But that's not totally fair, either. Some kit pens have beautiful barrels, lovingly crafted by hand into genuine works of art. Such pens may be less about the writing experience and more about the aesthetics.
These are not those pens. Or, at least, not entirely.
While browsing pens online, I came across some handmade specimens that were just so odd, I had to share them with you. To wit: Pens with barrels that contain crushed animal droppings.
Yep, pens made of poop.
And the weirdest thing is that they really are nice-looking pens, for the most part. If you can overlook the whole droppings thing and just concentrate on the nice patterns.
The pens are made by Stuart King and are called "Nature of Maine" pens. They're sold through the Lupine Cottage, a co-op for artists and craftsmen in Belfast, Maine.
On his web page, he says he was a schoolteacher for many years and began making pens to supplement his income.
About 10 years ago I got into the business of making pens and have been making pens of one kind or another ever since. Being born and brought up in Maine, I wanted a “Maine” theme for my business, therefore, Nature of Maine Pens was born. All of the pens I make are individually hand crafted and turned by hand on a lathe. I gather my own materials from the very heart of Maine, its woods and waters. Nature provides the materials, I provide the labor. I hope you’ll enjoy looking at these very unique and interesting pens and find them just perfect for that difficult person to buy for.
There's no explanation on the site for how he came to make deer droppings pens.
Most of his pens appear to contain crushed organic material from either mussell shells, clam shells, and lobster shells or bits of moose and deer antler and droppings. They're Cross ballpoints and each pen comes in either 0.7 mm or 1.0 mm tip.
The effect really is quite attractive, especially for the crushed shell pens. The moose and deer droppings pens are also attractive, although they appear suspiciously dark, and you have to wonder what the small lighter-colored bits are.
The kit pens range in price from US$32 to US$37.
I must admit, I'm equal parts repulsed and intrigued. I'm 90 percent certain you can't actually smell the droppings – and can you imagine what a conversation starter a poop pen would make?