GARCIA – DESCHACHT – if music be the food of love, then play on, turn a pen!
“GARCIA – DESCHACHT” is a team formed by Andy Deschacht and Laura Garcia Belli, partners in creative work and in life. This couple started by following different individual professional/artistic paths: Laura as an opera (soprano) singer, Andy as a chef and leather artisan until -after a severe climbing accident- he found his passion for wood. This passion made the couple embark on a new adventure: the creation of one-of-a-kind handcrafted writing instruments.
The result of this mix: unique and high-quality pens, each one with a scent of dedication, love, talent and creativity.
Inked Happiness talked with Andy to find out more about “G-D”:
INKED HAPPINESS: A Chef met a Soprano – the result could have been delights gastronomic, even music for the soul – how did it become pens, that too, fountain pens?
GARCIA – DESCHACHT: It sounds weird (laughs) but it’s not. Even before we met, we wished a career change.
We were in the search to discover what we really wanted in life.
I was already working with wood making big sculptures.When we got together we started the project “Enlightened Wood” creating out of this material unique pieces like lamps, bowls and paintings. Since then I’ve been in touch with the lathe -the first one was constructed by myself- improving continuously my technical and artistic skills. In this regard, I have to thank Godfried Fraeyman ,an excellent wood turner, for his advice and support.
One day, Gijs Fieu provided us with a treasure: ancient wood from the 13th Century found in historical excavations here in Belgium. We decided to create pens with it, instruments that we always had loved since our childhood. This is how GARCIA – DESCHACHT was born and from there on we have been concentrating our energy, enthusiasm and abilities crafting/designing -mainly- fountain pens together. In a passion from the past we found our present satisfaction.
INKED HAPPINESS: In a world that has long moved away from the fountain pens, what has prompted you to dedicate your lives and talents to creating them? Do you see the fountain pen making a comeback? More people picking them up as a protest against the digital damnation of their lives? Or are you not bothered about such trivial commercial concerns, following your heart, content in creating pieces of art?
GARCIA – DESCHACHT:Well, we follow our hearts!
It is true that over the years the use of the fountain pen as a “habitual” writing instrument diminished being replaced by more “practical” writing tools such as ballpoints or rollerballs but there were, are and -for us- will always be fountain pen lovers : some were continually closed to them, others found them again , and a lot are discovering their “magic” for different reasons.
Especially in these times, where everything works quickly and often impersonally, the fountain pens can be an “Oasis” for those who appreciate them.
Beyond these facts, we do (and love) what we do because it connects our passion and joy with the feelings of the people who choose our creations. It’s a pleasure to feel that each single finished pen has its own personality, its own “soul” and a energy that will bring satisfaction to its owner.
INKED HAPPINESS: Hand-turned, custom-built, bespoke fountain pens – what makes your creations stand out?
GARCIA – DESCHACHT: It’s the fact that each pen is unique -somehow a limited edition on its own- ,that each writing instrument is made one by one without following a standard model (also a serial production can be done in an artisanal way, but it wouldn’t fit with our concept).
Everything is “made in-house” starting from the raw materials (except for the pre-made nibs) and handcrafted -only by one person- to a high quality level.
The design, the combination of materials, our wooden pen boxes and the possibility to perform custom orders are also points that stand out and that are highly valued by our customers.
INKED HAPPINESS: The nib, the feed, the filling system – what make are they, for in hand turned pens they are most often sourced from third parties, often spelling the difference between the great and the not so good?
GARCIA – DESCHACHT: Regarding this important point -since nibs play an essential role when evaluating a fountain pen- we use for our pens two well-known German brands of high quality: Peter Bock and Jowo nibs, usually size #6 (for some custom orders we’ve used Peter Bock nibs #8) made out of Stainless Steel, Gold, Titanium or Palladium from extra fine to extra broad depending of the choice of our customers. All of our pens come with a quality converter -they can also work with standard cartridges- and before they have to be shipped, we check that everything runs properly.
INKED HAPPINESS: What are the materials of your choice for the pens that you make? What makes them special to other, more conventional materials from which pens are normally turned?
GARCIA – DESCHACHT: Well, we choose all kind of high grade materials for our pens: wood (We only use dried & stabilized -mostly by us- pieces), acrylic & resin, ebonite, buffalo horn, casein, cellulose acetate and metals such as 925 Silver (hand casted and soldered in house), Copper, Aluminium, Bronze and Gold (by request). Some of them are more “conventional” -as you say-, some of them are particular for us like the “DiamondCast” blanks created by Tim Mc.Kenzie or blanks that are not produced anymore (OMAS or Conway Stewart for example) and very especially the ancient wood found in several historical excavations located here in Belgium. Part of this precious wood dates from the 13th to the 17th Century, another part goes back to the Roman times (“Civitas Menapiorum” 100-300 AD) and belonged to waterwells found on the site. The city decided to share these treasures with some wood artists, to whom we are grateful to belong thanks to Gijs Fieu, the Intermunicipal Heritage Service RADAR,Willem Hantson (Archeologist) and Projectvereniging BIE.
Anyway, creating a special pen is not (only) a matter of materials, it is about what you do with them regardless of whether they are usual or peculiar. How you work (with) them will show what you get.
INKED HAPPINESS: Do you have any specific plans of making your creations available in India?
GARCIA – DESCHACHT: Our creations are worldwide available through our online shop. As a matter of fact, we already have some very enthusiastic customers in India.
INKED HAPPINESS. Anything that you would like to communicate to our readers?
GARCIA – DESCHACHT: Yes! We want to thank you for this interview and thank them for reading it. We hope that they get inspired to discover more about our fountain pens. We will welcome their contact. Our best wishes for all of you!. “Follow your dreams, they know the way…” NAMASTE