This week our Head of Culture @kattowers finds beauty in everyday objects.
My obsession with stationery started after my first school summer holiday. Mum took me to WHSmiths to choose a pencil case to start the new September term. I was hooked, and from thereon it was the only thing that would ease my back-to-school fear. I always bought a soft case, tins were never big enough for my collection and I didn’t like how scruffy they got halfway through the term when you’d dropped them a few times.
There’s definitely an element of nostalgia around stationery for me, but I suppose now it’s less about function (with my job being mainly computer or mobile based) and more about appreciating the beauty in these every day, simple things.
If you’re stuck for a gift or want to make a statement at your workplace with a perfectly curated set of tools, then check out my three favourite stationery shops:
1) Present and Correct
What began as a cult online store selling expertly curated stationery from around the world, is now a brick and mortar shop in Clerkenwell. The name refers to the saying used in schools when a headcount has been completed - a nod to graphic designer and owner Neal Whittington's sources of inspiration - school supplies.
There’s a distinct graphic look to the store and displays, mixing new and old, and which has generated a strong social media following for the brand. Vintage discoveries sell very well, sourced on frequent travels to various European markets, from collectors, and dead stock collections.
Visit them at 23 Arlington Way, London, EC1R 1UY.
Papersmiths was founded by duo Sidonie and Kyke, co-founders of design studio, Studio B. They relocated to Bristol in 2012 where they decided to split their space into two - one-half design studio and one-half Papersmiths. But it’s this top-to-bottom tiled space in Boxpark that always catches my eye.
I can’t be the only person who gets excited by greetings cards - you won’t be disappointed by the selection in this pastel pink palace. Beyond the cards, you’ll find a cool mix of unique stationery and homeware.
Visit them at Unit 7, Boxpark, 2-10 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, London, E1 6GY.
3) Choosing Keeping
There's no other place in the world quite like Choosing Keeping. Nestled amongst the other indies on Columbia Road (famous for its flower market), Choosing Keeping is a treasure trove of stationery - from Italian scissors and British paper clips to Finnish crayons and German glue.
The one thing that sets Choosing Keeping apart from other stationery stores is its incredible selection of hand printed marbled papers which they make themselves, meaning no two pieces are the same.
If Choosing Keeping takes your fancy, make sure you pop by on a Sunday so that you can experience the flower market in all its glory too.
Visit them at 128 Columbia Road, London, E2 7RG.