Darrin McArthur - Artisan
I have had an interest in working with wood for many years. As a young boy I would follow behind my father who was a master carpenter and tradesman. During my high school years I developed my skills through the study of drafting, architectural design and woodcraft. I crafted a number of beautiful pieces of furniture for family, which are still seeing use today.
After school I chose a different path, one that led to a career in military service. For many years I served my country as an EME technician. I traveled the world repairing weapons systems and equipment for our soldiers. With 26 years of distinguished service, achieving the rank of Sergeant as well as spending a number of years teaching the new young Craftsmen and women, I realized my career in the military was coming to a close. As the desire to work with my hands remained, I decided to return to my love of wood full time.
Having been mostly self-taught, I felt it was time for some formal training at the Rosewood Studio School of Fine Woodworking. During my time spent in the Craftsman Program I was able to refine my skills under the expert tutelage of furniture maker Ron Barter. One of the most important lessons I learned, is there is always something new to learn. While at the school I had the opportunity to receive instruction from renowned Canadian artisans Adrian Ferrazzutti and Michael Fortune.
While working in my studio was wonderful, I continued learning new techniques and tools. As I learned about the wood lathe, I discovered pen kits. While they are a simple wood turning combined with pre-made metal fittings, they offered a fascinating opportunity to combine different woods in a beautiful, functional project. While I understood ballpoints, rollerballs and stick pens, Fountain pens were new to me. Luckily I found an organization called “The Ottawa Fountain Pen Society”. They gladly accepted me into their group and introduced me to the world of Fountain Pens, from vintage collectables to the modern “Every Day Carry”.
As my skills grew, I became more and more restricted by the pre-made parts. So I began to replace these with parts of my own design, until I was designing my pens from scratch. As my designs grew, my skills need to grow as well. I quickly learned that some parts cannot be made of wood or plastic. So I began working with metals such stainless steel, nickel silver and bronze. This required a whole new set of tools and skills
While I have come to specialize in Fountain pens, my offerings also extend to ballpoints, rollerballs and pencils and even accessories. I also create beautiful calligraphy pen holders that showcase beauty as well as utility.
I use many exotic woods from around the world including many species native to my home, Canada. While my first love was to wood, I have learned not limit my creativity to this material alone. Through interaction with other artists, I have found inspiration in many materials. I use natural materials, like horn and bone, as well as man-made materials, such as ebonite and synthetic resins. I find all materials have their own distinguishing inner elegance waiting to be released.
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