My stationery obsession began very early on. There was a brilliant book shop, ‘The Book Boat’, which was moored on the Thames in Greenwich and it sold gorgeous stationery. I saved my pocket money and when I had enough I would go there and choose a new letter writing set, or note book.As a teenager, my favoured place became ‘Bright Ideas’ in Lewes, where I would amble on family holidays. There they had collections of ring binders, pencils in boxes, different sized notebooks all in the same print. My favourite was brightly coloured flowers on a black background, that I am reminded of now by some of Rifle Paper's beautiful designs. Although the pencils and notebooks were long since finished, I had the ring binder into my twenties and continued to love it until it collapsed under weight of use.
Why do we love stationery so much? A lovely lady said to me while lusting over OLA in Wallow, that she had a drawer full of unused notebooks and once she used them she didn’t like them as much anymore, but it didn't stop her from buying more. I understand that feeling… when you first put pen to paper, the tingling excitement and then dismay if your handwriting doesn’t quite flow as beautifully as you’d hoped. But I also love finishing a notebook, the feeling of completion and anticipation for the next.
I came across OLA Studio before I opened Wallow and fell in love at once. The paper has the perfect thickness that you can write freely on both sides, but not so thick that you feel guilty about the waste. The geometric designs reflect the functionality of the books as well as inspiring flow of words and crucially, they look beautiful on any desk. They also do a plain covered one, with a gold foil design on the binding: these look amazing when stacked together and in three colours, they are prefect for organising different projects. They are made in England, using traditional techniques.
Another exciting discovery was Katie Leamon, designer of greeting cards, note cards, luxury notebooks, wrap and other stationery delights. I have always loved typography and hers is gorgeous, black handprinted on white notecards, or in gold foil on notebooks. She has some striking designs too, like her bumble bee, traditional postbox or typewriter. Her notebooks are sophisticated and stylish and a lovely size: large, but thin so easily carried with you and easy to write across both pages. All her pieces are proudly made in England too.
Rifle Paper Company I have long admired and recently started selling in my shop and now online. A husband and wife team, they originally designed from their flat in Florida, but soon outgrew the space and are now an international brand. They use bright and detailed artwork across their range, which is uplifting, bold and chic.
What OLA, Katie Leamon and Rifle Paper all share is a desire to produce special creations, of superior quality; functional but artistic; stationery to be cherished and enjoyed. I would also like to mention the Flow Book for Paper Lovers that I came across in my wonderful local bookshop, Much Ado Books (muchadobooks.com). Featuring many different designers it is a gorgeously hefty tome of beautiful illustrations, differing paper styles and types, serrated notepaper, cards, stickers and surprises. If you love stationery you will love this and I thoroughly recommend you seek it out (www.flowmagazine.com).
It is so much more satisfying to write notes in bound paper, than typing on a keyboard; so much more exciting to post a note card in a letter box than ping off an email; so much more fun to organise your life by hand with highlighters, tick boxes, pretty paper and coloured pens than any notes program a computer or tablet can offer.