Caroline Weaver – The Pencil Connoisseur

Caroline Weaver – The Pencil Connoisseur
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By her own admission, Caroline Weaver is somewhat obsessive when it comes to pencils. Her shop in New York City is dedicated solely to wood-cased pencils and her book, The Pencil Perfect, tells the tale of this simple analog tool.

Here, Caroline gets straight to the point and describes her love for this humble writing implement.

Please introduce yourself to our readers:
I’m 26 years old, originally from Ohio and opened CW Pencil Enterprise in NYC in

Tell us about your education:
I studied art at Goldsmiths College in London.

How and when did your love for pencils begin?
I fell in love with pencils at no particular point as a child. I grew up in a creative
household with parents who are obsessed with art/office supplies. With age, my interest in these things grew and pencil eventually – and very organically – became my ‘thing’.

Tell us your journey from when you began to collect pencils to when you opened your own store:
Opening a pencil shop was always a silly dream; my if-I-could-have-any-job plan. I liked
the idea of being able to take a world tour through a very simple, universal object. I
moved to NYC after college and had a job I really disliked. One day I woke up and a
switch flipped in my head and I decided to go for it. It took about 8 months to get the
website set up and to open the shop.

Which is your favourite pencil?
If I could only live with one pencil it would be the Editor, the pencil we made with Caran
d’Ache. I use a lot of red pencil, so it’s useful to have it all-in-one. Otherwise, I always
fall back on the Craft Design Technology Pencil (both the Pentel and Camel versions).

What, according to you, is a good or great pencil?
A good pencil holds its point well, is well centered, is made out of good quality wood and satisfies whatever qualities the user likes about pencils, whether it be scratch, smooth, hard, waxy, dry, etc.

When and why did you decide to write the book?
I was approached last year by Gestalten about writing this book. They offered me the
opportunity and I jumped on it – how could I say no?

How long did it take you to complete it?
About 4 months.

In general, what does the book cover?
The book covers pencil history from the 16th century until today. It’s full of anecdotes
and stories of people, places and things that define what the pencil is as an object and
what its place is in the world.

Who would you recommend to read your book?
I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in analog tools as well as anyone who’s
curious about objects.

Who has been your greatest help in completing this book?
I’m not quite sure how to answer this. I wrote this book entirely on my own. Henry
Petroski’s book on pencils – the only other book on pencils – was incredibly helpful

How would you describe the experience during the writing process?
It was hard because I have a very busy job. I spent a lot of very late nights writing.

What are your future plans? Any more books planned?
I’m not planning any more books right now. I’m quite happy with my one shop. I’d like
to continue to develop some new products and grow my online business.

What are some of your other hobbies?
I spend a lot of time writing letters, travelling, knitting and reading.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
My biggest achievement was definitely opening my tiny pencil shop on Forsyth Street.
That’s what started all of this.

Illustration by Oriana Fenwick, from The Pencil Perfect, Copyright Gestalten 2017

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