PORTLAND, Ore., (April 27, 2015) – An industrial designer in Portland, Ore., developed a prototype of a pen built to write with raw inks, such as dark beer, berry juice and soy sauce. The startup, WINKpens, is running a Kickstarter campaign from April 27 through May 30, 2015 to fund production. WINKpens will be sold in wineries, travel companies, art supply stores and specialty gift shops, as well as via e-commerce (winkpens.com).
Startup founder Jessica Chan became interested in biodegradable inks while working on a concept for a sustainable home printer. Then, looking for ways to reduce throwaway, her focus shifted from printers to pens. After a year of prototyping, Chan developed WINKpens. Engineered for varying viscosities of alternative inks, the prototypes perform beautifully, are easy to use and can be refilled with any fluid that has a staining property.
“Imagine writing with your favorite wine, or sketching with a Russian imperial stout,” Chan said. “You can mix your own inks for staining, sketching, underlays, and make it your own.”
WINKpens use a two-sided, spiraled glass nib to feed ink to the paper. One tip is angled for calligraphy; the other is conical for finer penmanship. The pen intuitively twists apart for emptying or refilling. All the components fit together snugly with rubber O-rings, and can be easily pulled apart and pushed back together for cleaning.
While writing implements have been in play throughout history, Chan believes WINKpens open a new avenue of creative expression by making it easy for artists to experiment with raw inks, making their process more personal and situational. “Creativity extends beyond the grid of conventional boundaries,” Chan said. “Design is story. It’s history, and it’s progression.”
Future development of WINKpens will include custom sleeves made of wood, metal or other materials, with names, custom images or business logos printed or engraved on them.
Jessica Chan is an artist and industrial designer who believes that design is solution and utility. She strives to create products that demonstrate quality, sustainability and self-expression.