Blue Dragon: One-Of-A-Kind Titanium Sculptured Pen By Grayson Tighe
by Nancy Olson
Bespoke luxury goods have become increasingly popular over the years, changing the concept of opulence forever.
Whereas a limited edition pen, watch, or car was once considered the epitome of extravagance, a one-of-a-kind item – particularly if the consumer has had some input – fills the bill quite like nothing else.
The term “bespoke” actually comes from the tailoring industry, specifically London’s Savile Row, where a suit could be designed and made to the exact measurements of a particular customer . . . it was “spoken for.”
Today, the term “bespoke” generally refers to any luxury item specifically tailored to an individual. And as today’s consumers become more sophisticated, in search of the holy grail of uniqueness, more high-end brands have begun to offer bespoke services.
Such was the case with Grayson Tighe’s Blue Dragon, a one-of-a-kind fountain pen created for an American collector, who wanted something with a personally meaningful theme along with some say about the overall design.
“The client had the idea for the Blue Dragon, and he was specific about the eye and mane color, placement of the pearl on the barrel, and the symbols and details that were important to him,” said Tighe, who crafts by hand all of the pens offered by his 18-year-old eponymous company.
I’ve known the Canadian pen maker since the earliest days of his career and I’ve seen his craft mature and become more refined over the years – particularly his engraving work. The Blue Dragon is, in my opinion, one of his finest pieces.
Though he’d never commissioned a pen of this caliber before, the client, a martial artist, says the process of producing the Blue Dragon started with discussions, research and, finally, choosing the perfect artist to actualize his ideas.
“Eddie gave me several options of makes and makers,” the anonymous collector said, referring to Eddie Kallman of the Texas firm Airline International, who facilitated the production of the pen. “Grayson was willing to commission the art, and having many of his past creations and liking the materials used and weight and feel of his works, it was an easy choice,” added the collector.
The original rough sketch of the pen for the client’s approval took Tighe about eight hours, while the sculpting alone required 111; both were accomplished entirely freehand.
“This pen is sculpted from solid titanium under magnification, and it has many textures and finishes individually hand applied with strict order of operations,” Tighe explained. “Titanium’s incredible strength, durability, relative lightness, and resistance to corrosion make it the ultimate core material for a luxury writing instrument.”
It also bears noting that titanium is not the easiest metal to work with.
“It’s quite a feat to produce such a fully three-dimensional sculpted dragon that really lifts off the background – especially considering that titanium is unforgiving on cutting tools,” Tighe noted.
The pen’s range of color, one of its most captivating features at first glance, is also owed to this extraordinary metal.
“[Titanium’s] sleek, elegant, and lustrous appearance can take on a wide spectrum of color by applying extreme heat or electricity,” Tighe shared. “This action produces a thin and transparent oxide layer that filters out light waves producing bright colors, even though there are no pigments or dyes involved. The color, in essence, is an optical illusion.”
According to the new owner of the Blue Dragon, pen collecting is a family affair: husband, wife, and two kids all enjoy the pursuit.
“It’s a lifestyle,” he said.
And while he admitted that he does not use all the pens in his collection, since there “aren’t enough days or weeks for them all,” he agreed that pens are a “conversation starter at board meetings, in elevators, on escalators” and elsewhere.
“Like a fine watch or a fine wine, [a pen] changes the enjoyment of life – or one’s perspective of life.”
For more information, please visit www.graysontighe.com.
Quick Facts Blue Dragon by Grayson Tighe
Edition: fountain pen
Cap and barrel: solid titanium, engraved and heat treated; barrel set with a pearl
Limitation: unique piece