Category Archives: Events

Pen Making Class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking


Another great Pen Making Class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking this year. As you can see – Lots and Lots of pens made, over 200 in total! This was my 7th year at the school and the diversity of classes offered coupled with the eagerness of the students to learn keeps me excited to return! Every year my students both stimulate and show me ways to do things I have not thought about.

I want to thank all of you who attended for a great week of Fine Writing Instrument making!

Thank You and Happy Turning – Barry

Anniversary Sale and Pen Class!

Marc Adams Classroom

The Anniversary sale is still going strong!
For this final week we are offering all the items that we had on sale the three previous weeks, plus new additions!

These past few weeks have been very busy getting ready for this week’s SOLD OUT, week-long Fine writing Instrument class at Marc Adams Woodworking School in Indianapolis.  This is a top notch woodworking school that everyone should consider attending. This will be my seventh (7) year teaching there with another full class of 16 students.  We will create over 10 pens during the week, while learn different skills such as:
segmenting using the Gisi technique,
sharpening your tools with CBN wheels, friction and CA glue finishes, tool techniques, and much more. 

That means we make up 18 sets of everything, this includes 2 spare sets – just in case. We’re packing notebooks, pen kits, bushings, blanks, sanding materials, instructions, PowerPoint presentations and more.  I am preparing everything with the help of my elves here at the warehouse in Pennsylvania.  In the class we will be drying and stabilizing wood blanks, clear label casting pen blanks, making exotic pen blanks using material such as shredded credit cards, abalone pieces and strips, watch parts and many other unique items!

Next year in 2020, I am already booked to teach to two (2) different classes.  One at Marc Adams again in August, and the other at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in June.  Stay tuned for exact dates in the coming future and if interested, sign up early because they fill up fast.

Happy Turning – Barry

Arizona Silhouette’s Anniversary Month – Week 3!

Jumbo Box Elder Burl Blanks

Our 7th Anniversary Sale is going well with one more week to go.

This week we’re offering Colt drill bits, and other Colt items, at over 40 to 50% off!  Spalted Birch pen blanks are back in stock and on sale, as well as Jumbo Box Dyed Box Elder Burl and Gold Dyed Spalted Maple. This week’s pen kits on sale are Cigar pen, Carbara Pen and the Policeman’s Pen

It’s a good time to stock up while you prepare for Holiday craft shows and gift giving.

Happy Turning- Barry

Washington DC Fountain Pen Super Show – August 3 & 4, 2019

It is a busy week at Arizona Silhouette !

Our 7th  Anniversary is coming up in August (stayed tuned for news), and we’ve been getting ready for the 28th annual Washington DC Fountain Pen Supershow.  I will be a presenter at the DC Pen show, giving a seminar showing the equipment, tools, blanks and kits need to make a pen. In addition, I will be unveiling two new limited edition pens that were made from wood that was grown from seeds taken to the moon on Apollo XIV.

Moon Wood Pens

The lower barrel of the fountain pen is comprised from a piece of the Sycamore tree saved by astronaut Scott Phillips, and stabilized by the artisan.  The upper barrel is a photo of the Apollo 14 astronauts whose mission to the moon and back lasted seven days, with two of those days spent on the lunar surface. Only 11 fountain pens were made.

The ballpoint pen is the moonscape laser inlay kit with each end of the inlay replaced with slices of  Sycamore “Moon Tree” wood.  Moonscape is a limited edition series of 15 ballpoint pens. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Hope to see you at the Pen Show this weekend. It is held at the Marriott Fairview Park in Falls Church, Va.


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!