Lithia artist creates custom pens from recycled materials

- What started out as a hobby turned into a career for Jason Olson, whose artwork is also functional.

Olson said he loved his job as a salesman, but part of his daily routine became a passion.

"I always had to have a good pen," he recalled.

So he started making pens, first as show pieces for his clients.

"I figured, if I could make my own and not have to go out and spend big bucks on them, I will come out ahead," Olsen said.

The pens were more than a hit, and each one has a unique story to tell.

"There is always something behind that pen that goes back in history, or has some interesting tidbit about how it was made or why it looks the way it does," Olsen explained.

Today, he makes all kinds of pens: roller ball, ballpoint and fountain pens. Each has a different look and finish and is made from re purposed materials.

"One of the most interesting that I have material for is the U.S.S. Missouri from World War II," Olsen said.

He gives each pen a name and tells its story on his website. The Tennesseeian, a ballpoint pen, is cut from used Jack Daniels barrels. The Majestic Swarovski Black Ebony, a fountain pen, is largest pen in Olsen’s collection.  It features a Swarovski crystal in the clip and is wrapped in Gabon Black Ebony. The Bolt Action Marksmen, a ballpoint pen, represents a .30 caliber shell, is wrapped in white tail deer antler, and features a rifle scope.

Olsen said he hopes one day he can make his spectacular pens full time.

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