Mark Dreyer - Aurora, Illinois

 

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Biography 

I have been making pens for the past 20 years, starting back when the exotic woods were Kingwood and a very rare piece of Cocobolo put on a gold slimline. The finish was wax sticks that you would press against the wood as hard as you could and then buff out with a cotton towel. Jump ahead to today with many unique and interesting blanks and pen kits … acrylics of all colors, feathers, deer antler, circuit boards, and anything else you can cast or turn. Even wood pens have undergone dozens of finishing techniques.

Being self-taught, I have tried it all and have had great success, tempered with a ton of mistakes. I recently finished the Stream Punk Mickey Mouse Pen that I will be demonstrating during one of my sessions.  

Penturning is unique because you get to be creative in the design, blank selection, and finish, while still requiring more precision than many other forms of turning. A fraction of an inch off at a fitting and the pen is simply not professional.  

An electrical engineer with grown children and thus more time on my hands, I turn to turning in the evenings and weekends to quench my artistic and creative thirst. All day long, I have to stay between the lines and play nice, but in my studio I get to play, producing approximately 300 pens annually. I view each as a piece of art – exclusive to itself, yet functional. There is no finer joy for me than to have someone say they have one of my pens and use it for their special occasions or that they have presented one as a gift and it was a hit. I teach out of my studio and have demonstrated at local chapters, passing on my knowledge of the craft to anyone who wants to listen and learn. I believe in the “love of the game” style of education. Coming to a class and watching to learn are just the start. My goal is to inspire and encourage others to practice on their own and experiment to find their own voice.


Demo titles and descriptions

Introduction To Pen Turning and Taking designs up A Notch
Everyone starts with making a traditional wooden pen. But it does not need to end there. The key to the process is challenging yourself to do something new and branch out. We will take wood to a new level.
Topics include the entire process from blank selection or creation, drilling, gluing, turning, finishing, and assembly. We will look at numerous finishing techniques and the challenges of each – from simple buffing to CA and many in between. Working with all the basic tools and jigs used in the process.
Now taking the wood pen to the next steps – coloring, bleaching and segmenting wood. We will discuss the different techniques to make your work standout above the rest.

Turning Alternative Materials And Casting
Lets go beyond the traditional wooden pen to making a pen from almost anything in sight – acrylics, feathers, steam punk, postage stamps, carbon fiber, and antlers.  Topics include the entire process from blank selection or creation, drilling, coloring, gluing, turning, finishing, and assembly. Single-tool turning techniques for making the perfect cut on acrylic and not chipping out. We will then proceed to Do-it-yourself casting - the fun and creativity of making your own blanks. From postage stamps, carbon fiber, pictures, worthless wood, to the Steam Punk Mickey Mouse Crushed Penny pen.

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