Category Archives: Events

Grand Central Holiday Fair

Booth Image

Grand Central Holiday Fair is now open again and my booth got a face lift thank to my web designer

Right side of booth

Susan (thanks Sue).  One comment that the staff at the Holiday Fair mentioned to me last year was that I could improve on my signage and thanks to Sue we have done just that!  Now people can easily see what we are selling. Another comment from the staff was how the pens were made. We added some process shots on the walls so people can see just how the pens are made.  Of course we elaborate on the process to really get them focused on how much work goes into making one of the pens.

So far after 7 days of sales we are slightly ahead of last years pace but the real sales did not start until after Thanksgiving which is in a few days!  We will keep you informed!  Have a Happy Thanksgiving with your families and this will be the last day I have off for a while – Happy Turning – Barry


We Have A Winner! Pen Contest Results Are In

Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner Ronald Neely
for his Meteorite Blue/Green Opal Inlay Fountain Pen! 

The kit is a Sedona Black Titanium Fountain Pen Kit.
The judges had a very difficult time deciding on a winner but Ron pulled it out in the end!
Just some of the comments from the judges were “original,” “nice design,” and “great fit and finish.”  All entries in both categories were really great, but only one person could win the grand prize.
Advanced Category
First runner up:
Larry Morgan with his
segmented Ultra Cambridge pen
Second runner up:
Joe Spina with his
Rainbow Rhodium Venetian Fountain Pen
Beginner Category:
First runner up:
Oscar Fluitt with his
Shark Pit Elegant Sierra pen
Second runner up:

Jim Burkett with his
segmented Gun Metal Cigar pen
Popular Vote Category:
Joe Tuinstra with his Black & Blue modified Cigar Pen
Joe managed to get 725 people to look at his pen, and 117 to vote on it as their favorite!

On a personal note, this was a lot of fun for us here at Arizona Silhouette.
It is really enjoyable to see all the great entries with the creativity and diversity in kits and ideas.
I want to thank the judges, Tom Barron, Don Ward and Curtis Seebeck also the staff at AZ for their valuable input on making this a successful contest.
We look forward to doing this again next year!
Happy turning – Barry



Announcing Our FIRST Arizona Silhouette Pen Contest!

Arizona Silhouette is proud to announce our FIRST Pen Contest!

Let’s have some fun going into the Fall season preparing for craft shows or making gifts for the holidays.
Arizona Silhouette is sponsoring our first pen contest. It’s easy to enter, lots of GOOD prizes, and hopefully, a lot of fun for everyone.

Below you will see the FULL details, but the short version is:
Pay your entry $10 feeclick here     You will receive $20 in gift certificates in the form of 2 – $10 gift certificates by email – we pay you to enter! Save the order number from your entry purchase, you will need it for the next step. Only ONE entry per person.
Fill out the entry formclick here     Fill out all the information on the form, and include your order number from your entry fee purchase. Upload the best photo that you can of your pen.
Upload your photo
Share with everyone!
 send the link to your pen photo to all your family, friends, penturning groups & forums and fans on social media. The Beginner & Advanced categories will be decided by our panel of judges, but the “Most Popular” category will be decided by how well you share, schmooze, brag, promote, etc. Honestly, you could have a horrible pen, but if you get the most votes on it, you would win. LOL!

Quick Links to the FULL details:



10” Turncrafter Variable Speed Lathe – Grand Prize

Grand Prize:
10” Turncrafter Variable Speed Lathe ($399.95 value US Only, No FPO, APO)
Best pen from both beginner & advanced categories combined, decided by the judges
1 grand prize will be awarded

1st runners up:
$75 gift certificate to Arizona Silhouette’s Store
1 First runner up prize will be awarded in both beginner & advanced categories
Best pen in both beginner or advanced category, decided by the judges

2nd runners up in both beginner & advanced categories:
$50 gift certificate to Arizona Silhouette’s Store
1 Second runner up prize will be awarded in both beginner & advanced categories
Best pen in both beginner or advanced category, decided by the judges

Popular Vote category most votes in either Beginner or Advanced Category:
$75 gift certificate to Arizona Silhouette’s Store
Only 1 pen can be the most popular! Decided by your penturning friends, family & fans. Post the link to your pen on all your social media accounts and ask people to vote for your entry!

Judging & Rules


Beginner – a pen maker who has successfully made less than 500 pens
Advanced – a pen maker who has successfully made more than 500 pens
Popular Vote – This can be an entry from either category – this is a fan favorite pen. Use social media to get out the vote for your pen!

Panel of Judges:

Tom Barron – owner of Maneater Crafts
Curtis Seebeck – owner of TurnTex Woodworks
Don Ward – Author of “Turning Modified Slimline Pens”
The Staff of Arizona Silhouette   

The Rules:

  • Contest starts August 31 and runs thru November 1. All entries must be submitted by November 1, 2018. Winners will be announced on November 6, 2018 on Barry’s Blog, Arizona Silhouette email list, our Facebook Page and any other places that we can think of. Winners will also be notified by email.
  • Entrance fee for either category $10 – Once entered you will receive two (2) $10 coupons to AZ store. (we are paying you to enter the contest!) These special double your money discount coupons will expire in six months.  Only one (1) entry per person and only one coupon can be used per order. Buy your $10 entry fee here: Click Here
  • Put your sales order number from purchasing your $10 entry on the photo upload form.
  • The pen you are entering must be made from a pen kit purchased from Arizona Silhouette.
  • Only 1 entry per person. Yes, you can vote for your own pen. Only ONE set of 2 – $10 gift certificates will be issued per person.
  • Only 1 vote per person, per entry. A voter can only vote once for an entry, but they can vote for as many entries as they like, in all categories.
  • Pens can be made from wood, stabilized wood, cactus, antler, acrylic, acrylic you made, casted items, polymer clay, stabilized squirrel poop, get the picture?
  • Please no CNC made pens – pens are to be turned on a lathe.
  • Fill out the official Arizona Silhouette entry form on the blog Click here for entry form and send a good quality photo of your completed pen by November 1, 2018 for it to be considered. (max photo size 10MB, must be JPG or PNG)
    If your image is larger, you can use an online photo resizer website like
    For some tips about “how to photograph your pen” click here
  • Judging of the pens will be based on quality of workmanship (fit & finish), originality in design and choice of materials and overall eye appeal – “Eye Candy.”
    The judging of the pens will be done by a panel of judges who are penturning experts including: Tom Barron – owner of Maneater Crafts, Curtis Seebeck – owner of TurnTex Woodworks, Don Ward – Author of Turning Modified Slimline Pens and The Staff of Arizona Silhouette. The decision of the judges is FINAL, and once announced, the winners will receive their prizes by mail or email.
  • After judges narrow down to the finalists in the categories, the finalists may be asked for further detail photos of their pen.
  • By submitting your photo entry, you are granting Arizona Silhouette the right to use that photo for marketing and promotional purposes on all our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and others. You retain the copyright to your photo.

Short Vacation

Arizona Silhouette is going into our 7th year so it is finally time to actually take some time off.  Well I am only going to take a few days while Lenora will stay at the beach all week.  Arizona Silhouette will be closed for Monday and Tuesday but will open back up on Wednesday.  On Thursday, I will be off to the Washington DC Pen Show and be there for the weekend.  So if you are in the DC area come see me at the DC Pen Show.  Michael will be in the warehouse filling orders and answering the phones on Wednesday. thru Friday.Talk with you later – Happy Turning – Barry

Working Long Hours at a Large Craft Show

Don’t Do This! Get off the cell phone and pay attention to your customer!

Be prepared for long hours when you do a retail show that spans weeks. There were times when we did not sell anything for an hour or two and then there were times when we were selling a pen every five minutes. However, the temptation to pick up your cell phone and text, call or check email was there, but to be polite to the people walking by we (myself and my help) did not do that. Other vendors did, and I watched as potential customers walked right by because they did not engage them! They were too busy texting, or worse, playing games on their phones! That was one of the “rules” I set before anyone was hired – while you were in the booth no cell phone usage – I told them pretend you are driving – of course we know how that works!  But when there were two of us in the booth, no cell phone usage. If someone calls, then leave the booth or do not answer it! When no potential customers were there, clean the booth make sure the pens were properly displayed and not turned around. If someone handled a pen, wipe it off and set it down on display again. Keep busy, it will relieve the boredom and help pass the time more quickly.

At peak times, which we figured out after a few days, we adjusted our schedule so that each of us could get a bathroom break, get some food, and just get away to make a call or check your phone. At times, there were so many people trying to see the pens that one of us actually had to step out of the booth. That was a good thing so we could keep an eye on the pens. Fortunately, there was only two pens taken, one we caught the guy, (charges are still pending) and the other was lost, and I never even knew it was gone until it was gone! My fault! Next year, if I get in, I will have cameras mounted in the booth as a deterrent. After doing some preliminary research, I will install a two camera system that will link to a DVR that has the recording capabilities of one week. After that week it will record over the previous week. Hopefully, that will deter anyone from stealing but as I have learned over the years, the “professional thief” if they want it, they will probably get it.  So, on that cheery note, I will just tell you to be vigilant, stay off the phone, and your chances of theft will greatly be reduced.   

Happy selling,

Hiring The Right Help For Long Craft Shows

 Hiring the Right help for a long, and very large Craft Fair can make or break you.

Hiring the right person, or persons, can be a daunting task especially when you are not familiar with how to do it.  

Before you begin your search, you first have to ask yourself exactly what are you looking for in finding the right person.  Not everyone you interview will ever know what a pen is, let alone how to sell it. So what do you look for? In my previous life as a sales manager (for thirty five years), I interviewed thousands of potential sales candidates. So, the first thing I look for is good communication skills.  Do they listen well and then clearly and concisely speak? Do they have good non-verbal skills? In other words do they observe people, and then take a cue from that? For example, a potential customer keeps looking at a particular pen then browses a different section but keeps coming back to a particular pen. Would they know enough to go over to them and explain that pen to then? Are they friendly and outgoing?  Do they display confidence when speaking? Most important are they honest and trustworthy?

These are all very good questions to ask yourself while you are speaking with a potential candidate.   So where do you start?  The best way is to ask other vendors if they know of anyone who is looking for part time sales help.  I found two sales associates that way for the Grand Central Terminal Show who were familiar with selling crafts, and they worked out very well.  You can also use a temporary agency, they will be more money but the candidates will be pre-screened for you. Of course you can use online services but the best way is word of mouth from other vendors and your own instincts.  If your “spidey” sense is telling you something is not right, chances are you will be correct.

The price for the help will vary depending on your location, how many hours they work, and what tasks you expect of them. The simplest task is just having another set of eyes to make sure you don’t let a potential customer slip away because you are selling to another customer (or making sure a pen doesn’t get stolen). The highest level is opening and closing your booth and being responsible for cash and securing your booth. Just remember, more responsibilities = more $$. I hope this will shed some light into the hiring practice for you.  

Happy Turning – more importantly happy selling!

Barry is in “Pen World” Magazine!

I was interviewed for an article that appears in the current issue of Pen World Magazine, under the “News” section. They were very interested in hearing about my participation in the Grand Central Holiday Craft Show.
Click the link below, or the picture on the left, to read the complete magazine article in PDF form:

I’ve been here in NYC for almost a month, and still have about 10 days to go. Customers from Arizona Silhouette have stopped by to say “Hello”, and it’s always nice to meet our customers in person. Lots of  pen collectors, from the various pen shows that I attend, have also come by my booth. I have even signed a few of the Pen World magazines that people brought over to me!

I’m happy to report that sales have increased this past week as we get closer to Christmas.

Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends and customers!

And Happy Turning to us all!

Grand Central Holiday Show Update – Day 17

Cigar Pens

It is day 17, we are still going strong, and building momentum!  The crowds are getting bigger, and more people are stopping at the booth. At other shows people say they will be back to buy, and in my experience they do not come back, but here they actually do come back! Another observation that I did not expect was all the interest in Fountain Pens!  I made a ton of rollerball pens in the Venetian & Arcadia styles and I am glad I did.  These can easily be changed into fountain pens and I am worried I will run out of nibs – (nice thing to worry about).

Some of you asked what some of the shelves looked like close up so here is a picture of the “Cigar Section.”  Time to get some sleep – these 11 hour days are tough on an ole man!  Happy Turning – Barry

Update from the Grand Central Holiday Show in NYC

Holiday Decorations

Wreaths at Grand Central

It is after Thanksgiving, and the Holiday decorations are up at Grand Central. The building looks even more festive. The traffic started picking up yesterday, and so did the sales.  Pens from $45 to $900 were sold, in a really wide variety of pen styles and materials.

Only 26 more days until the end of the show.  The hours are long, but the people are great! The police now know who the thief was who stole a $200 pen the first week. (I picked him out of a line up) Good luck, and many thanks, to the detectives who arrest this creep!

Well, I have to leave to get back to the booth. If you are near Grand Central Terminal please come to my little “pop-up” store! I have already enjoyed seeing many friends, students and customers stop by. It’s always a pleasure to see old friends and make new ones.

Also, best of luck to all of you who are doing their own holiday craft shows!

Happy Turning,



– Barry

Big Show Coming Up!

Sorry for not keeping up with the blog like I should, but we have been very busy lately!
We got accepted into the Grand Central Holiday Fair in NYC.  Only 40 artisans were accepted from the hundreds of applicants!  The Holiday Fair opens November 13th and runs thru December 24th.  That’s right 42 straight days from 10 AM till 8 PM every day!  Needless to say, I have been a very busy boy making LOTS and LOTS of pens for this show. In between making all these pens, I’ve been attending other shows, and will be a presenter at two upcoming woodturning symposiums.

So, in my *spare* time, I just want to share some of the more popular pens that have been selling very well for me at these craft shows.

  Sierra Grip/Gatsby type of pens always perform well made with either acrylic or stabilized wood.
  Steam Punk pen. Always a popular seller with it’s mix of metals and intricate design.
  Because of the popularity of “Game of Thrones”, the Dragon pen has been selling very well.
  The Venetian pen has been very popular for the people who wanted a rollerball / fountain style pen.

I promise I won’t take this long to keep you updated!

– Happy Turning