Beetle & Byte

How It’s Made

700-Year-Old French Paper Mill

The beautiful paper that is made at the Richard de Bas Mill has been used by Picasso, Chagall, and Dalí not to mention it was originally used to print the French Constitution. To this day, the owner and staff make every sheet of paper by hand with many of the original presses and tools, which can take upwards of a month for a single sheet.

Of the many things to admire, I especially like imagining heading outside the mill to the garden where they hand pick flowers for their pressed flower paper.

How Pencils Are Made

I suspect pencils are among the many things we take for granted in modern, daily life. They’re one of the first, if not the first, writing utensil we ever use as children. We learned to write, add, subtract, and multiply with them. We learned geometry and perspective with them. We took tests with them. So, so many filled in circles on standardized tests (does that date me or is that still a thing?!) My words and imagination fail to convey their omni-present place in my life and those of many others.

These days I try not to horde them as much as I used to and enjoy the ones I have until they’re whittled down. That’s tough when they’re beautiful pencil-loving stores like CW Pencils out there that pull you in like graphite sirens.

And, it’s tough when you come across a video like this that shows you how pencils are made. The machinery is hypnotic and the color dyes beautiful. I may just need to crack out one of those long-neglected adult coloring books and reconnect with an old love.

A Week of Links

She may not be on the twenty dollar bill anytime soon, but at least more will learn Harriet Tubman’s story in film.

Intrigued by the 72-room home and study of photographer, Jay Maisel.

Cannot imagine any other ending to When Harry Met Sally.

Habits of lucky people.

Fascinating look at how hand-turned bowls are made.

I am now the proud and giddy owner of both the cat and dog matchbox sets.

How the work day of Americans has changed over the last 15 years.

A precisely quirky and delightful home.

A Japanese train filled with limbs of the Thousand-Armed Kannon.

Pinterest has introduced well-being features for users who seem stressed.

How It’s Made: Rubber Bands

When I was a kid, our class went on a field trip to a Wonder Bread factory. It was a truly joyous day where I learned how bread was made and got my very own souvenir slice of bread and pencil. I’m not so easily pleased these days but my fascination remains for how things are made.