Month: January 2013

Paper at the cutting edge

Manchester Art Gallery - Entrance

Last weekend I went to the Manchester Art Gallery. Their current exhibition The First Cut is still open until 27 January 2013.

Wonder Forest (© Manabu Hangai 2012)

For this exhibition paper has been ‘cut, sculpted and manipulated’ into works of art. I’ll try to keep the number of photos in this blog post low, but that’s really difficult with so many exciting pieces of art made from paper.

Notice-Forest (Burger King) (© Yuken Teruya 2009)

Many pieces of art have been made from everyday objects. Japanese artist Yuken Teruya uses paper bags from different companies. Using a photo of a tree from the bag’s company’s country he then cuts the paper into the shape of this tree.

Big Wave Moving towards a small Castle made of Sand III (© Peter Callesen 2012)

Danish artist Peter Callesen uses normal sheets of A4 paper for his works of art.

Chaos City (© Béatrice Coron 2010)

Béatrice Coron uses Tyvek, a material similar to paper that is used instead of paper for some types of envelopes.

Fotoecken (© Sarah Birdgland 2012)


Sarah Bridgland uses second-hand ephemera to create her art.


Matemaatika (© Sarah Birdgland 2011)


The Harbingers (© Claire Brewster 2011)

Claire Brewster’s flock of birds is cut from vintage maps.

Going West scene (© Andersen M Studio 2010)

There were also several pieces of art cut from books.

Admission to The First Cut exhibition is free.There’s also a catalogue available and you can even buy limited edition artworks by selected artists.


The Manchester Art Gallery allows taking photos unless there are signs indicating that specific works may not be photographed. I did not see any signs indicating that the works shown in this blog post may not be photographed. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

Carl Barks and Faber-Castell

Faber-Castell Higgins Ink, used by Carl Barks (Image © Helnwein)

You might remember my blog post about Carl Barks. I just made an exciting discovery linked to Carl Barks that I’ve got to share with you….

If you follow Sean’s Contrapuntalism blog you already know about his visit to Faber-Castell’s headquarters. He was kind enough to get me one of these magazine, as they can’t be bought in shops. After travelling from Germany to the USA ‘my’ magazine made a trip back to Europe. This time to Great Britain.

In the ‘Tool for the Creatives‘ section the anniversary magazine is giving examples of artists who are using Faber-Castell products. One exciting discovery I made is that Carl Barks was using Faber-Castell products.

As far as I can tell this photo has been taken by Gottfried Helnwein. You can read about his talks with Carl Barks on one of his web sites.


The image of the Faber-Castell Higgins Ink has been taken from Faber-Castell’s 250th anniversary magazine. The magazine indicates that the copyright for this photo is with Helnwein. I believe that the use of this image in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

The Berol Handwriting Cartridge Pen (New Look)

East… West… Everywhere had two blog posts about beginner fountain pens in December. Some of the fountain pens in these blog posts are really affordable and I didn’t expect to find a cheaper fountain pen …but when I recently ordered something from CultPens I was surprised to find an even cheaper fountain pen [1]at least in the UK – prices in other countries might vary: The Berol Handwriting Cartridge Pen (New Look version).

...even got a free OHTO Smile Paperclip with the order


Berol, a British company that is now a subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid, has its origins in pencil making. In 1856 Daniel Berolzheimer went from Franconia, where Staedtler and Faber-Castell are from, to the USA and founded the Eagle Pencil Company. I don’t want to bore you with details, but in the end Newell Rubbermaid took over. Many readers of pencil blogs will also know that the Berolzheimer family is still part of today’s pencil industry as they own CalCedar. Some will also remember how they managed to upset parts of the pencil community last year, but there is no direct link to Berol or Newell Rubbermaid.

That's the 'wrong' Berolzheim. There are two of them...

What you pay and what you get

I paid £2.45 (~ $4; €3). There is only one nib width available. The pen is made in China. I don’t really find it very good looking, but better looking fountain pens, like the Pelikan Pelikano junior (< £10) or the Kaweco Sport (< £20) are several times more expensive than the Berol Handwriting Cartridge Pen. The Berol comes with a rubber ring and a rubberised grip area to make holding the pen more comfortable. It is very light, some might find it too light, but fairly comfortable to hold.

The grip area (bottom)


The nib is not very wet, not very dry either. It’s certainly drier than most Pelikan nibs, but they tend to be on the wet side anyway. Ink will dry fast and you won’t see a lot of shading. With it writing fairly dry ink cartridges should last a long time, but light inks might appear too light on the paper. I didn’t have a problem with nib not ‘starting’, even after the pen hasn’t been used for several weeks. Unfortunately I only had the pen on my desk, so I am not sure whether ink will spill if the pen is knocked around in a pencil case.

The nib is very rigid, which is normal for cheap pens. If you try to vary the line width this is not the pen for you.

The nib


This pen offers excellent value for money. For me it’s not really a beauty, but that’s subjective – you might like the looks. If you want a cheap fountain pen that does the job this pen might just be right for you.


Price: December 2012

Exchange rates: January 2013

The paper in the pictures is from the RAH STMT X Iceland kit.


1 at least in the UK – prices in other countries might vary