Disclosure: As I try to do whenever I talk about CalCedar and any of their products, I want to mention that I am a former employee. So take what I say with a grain of salt.
California Cedar, the makers of the California Republic brand of wooden pencils and the Palomino Blackwing, their modern interpretation of the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602, is throwing a party they’re calling called the Blackwing Experience, in New York City on April 17, to celebrate the opening of a week-long exhibit running until April 20 at the Art Director’s Club.
I think this is a cool concept — as their tagline says, it’s “the party for the pencil”, and from what I understand, it’s not just the Palomino Blackwing or the EF Blackwing that’s being celebrated, it’s the usage and history of all wooden pencils.
I had a conversation with Charles Berolzheimer, president and CEO of California Cedar, who told me about the origins of this idea:
“We began to get serious about such an event when we started thinking about how to build upon influencer relationships we had established over prior years as well as to support building with the 602 new influencers who participated in our Klout Campaign (I wrote about it here -AW) launched last December. In working with our creative team in New York during the early planning stages we had a ton of great ideas and were looking for the right venues and the final partnership we created with the Art Directors Club we came up with seemed like a natural fit.”
Justin Oberman is an independent creative director who is working with CalCedar to organize this event. You may remember him from my post about his concept ad campaign for the Dixon Ticonderoga.
“We have a
64-foot tall 60-foot wide infographic timeline of the pencil — entirely drawn with (Palomino) Blackwing pencils”, Justin told me. He also talked about creating “Ode to a Blackwing” a video produced for the show. He mentioned that it’s all done with Palomino Blackwings and original Eberhard Faber Blackwings, “except when drawing the logos of other pencil companies. Those are done with pencil brands represented by those logos.”
Some other interesting things going on at this event:
- A panel discussion about creativity with Chuck Jones’ grandson who runs the Chuck Jones Experience.
- A blank space where attendees can draw themselves in (with pencil, of course) using a camera lucida.
- Several performances and demonstrations by up-and-coming artists, musicians and writers.
I really wish I could make it to the Big Apple on Monday to check this out! Unfortunately, I’m not in a position where I can do this unless I plan months ahead.
There’s been some supplemental media created for it:
- A Tumblr about Blackwing Experience
- A video by Leora Israel about using a pencil (specifically, a Palomino Blackwing) to make a “naughty librarian updo” (see below).
Please note that there is a bit of controversy surrounding that event and CalCedar, which I’ll let you check out for yourself. I’m staying away from that dialog: not only because I formerly worked at CalCedar (but briefly), but also because of my tremendous respect for both Sean at Blackwing Pages and Charles at CalCedar. If you’re interested, you can read further and make your own determination (I won’t be hosting dialog about that in my comments here):