Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Surrounded by Color

My (mostly) vintage collection.

The other day when I showed you my two new bookcases, did you catch my teaser about that empty second one? Ultimately, I intend to fill it with more sketchbooks, but that will take a while. In the meantime, I’m using it to display my growing vintage pencil collection.

Each mug, glass or jar holds a different brand of vintage (mostly American) colored pencils (and a few graphite ones). If I was able to acquire complete sets in attractive boxes, I’m displaying them with the box. Unfortunately, most of the inexpensive (and incomplete) sets I got on eBay came in very worn and janky cardboard boxes (some of which reeked of cigarette smoke and had to be discarded). I decided those boxes didn’t enhance my studio décor, so I took the pencils out.

Sharing space with the vintage pencils are a few sets of contemporary colored pencils that I’ve used briefly to swatch the colors, but to be honest, I bought them only “for show.”

Colorbrite, Omega Try-Rex, Dixon. In back are 642 Things to Draw and Blackwing Colors. Monogrammed K glassware
from my mom's kitchen.

When I initially got the idea to display my collection this way, I was going to make a trip to Goodwill to buy some funky old glassware or mugs. Then I smacked myself upside the head and realized I have plenty of “vintage” (OK, just “old”) containers already – in my own kitchen. As for the monogrammed tumblers, those really are vintage ‘70s – from my mother’s kitchen. I never particularly liked them when my family and I drank out of them, but when my siblings and I cleared out our parents’ house after they died, we split up the set of these glasses as mementoes. I was ambivalent about taking my share, wondering if I would use them, but now I’m really happy that I kept them. I’m guessing they are about the same age as some of these pencils.

I’ve always felt that colored pencils are as much home décor as they are art materials. Being surrounded by color (that I also use) makes me happy.

Eagle Verithin, an assortment of vintage randomness, Col-erase. At right is a box of Caran d'Ache Prismalo.

Wallace, Mongol, Venus. In boxes are Tombow Irojiten (contemporary), Colleen and Lyra.

Contemporary collectibles, vintage graphite, lefty pencils (vintage and contemporary)


  1. Love the display and it’s description! Colors have that magic & energy!!

    1. Magic and energy -- you got that exactly right, Ujjwal! :-)

      - Tina

  2. They look great adding color to your shelves.


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