Yes, you’re right: the correct answer is…the pencil sharpener. For me, anyway.
This is pretty much my favourite present this Christmas, given to me by my husband, Gordon. I’ll tell you why it’s romantic.
Nearly three years ago, I took up art as a hobby. I use lots of media, including pastel pencils, and I’m about to start using coloured pencils.
Now, I think doing art is quite romantic in itself. Out of a few tubes, cakes or pencils of colour, a piece of paper or board and some brushes or sponges, you can create pictures that move people to cry or laugh, that remind them of their favourite things, that inspire them to become creators themselves. Potentially, anyway, if you’re Leonardo Da Vinci. In contrast, my paintings are much further down the evolutionary scale and very much those of a novice without wings. But you get the idea.
Anyway, I am always having trouble with my pencils. The leads are always breaking off, new pencil sharpeners quickly become blunt, or aren’t quite the right size, or don’t sharpen to a point. In the last year, I’ve probably bought 10 pencil sharpeners. Gordon has become used to me walking round the house, looking for another sharpener, and muttering about how useless they all are. I have entire conversations with myself about pencil sharpeners. Only artists will understand what I mean. And they do: there are lots of online discussions about pencil sharpeners, I’ve discovered. If you can’t get a sharp point on your pencils, it can seriously affect the quality of your art.
Furthermore, I recently bought these expensive coloured pencils which are sold unsharpened. To be fair, this set comes with its own little pencil sharpener that is quite good. However, it is laborious using such a small implement: I managed to sharpen three out of 72 before I got sick of it!
Anyway, when I opened my presents at Christmas, the one with the free-standing pencil sharpener was very exciting. All the online forums talk about the X-Acto sharpener, and here was one for me, complete with its vacuum mount and its eight-hole choice for pencil sizes.
This will make my little creations easier and better. More importantly, we will be a more peaceful household minus the mad ravings about the hazards of pencil sharpening.