Friday marked the opening of two of the better-known arts and crafts festivals in Southern Oklahoma.
While the Carter County Arts and Crafts Festival and Food Fair at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum and the Ardmore Arts and Crafts Show at the Ardmore Convention Center drew in vendors from across the region, some local craftsmen seized the opportunity to showcase their wares.
Steven Pierce, of Lone Grove, specializes in woodworking using reclaimed wood from his property. Pierce’s day job is as a recruiter for Michelin.
“My wife bought me my lathe about four years ago, I started working with it and got really good at,” Pierce said. “Now I do all kinds of things. The things I really like to do are the pens with the bases, they are all matched sets. I don’t cut any live trees to do any of my work. I wait until trees are dead on the ground, then I go pick it up, put it on my saw mill and make different projects out of my wood.”
Pierce’s pen sets are high-quality items. While most consumers are accustomed to buying disposable pens in bulk, the pen sets created by Pierce are more appropriate as a functional centerpiece set, with prices ranging from $20 for single pens up to $190 for pens with matching bases.
While the higher prices may cause a bit of sticker shock for most, the quality of the items are on par with the prices. The pens may not be suitable in situations where pens often “get up and walk off on their own.”
The pen types include ballpoint, quill tip and roller ball, with reloading functions for long-term, heavy usage.
“If you buy a quill-type pen, that’s your pen, don’t let anybody else use it,” Pierce said. “You will groove that really fine silver tip to your angle of writing. The nice thing about a quill tip is that the tip flexes in and out, the line you write with increases and decreases, so no one can duplicate the pressure you write with with your pen.”
Pierce individually numbers and signs each pen, and while some share similar motifs, all are unique and one of a kind, with some including a natural, stone inlay.
Pierce does all his own woodworking, but he does use prefabricated hardware.
Pierce, originally from New York, went to college in North Carolina before finding his way to Lone Grove via Michelin.
Pierce’s offerings include more than just pens, he also creates unique bottle openers, wine toppers, ice cream scoops, cutting boards, key chains and even seam rippers, a specialized tool for seamstresses.
“A lot of times I will get 95 percent of the way through a piece before it splits out on me,” Pierce said. “So all that time is wasted. But that comes with it. You just start on a new piece.”
Unique booths like Pierce’s at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum are part of the charm of local arts and crafts shows. The shows allow local craftsmen and women to share their passions with the community.