David Oscarson Sea Turtle Pens: Lift Your Mood With Smiling Turtles And Summer
by Nancy Olson
It may be November, but whiffs of summer are still in the air. And I’ll stretch the season as far as I can, enjoying pens that remind me of the lazy, hazy, crazy days of a sunny time of the year that I so enjoy – like David Oscarson’s new Sea Turtle collection.
There were quite a few beach-inspired pens introduced in the summer of 2020, though Oscarson’s is by far the most elaborate of them all. Among others, Visconti debuted the Opera Master Polynesia, which uses turquoise-colored resin to conjure the swirls of the ocean.
And Montegrappa put forth the first, in a collection it produced in collaboration with Sarah, Duchess of York, each featuring three natural “kingdoms”: Ocean, Forest, and Garden. The limited edition Ocean was made of sea-blue celluloid accented by a sterling cap band engraved with a series of delicate seashells.
David Oscarson Sea Turtle
The Sea Turtle lifts my mood because of both its colorful ocean motif and detailed underwater tableau that includes three sea turtles – I think they’re smiling – seemingly cavorting on the body of the pen. Upon closer inspection, the story unfolds to encompass an elaborate enamel seascape with schools of fish, coral, and two angelfish.
“Our ability to create more intricate guilloche patterns and motifs has evolved over the past 20 years, as has our expertise in blending and firing hot enamel,” says company founder and designer David Oscarson about his thirty-third collection of limited edition pens.
“Like the [“freshwater companion”] Koi Collection from 2017, the Sea Turtle design involves multiple levels of guilloche engraving before we even start to think about the five colors of hot enamel, each of which requires three or four firings, all at different temperatures,” he explains. “The Sea Turtle requires a high level of expertise, and it really reflects what we do best.”
Oscarson’s use of guilloche and oven-fired enamel to create the exquisite designs on his pens is his well-established hallmark, and over two decades he has brought compelling and often thought-provoking topics to pictorial life with clarity and artistic flair. Subjects range from the natural to the spiritual and the political to the historical. And everything in between.
As examples, 2019’s Lord Ganesha delves into Hinduism and its symbolism, while the Golden Spike is an homage to the joining of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads at Promontory Summit, Utah, 150 years ago.
While the topics may seem disparate, their common ground is that each is very personal to Oscarson in some profound way. The Koi is a tribute to a memorable trip to Tokyo in 2016, which he took with his son Grant.
So, too, the 2020 Carl Milles Marriage of the Waters commemorates Oscarson’s wedding anniversary as well as the twentieth anniversary of his company. Milles and Oscarson also share a Swedish heritage, foundational to their respective work.
David Oscarson Sea Turtle details
The Sea Turtle set comprises a fountain pen with an 18-karat gold nib and a rollerball. There are seven variations, with sterling or gold-plated options, and four barrel colors: teal, white, black, and blue. I like the white with teal turtles the best, I think.
The Japanese symbols for “sea” and “turtle” are in high relief on the bottom of the pen and on the cap crown respectively. As with the Koi Collection, “David Oscarson” is engraved in Japanese script on the cap band.
I’m not a fan of overloading a pen with too many details, but here the coral-inspired clip is both pertinent and tasteful – as is the turtle shell engraving on the gripping section. Incidentally, I believe this engraving is functional as well as attractive since it adds just a touch of friction to ensure a good hold on the pen while writing.
I spoke with Oscarson just yesterday, and he said he’s avidly at work on his next collection, which will be introduced later this fall. I know what it is, but I’m not talking. Stay tuned.
“My favorite part of the business,” he said, “is seeing an idea or concept become a real, ‘living’ thing.”
For more information please visit www.davidoscarson.com.
Quick Facts David Oscarson Sea Turtle
Edition: fountain pen, rollerball
Nib: 18-karat gold
Cap and barrel: enamel, guilloche
Limitation: 88 pieces each in seven variations
Price: $6,000 (fountain pen); $5,800 (rollerball)