Moving things inside

Aly Gulamhusein
3 min readNov 24, 2022

I never thought that making pens would become what it has for me. I can’t even tell you exactly how it started. I remember a conversation with my dad in February when I asked him about his experience with using a lathe in Karachi, Pakistan to cut marble. As if by magic, about a month later, I had my very own lathe and a beginner’s pen turning kit.

It was love at the first turn, as it were. My fear was infused with excitement. It was an experience like none I’ve had before. Every time I turn that lathe on, a buzz flows through me. I’m excited for the possibility of making something entirely unique.

Slowly, I’ve built up a little balcony-based workshop. I have a workbench and a whole bunch of tools, most of which are new to me. I’ve used epoxy resin, which I didn’t even know existed. I’ve worked with wood from all over the world. YouTube is now recommending an inordinate number of woodworking videos to me and I’m watching them.

Woodworking is a mesmerising rabbit hole. There’s a tool called a centre punch that’s only meant to put a small dent in the wood where you want to start drilling a hole. That’s its job. I have had to learn how to properly sand wood, sharpen tools, choose the appropriate type of glue, and choose what types of disposable towels are best. I’ve become more inclined to fix or build things instead of replacing or buying them new. My dad mentioned that he’s happy to see that I problem-solve more, whereas before I would just go buy a solution. It’s incredible.

Now that the temperatures outside are hovering around 0º C, I can’t stand outside and work. My ability to withstand the cold has declined in proportion to the length of time that I’ve lived in the big smoke. I’ve also been soft but now I’m turning into pudding. In any case, I moved things inside because I need to find “winter projects” to work on. There are a lot of different things that I want to try but I’m not sure what I’ll actually end up doing.

Here are some of the things that have floated through my head:

  • cardboard marble runs
  • wood boxes
  • cat toys
  • handmade paper
  • greeting cards
  • short stories
  • resin art
Aly Gulamhusein

Life is full of interesting events and experiences. Sharing stories about them helps breed a collective understanding of what we’re all doing. I’m into that.