Monday November 25: The Pencil

Via Present & Correct

What are the pencil’s affordance and limitations?  How might this most rudimentary of tools inform our thinking and the way we relate to other texts, other people, and our environments? 

Tools used: Throughout today’s class, I’ll provide an array of pencils that we’ll user-test while taking notes, and then we’ll assess the various models’ merits. Yes, this is supposed to be ridiculous.

  • Henry Petroski, “What We Forget” in The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance (Knopf, [1989] 2002): 3-14.
  • Caroline Weaver, “The History of Graphite,” “How a Pencil Is Made” and “On Erasing” in The Perfect Pencil: the Untold Story of a Cultural Icon (Gestalten, 2017): 6-11, 30-41, 42-5.
  • Skim David Rees, How to Sharpen Pencils (Melville House, 2012) + watch the companion film: Pricefilms, “How to Sharpen Pencils” (2013) <video: 9:28>.
  • Emma Tucker, “Holon Institute of Technology Students Create Alternative Pencil Designs,” Dezeen (November 24, 2015).
  • If you’ve chosen to respond to today’s texts, please post your reading response by 11:59pm the night before class!

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