Crayons and paper and pens — oh my!

Art Show - DSC 0035 ep
Image by Eric.Parker via Flickr

This week I did one of my favorite things ever.

I ordered personal stationery for myself, and another set for Jose and I, at Scriptura, a lovely shop in New Orleans where I last bought these things in 2004. Some stores are so perfect you can’t wait to go back, and this is one. You perch on a cane stool at a wide wooden table and their helpful staff spend as much time as you need — while the letterpress printer from 1906 clanks away in the back room.

Now that’s my kind of shopping: personal, attentive, quirky, historic and stylish!

Mine will be white cards with a lime green border, my name printed in a soft orange. Ours are kelly green (!) printed in navy blue. Total cost, just over $100. Score!

I stocked up in Chicago in November at Blick, a 101-year-old store that was totally intoxicating. I bought felt pens with brush tips, an art book, several great binders to hold my loose recipes.

There are such lovely papers to be found, everywhere I travel. Toronto has the Japanese Paper Place, Florence offers gorgeous marbled papers at Il Papiro and the art supply section at Paris’ BHV. Ooooh la la!

There are few things that make me so completely happy as knowing I have lots of gorgeous paper, pens, watercolor, pens, brushes, and my camera…beauty just waiting to explode out of my fingertips.

When we have dinner parties, I make individual place cards for everyone. At Christmas, I make and send out some of our own home-made cards as well. This year was a fun photo I took of Jose — who is not a huge hulking guy — carrying in our tree on his shoulder. Another year it was a photo he took of two canoes, one red, one green.

I grew up in a home full of creativity and feel bereft if I don’t have ready access to the tools of making stuff. My Dad paints, sculpts, works in silver, oil, etching, engraving….The only medium he doesn’t work in, ironically, is photography (although he was a film director for a living.)

We traveled across Canada by car the summer I was 15, sleeping in motels or our tent, and he filmed and I drew. I treasure my drawings from my travels as much as my photos: a temple in northern Thailand, a glass of Guinness in the Aran Islands, a sculpture in Paris, a courtyard in Queretaro.

Drawing, and painting, makes you sloooooow down and really look at whatever it is you are appreciating.

Here’s a fun New York Times story about one of my favorite art supply shops anywhere, Lee’s, on 57th. Street in Manhattan.

Do you love art supplies?

Have a great source to share?

9 thoughts on “Crayons and paper and pens — oh my!

  1. OMG I love stationery. And pens. And blank journals. I have a huge stack of blank journals that I just freaking love for the covers and the paper. I can’t sully them with my pen scratching, though…perhaps in the apocalypse, I’ll then be able to do so, because I’ll want to make a record of what happened in said apocalypse so some alien archaeologist can dig it up centuries later and think: “This is truly a primitive species. Look what they were still using! No WONDER they destroyed themselves!”

    1. What a hoot…Good to know I am not the only person with a fetish for paper and pens. Beautiful stationery is such a delicious and sensual and relatively affordable luxury. I love getting cards and sending them…and finding lovely notes from years past from my hubby and friends…

      I use journals for drawing, painting and making recipe books for friends. I also (!) have my daily life journals ages 22-27 or so. It’s going to be very, very weird to re-read them, but good material for the next memoir.

  2. Like Andi above, i’m a blank journal freak, that i am totally reluctant to write in because they are so perfect blank. Love them for the paper texture between my fingers, the binding, the covers, the smell of it all. Mmmmmmmmmmm….

    I don’t think i’d touch them even in an apocalypse. I’d be all “but this will be ONLY one left for future generations!”

  3. Caitlin – I adore art supply stores and while doing a wholesale show last Fall at the Essex House, I discovered Lee’s. I am crazy about that place – love the inspiration it provides, and could spend hours and many dollars there! For notes and journals I prefer the Claire Fontaine note pads with the spiral at the top (being left- handed, a spiral on the side is an obstruction…)

    1. Ooooh, I love how specific your taste is! But being a design person, of course it is!

      Lee’s is utterly addictive, isn’t it?

      I like Rhodia pads because I can tear off each page when necessary. Also because they remind me of France.

  4. Jackie Cangro

    There’s a lovely shop called Paper Presentation on 18th Street in Chelsea. It’s next door to the City Bakery. I enjoy seeing what new designs and styles they have.

    Also I’ve purchased handmade paper at Pearl River in Chinatown. Just the texture made me swoon. I could have framed it as artwork.

  5. The Japanese Paper Place in Toronto is just around the block from me! I’m a huge fan of water colours, pens, and brushes. There’s nothing like a beautiful blank piece of paper screaming with possibilities.

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