The Secret Life of the Pencil

By / May 16th, 2015 / , , , , /

The pencil has long been my weapon of choice when it comes to writing, and so it was with a smile that I stumbled upon The Secret Life of the Pencil, a photographic celebration of the humble little lead stick.

Curated by photographer Mike Tinney and product designer Alex Hammond, The Secret Life of the Pencil peers into the pen pots and pencil cases of some of the greatest living creatives. It gives us an up-close and personal look at the fascinating tools that have hovered above a black page just moments before something spectacular was created.




From a modest bee-striped Staedtler to a collection of vintage Smythson pencils, the photographed tools have been donated by almost 50 celebrated names, from Stephen Fry and Sir Quentin Blake to David Bailey and Mike Leigh.

Some evoke personalities of pristine obsessiveness, whilst others conjure up images of teeth sinking into the wood, but all tell their story in astonishing detail.

There is nothing like giving a pencil its very first gasp of life, and I’m sure the smell of wood shavings will be ever present in many a mind that visits this exhibition.





The Secret Life of the Pencil runs from the 20th May – 3rd June at Paul Smith, No. 9 Albemarle Street, London. In support of the charity, Children in Crisis.



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