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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

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How to sharpen pencils

9 minutes

A deadpan treatise on the craft of pencil-sharpening from a master artisan

‘A lot of people think they know how to sharpen pencils, but… they don’t.’ Such is the view of David Rees, an artisan pencil-sharpener who’s sharpened some 1,500 No 2 pencils for paying customers. With deadpan humour and shrewd insight, Rees talks the audience through a step-by-step guide to achieving the perfect pencil point, while giving a brief history of the modern pencil and pencil-sharpening tools. Using the undeniably charismatic Rees as his subject, Kenneth Price’s film is a light reflection on the inherent value of care and precision. It’s also a biting send-up of the plethora of portraits proliferating in our artisan-obsessed times.

Director: Kenneth Price


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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Support Aeon

Essay/
Future of Technology
Do platforms work?

The distributed network has gobbled the hierarchical firm. Only by seizing the platform can workers avoid digital serfdom

George Zarkadakis

Essay/
Future of Technology
Fuelling the future

Fantasies about new power sources for human ambitions go back a century or more. Could these past visions energise our own future?

Iwan Rhys Morus