The person behind the Pencil is Pamela Keech (me), a midwest girl from Elyria, Ohio, an old rust belt town a little to the left of Cleveland. I went to the University of Kentucky then wandered around for awhile. I went to The Ohio State University, then wandered some more. Eventually I reached New York City where I found love on the Upper West Side and the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side. I have been Curator of Furnishings for 24 years. I help tell the stories of immigrant families who once lived in the museum's tenement buildings by recreating their homes. I am an expert on finding things that most people would throw away— on prowling flea markets and antique shops for worn furniture, tattered clothing, and chipped dishes. I also make art that includes the same sorts of things. In December, 2017 The New Yorker published an article about one of my shopping trips.
I have written three books about shopping, all published by The Little Bookroom.