeping it from being a standard flat top. It’s a small detail, but a nice one. The cap and barrel both have a metal sleeve, giving the pen more weight than a typical resin pen, and — in my opinion — making it feel more luxurious. The bead “windows” are perfectly clear, allowing the beads to truly shine. Every time I pick this pen up, I half expect the beads to move. The grip has a taper and a flare, making it very comfortable for longer writing sessions.
The moon pen (Africa Moon in Midnight Blue) is a more advanced model, with an almost hourglass-inspired shape, and a taper at each finial. Like the beaded pen, the finials have a slight concaving. The grip is tapered, with just a step out at the end. If your typical grip is right up at the end of the section, this could be uncomfortable, so you might want to request a slightly different shaping.
I doubt you need me to say this, but I greatly enjoyed the commission experience with SWS. I would 100% recommend them and their pens. They have some unique characteristics available in their repertoire.
I’m happy to add these two pens to my collection, and a new continent to my origin list. Now I just need something from South America. Stay tuned for a pen porn post in a couple of days!
Thank you for reading until the end. Do you own any SWS pens? Do you want one? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.