Float About... #36 © Copyright Fri/Oct 4, 2002
a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to Eskesen floaty pen collectors

Floaty fans everywhere... I am back! Did you think I fell off the planet? Me too. Despite the steamy hot summer, Bill and I are enjoying a successful craft show season. I trust you were busy traveling and hunting for float pens? Find anything interesting? I am so ready for our show schedule to wind down so that I can once again concentrate on our favorite subject... pens that float!

We returned from NYC on September 14th... to find the newly released September 11th pen in-house. There are certain images of 9-11 that have been permanently imprinted in our minds. I was so relieved to see the pen didn't incorporate those images. It is a crisp, clean and appropriate design. I truly appreciate the simplicity of the currency color over the white backdrop. I do not anticipate any supply problems with this design. Feel free to order as many as you like. Find it under the New Arrivals category. The barrel colors are translucent red or blue, always in the classic style. If you reserved this design in advance, your pens are still on-hold.

Factory News...
Kim Hansen-Thybjerg, Marketing Manager at the Eskesen factory... confirms the Harry Potter pen is in-the-works. The pens will be offered at the Marks & Spencer stores in the UK. Kim assumes the official introduction of the pen will coincide with the release of the upcoming Harry Potter movie. The pen design includes scenes from the new film. I will try to get some for all of us, but no promises.

Kim also reports that Eskesen has a great new type of pen on the way. He was unable to disclose a lot of info. 'All I can say is that is looks like an Eskesen pen, feels like an Eskesen pen, but certainly does not function like a traditional Eskesen pen'. Kim tells me the pen should hit the market in 2-3 months.

You may know, Pia Rosendal left Eskesen's marketing department to pursue other challenges. Kamilla Bennedbaek has since joined the Eskesen team. Those of you that contact Eskesen in the future, could have the pleasure of corresponding with Kamilla. Kim, thanks for the factory update.

Media Sightings...
I had just about given up on media sightings ... for this issue when I received a package from Doug Yeo. Enclosed I found a copy of the Spring 2002 New England Conservatory NOTES magazine. A Post-It, applied to the cover, directed me to page 15. The entire right column, on the edge of the page, is dedicated to Doug's custom float pen. There are just a few words, but it is an artful and classy presentation of his pen. More importantly, the coverage includes a link to Doug's website. Congratulations Douglas! Once again, you have made floaty history. (I still have two of Doug's pens available or you can visit his website to obtain one). Click on the photo right for a readable view.

UK collector, Stephen Kenneth is destined to... become a star. On October 1st he traveled 235 miles to Cardiff in Wales. Stephen was chosen to appear on a collectibles television program. The show will air exclusively on HTV in Wales. Our celebrity collector has requested a video copy of the program because it does not show in his area.

Stephen has an impressive pen collection and Eskesen provided him with an unreleased Harry Potter pen for this special occasion. Mr Kenneth has a website. That is where I got the HP photo. I am sure he will post a full report. I couldn't confirm whether Stephen intends to buy duplicates for trading. You can contact him through his site. I do know Keith Bartlett is planning to get extras from Marks and Spencer for Miranda. Maybe I can convince him to get some for me too!

No news regarding the upcoming movie... that will feature several float pens. The film will include Mandy Moore, Allison Janney and Peter Gallagher. If you are the first one to catch and match this outstanding trio to a movie title... there is a free float pen in it for you! Answer: How to Deal. Winner: Sharie Kumaishi.

Collectors News...
What do you suppose Mr Zanat... has been up to? Many of us have yet to make our way to the factory in Denmark. That is what makes this promo pen extra special. Zanat has created a pen that includes a photo of the Eskesen factory. It is available on my new arrivals list in limited quantities. I am sure Mr Zanat also has them for trade. You can reach him at mahfoudzanat@free.fr The caption panel includes a list of float pen collectors from around the world.

Pictured right, Mr Zanat holds a prop of Eskie. Note the design on the shirt he is wearing? Thank you Mr Zanat for presenting me with a t-shirt just like it. I scanned the top portion of the design so you can get a better look (pictured left). The caption under the cartoon reads 'S.I.M.S.', encapsulated in an oval. I will wear it with pride.

Craig and Terri Wilson... share my appreciation for A&E's program called The Incurable Collector. The hour-long show is hosted by John Larroquette and features obsessed collectors, instant appraisals, garage sale and flea market shopping tactics and more. I checked the TV listings for the next few weeks and I do not see any new episodes scheduled. I visited A&E's website to see if the show has been canceled, but didn't find any clues one way or the other. Have you heard anything about the future of The Incurable Collector? Sarah Garrett contacted A&E last summer with the same question. They told her they will continue to rerun old episodes, but will not be filming new shows. Bummer.

I think of California collector, Beverly Broadstone, every Saturday night at 8 pm. That is when I tune into TLC's wacky remodeling show called Trading Spaces. Beverly and I are both addicted. Beverly mentioned that HGTV (Home and Garden TV) has produced their very own collectibles show entitled The Ultimate Collector. The show premiered Wed, October 2nd at 10 pm (EST). They featured Spider Man, smiley faces, kitchen utensils and more. Sounds like fun. Check it out next Wednesday.

Collector Ava Rosales visited... the Eskesen factory early in September. According to Kim, Eskesen's Marketing Manager, Ava is from California and has about 500 pens in her collection. Ava was on a European vacation and took the opportunity to tour the factory. Kim reports Ava seemed to enjoy her visit. Do you know Ava? She would be a welcomed member to our little floaty nation.

Stephanie Silk has her very own... floaty benefactor. Stephanie's husband works with a wealthy man and frequent traveler. The first time the co-worker scheduled a trip, Stephanie casually asked her husband to see if the co-worker might keep an eye open for float pens for her. 'Lo and behold, he found one. How nice I thought! Then more pens started appearing from all over the place'. She only asked for pens one time, but 'this man has been generous enough to find pens from every port he rolls into. My latest acquisition is from Antarctica!' Of course Stephanie realizes how fortunate she is. This is a very kind and considerate man. Good for you Stephanie!

Float pens are alive and well... in Germany. Debbie Hoesly's husband just returned with six different designs to add to her collection. Sounds like they are all Eskesen too. Lucky lady!

Elly Wille-Neufeglise, an enthusiastic Dutch collector... is new to float pen collecting. She may not have many pens, but that is bound to change. Elly is interested in trading and has already created a floaty website. Be sure visit and offer her a warm welcome. Elly's site.

Adrie Lupker discovered .. opera pens available on-line. Designs include: Tosca's Rome, La traviata, Boheme and Don Giovanni. Three of the designs are currently in stock, the fourth expected by mid-October. The price isn't too bad, $5-$6 each plus shipping. Some things in life are worth a little extra. I will not be carrying these pens on my list, so if you want them, please go directly to the source www.operagraphics.com

Opera and Caviar... a duo drenched in decadence. While fishing online Nancy Given netted an extraordinary caviar pen. No need to stretch your grocery budget to include this extravagant delicacy. Go for the pen instead. It will last longer.

Up-and-coming New York artist, Chrissy Conant, designed the caviar float pen as a marketing tool to promote her artistic endeavors. The pen is part of a fine art installation, complete with reviews in art journals, the New York Times and on National Public Radio (NPR). 1,000 pens were produced, so it is indeed a collectible. Look for Chrissy in the October issue of Artforum. If you wish to order the pen, it sells for $10. Yes, it is an Eskesen. See photos and order directly from Chrissy's website. Thanks for getting us there Nancy.

Doug Yeo visited the... the Norman Rockwell Museum this summer. The museum had a custom pen made for a gallery exhibit held in 2001. Norman Rockwell , with palette in-hand, floats past four of his paintings displayed on a gallery wall. I am grateful to Doug for his assistance. With his help, the Norman Rockwell pen made it to my list. The Norman Rockwell Museum is located on Route 183 in Stockbridge, MA. If you are planning a trip to that area, stop in. All the info you need can be found on their website.

Leslie Sena attended the 2002... Barbie convention. Attendees received a bounty of promotional items. The one most appreciated by Leslie was a Malibu Barbie float pen! Sadly the pens were made exclusively for the event and they have all been distributed. You never know, maybe Mattel will come back for more designs.

Newbie and veteran collectors alike ... are bound to recognize the name... Jack Keely. Jack is a graphic artist responsible for over 80 pens floating about out there, and that number is steadily rising. His work for Floaty Industries has included pens featuring Sumo wrestlers, mermaids, devils, angels, dragons, snowmen, robots, and a zoo full of animals. Jack Keely's pens appeared in Rosie O'Donnell's Rosie magazine. His Glamour Cats pen became famous when it was used as a murder weapon in the Cats in the Cradle episode of Crime Scene Investigations (CSI). Many collectors have asked, "just who is this Keely guy anyway?" Regina Merwin, at Operagraphics, refers to him as "the Da Vinci of the floaty pen! " Floaty fans, it's time for you to meet Jack.

Illustration of Jack and his canine buddy Hugo, as seen on Jack's website)

DIANA: To my knowledge there aren't any "floaty pen art schools" in the USA (maybe in Europe), so where did you get your art training?
JACK: I studied illustration at Rhode Island School of Design, and got my MFA in design at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Neither one had a Floaty 101. Maybe I can open the Floaty School of Fine Art.

DIANA: Are you currently working exclusively in float pen design... or do you journey into other art venues as well?
JACK: When I was a kid, my mom made me sit in front of the grocery store and offer to draw people pictures for fifty cents. I'll never do that again, but I'm open to virtually any other artistic venue. I've illustrated about 30 children's books. The most popular one, Grossology was the number one nonfiction bestseller when it came out. You can see a lot of the pictures from that book at grossology.org     I also do greeting cards, advertising, magazines... you name it. But the floaty pens are very special projects.

DIANA: Did you go door to door seeking a job as a float pen designer or did Sandy Medof (owner of Floaty Industries) discover you? If neither... how did you make your way to FI?
JACK: I was at a store that sold my books, and also happened to sell Sandy's pens. The owner of the store introduced us. Sandy's passion for floaty pens intrigued me. We started working together and became great friends.

DIANA: If I didn't know better and someone handed me these pens: Glamour Cats, Cocktails, Magical Dragons, and Tiki Girl, and then asked me how many artists I thought were represented by the foursome, I would have to respond "four different artists". How do you account for the many varied styles? Is it a matter of experimentation, schooling or your own brand of schizophrenia?
JACK: Probably all of the above. I try lots of things so my work doesn't develop a sameness. The new stuff will surprise you. I have been working with markers for years. Lately I've been playing around on the computer, and the results are very different from what you've seen.

DIANA: Do you ever do special order pens?
JACK: Floaty Industries does lots of special orders. I designed pens to tie-in with the release of the movies, "The Deep End" and "The Business of Strangers". I've also done special order opera pens, pens for restaurants, and some for peoples weddings.


DIANA: Which designs are your favorites?
JACK: My faves aren't always the bestsellers. I did a Which Came First? pen where a chicken switches places with an egg, and then goes back again. It's pretty wacky. Having Glamour Cats used as a murder weapon on TV made that pen very special.

I love the Lola the She Devil pen because it's got a kind of pin-up glamour. I gave that pen to a friend who works in a restaurant. A few months later, I stopped in and one of the waiters had the cartoon I drew for the pen copied and tattooed on his arm from elbow to shoulder. Now there's a serious fan.

DIANA: Float pens have finally reached the pop culture status they so deserve. Do you think their popularity will endure?
JACK: We love floaties because they're funny, eccentric, and often a little risque'. They've been around pretty much unchanged for decades, and have a certain built-in nostalgia. They're definitely here to stay.

DIANA: Do you see yourself creating float art 10 years from now?
JACK: Floaties forever!

Jack's favorite pens ... and many others are available on my list. Jack's designs usually fall under the Humor category and sometimes in Advertise. You won't have any trouble recognizing his work. I always provide a credit.

Satisfy your appetite for all that is gross at Jack's website, www.grossology.org It might make you a little uneasy and perhaps even queasy, but I am sure that is part of it's appeal. Jack, thank you for taking time out for this interview. Stay afloat!

Looking for a way to express your floaty fixation? Linda Tempero has created a bumper sticker. Now you can publicly display your floaty obsession. The bumper sticker is the underlined portion of the scan with a detailed view below. Be the first one on your block to own this sticker for $2.50. Buy $50 worth of pens or products from my list and get one FREE! Not ready to come out of the floaty closet yet? That's ok. There are at least a million other places to stick it!

Give your favorite float pens... the attention they deserve. Eskesen made this clear pen holder with a black tubular insert. ‘DENMARK’ is stamped on the bottom of the display.

Make it even more interesting by adding stickers to the top or a picture to the bottom that reflects the theme of the pen. The base measures approximately 2 ½ long by 1 ½ wide. Find them under New Arrivals for just $1.25 each.

Holland - USA Pen Summit in NYC...
September 10th Bill and I flew to NYC... To meet with Dik and Miranda. They arrived about 4 pm on September 11th, three days ahead of their Dutch tour group. We were all booked at the Edison Hotel near Times Square. This proved to be an extremely comfortable and convenient location.

Miranda was just as you would expect her to be. She is sweet, smart and has a very acute sense of humor. Her command of the English language is amazing, especially when you consider she picked it up from movies and television. Her boyfriend Dik was a lot quieter, but managed to get his point across when needed. We cheerfully relinquished the title of tour guide to Dik. He had done his homework and quickly mastered the map. Dik confidently led our merry band to and from our many destinations. However, he wasn't able to dissuade Miranda and I from ducking in and out of souvenir shops along the way. We found a few new pens, a couple of revised designs and a Roswell, NM pen during the trip.

Wed/Sept 11: We spent the evening atop the Empire State Building. No crowds, no lines, no wait. After a brief security check we headed for the observation deck. It was extremely windy, but the skies were crystal clear. The view was awesome. Off to a relaxed dinner and then we retreated to the hotel.

Thurs/Sept 12: Stopped at a Mercedes dealership to satisfy Dik's curiosity. His passion for Mercedes is rivaled only by Miranda's love of the float pen. We met Andy Balbus for a three hour tour of Manhattan on the Circle Line ferry at 10:30 am. Miranda and I were anxious to hear the details of Andy's new business. He is getting ready to launch a service that will sell items for others that haven't the time or energy to do so. Dik and Bill took control of the cameras and concentrated on the scenery while Miranda, Andy and I enjoyed pen chat and some light trading. Andy had a two hour drive ahead of him. So, when the boat docked we said our goodbyes and sent him on his way with our best wishes. The rest of our day included shopping, Ground Zero, the Brooklyn Bridge, the tip of Chinatown, Astor Place, The Strand and several subway rides before we returned to the hotel. After dinner at Texas Texas, we were all ready to crash.

Fri/Sept 13: met for breakfast and Dik directed us to Central Park. We stopped at the Disney Store on 5th Avenue. They still have Minnie dressed as the Statue of Liberty float pens in stock. We continued to Central Park for a long, but leisurely walk. On to Columbus Circle where we split-up for the afternoon. Dik and Miranda took the subway back to Footlights, a music store we visited just short of closing time the day before. Bill and I caught a subway train to Chinatown for a closer look. We joined forces again about 6 pm. Next stop, the Chrysler building and Grand Central Station before turning back to the hotel. We shared a light snack at a cafe just a few doors away from the Edison. This would be our last chance to visit. We savored the little time we had left.

Sat/Sept 14: Dik and Miranda joined their tour group. We waved goodbye as they boarded the bus at 9am. Their Eastern Discovery tour would take them on to Boston, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Buffalo, Gettysburg, D.C. and return them to New York City on Mon/Sept 23rd. Bill and I boarded our flight at 2:40 and we were home by 5 pm. Dik and Miranda returned to Holland on the 24th.

We were so unsure what the week would have in store for us. After all, it was the first anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. We did not detect a sadness or dark cloud hanging over the City, but rather a sense of business-as-usual. Tourism was obviously down, but native New Yorkers seemed to go about their daily routines undeterred. A true testament to their strength and determination. The weather was incredible. No smog, no fog, and temperatures remained moderate throughout our stay. Hands down, it was the best NYC experience Bill and I have ever had. Meeting Dik and Miranda was the icing on the cake, or in this case ... the Big Apple. We are already looking forward to our next visit.

Pens Past...
Queen Mary has returned to port... I was convinced the Long Beach pen that features the Queen Mary was gone forever. Much to my surprise, they are once again available. Find it under Locations/CA. A couple of other pens that have been missing from the list for a long time are back: Under Locations/WI... Wisconsin/Mice & Cheese and under Transportation/Ships find the U.S.S. Constitution.

Most of the pens in the religious... category have been discontinued by my distributor. They will soon disappear from my list. Anima Sola is the only exception.

Pens Present...currently on the New Arrivals list

Miranda Wittebol has been working... with a Holland distributor in hopes of generating new float pen business. She has approached several museums and area attractions. Miranda is also doing more design work these days. The Utrecht pen is her latest effort. Great job! The Dom Tower is the highest and oldest church tower in Holland. If you are a fan of architecture, history or churches, you will enjoy this background info Miranda found on the web. NOTE: this is NOT an active link. You will have to copy and paste it. http://www2.holland.com/us/special/art/churches/dom.html

Lisa Rasmussen is not new... to the art of float pen design. Cows are Udderly Delightful, Life is a Pig Pen and Hold your Horses are just a few past classics from Lisa. She has two new additions included in this issue: When Pigs Fly! and Holy Cow!

Two Jack Keely designs... make an appearance on my list for the first time: She-Devil Lola and Which Came First... the Chicken or the Egg? The Junk Food design is also from a Floaty Industries designer, Maud Simmons. Maud also cooked up an earlier food extravaganza... the Sushi Smorgasbord pen.

Bonnie Esplie found the... Gooseberry Falls, MN pen when visiting the State Park this summer. The park is located just above Duluth, MN in Two Harbors. As State Parks go, this one seems to have everything you could possibly want in the way of recreational activities. The waterfalls are a main attraction. They are nicely depicted in the Gooseberry Falls pen. For park info visit their website. Can't get to Minnesota? The pen is on my list.

FloatArt has several... new pens: Conclave 2003, Environmental Design, Klein School, the Big Fling wedding, and the amazing Virgin Mother pen. Owner, Nancy Nerenberg, continues to create unusual and interesting designs. Thanks for sharing them with us Nancy!

Revisions will replace... older designs. The B-52 Stratofortress and the Rhode Island pens have been revised. The Rhode Island pen has been sold out for some time, but I still have a handful of the original B-52's available. I do have both of the revised designs in stock.

Pens Future...
Toys Galore... should have arrived in time for this issue, but it didn't quite make it. The pen features some of our favorite childhood toys and was created as a promotional item. The toy pens are coming from Miranda and will probably arrive while I am on vacation. I will scan them as soon as they arrive. In the meantime, this is a glimpse (TV Toys pens have arrived) .

Eskesen has raised... their pen prices. Consequently distributor costs have reflected the increase. Some of the pens on my list will be effected. I will hold prices steady for one full month. To take a bite out of the increase, deduct 50¢ from any item in stock on the Main List through midnight October 10th. The Main List includes all categories from Advertise - Scripto Lighters, but excludes New Arrivals and Float Aways. Now is the time to stock up for the holidays. Next issue, expect some prices to rise.

My computer crash... on August 4th was a major catastrophe. All of my notes for issue #36 and their email sources were lost. If I promised to mention something in this issue and it isn't there... that is why. Someone told me a really funny floaty story about the Pope. Was it you? If so... contact me!

Luckily, I have hardcopy of all transactions, but the computer invoices from January through the crash have vanished. If you have a credit or debit from your most recent order, the date of your last invoice would be very helpful. The hardcopy invoices are arranged by shipping date. Recovery has been slow, but with each passing day the puzzle is coming back together.

Issue #37 should be ready by early December. Our final craft show is on the first. In the meantime, we will be in Yellow Springs, OH the weekend of October 12th, for a street fair. For my 50th birthday, Bill presented me with a five day vacation to the US destination of my choice. I think he expected me to choose San Diego, but I didn't hesitate to pick Seattle. He immediately added four days in Vancouver. We depart on October 15th and return late on the 23rd. Bill and I are both trying to make this a vacation, not a business trip. That is easier said than done. Ron Lanyi sent a copy of On the Road by Jack Kerouac. It will accompany me. Who knows, maybe a good book will slow me down.

As usual, orders that arrive in my absence will be dealt with on a first-come first-served basis when I return. My house sitters are not expected to handle business while we are away. The house and cats keep them plenty busy. I will try to get email access during the trip. Internet service in Seattle won't be a problem, but Vancouver is new frontier for Bill and I. We are not sure what to expect.

Are you exhausted? I am! This is starting to feel like a novel. Definitely time to wrap it up. Enjoy the end of the tourist season and all the wonders of fall.

It's Autumn... Dig it!

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Back up and read Issue #35 from June 2002
Go forward to Issue #37 which posted December 2002

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FLOAT ABOUT... Diana Andra, 1676 Millsboro Road, Mansfield, OH 44906-3374
phone 419/529-8876 or fax 419/529-3354
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