Stationery Fever

Stationery Fever: From Paper Clips to Pencils and Everything in Between by John Z. Komurki, edited by Angela Nicoletti and Luca Bendandi (Prestel, 2016)

Introduced by Phoebe Clare Rose of Bartrums in Hay-on-Wye

Stationery; you either get it or you don’t. There’s something about the perfectly sharpened pencil, or when you find that notebook that was seemingly made just for you.

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I work in the stationery shop in Hay, Bartrums, and when this book was shown to me, I knew it had to be on our shelves. It is 205 pages of stationery perfection covering all of the essentials: pencils, sharpeners, erasers, pens, notebooks, glue and post, school and office supplies. It documents the history of these stationery basics, covers iconic brands and shows beautiful shops from around the world that stock these wonderful items, from Choosing Keeping in London to Tampographe Sardon in Paris.

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Personally, I’m a big pencil fan. The book begins with a chapter covering the pencil, and opens by stating ‘the pencil is a microcosm…it is also a miracle of design’. It couldn’t be more right. It goes on to describe how pencils are made, accompanied by fantastic illustrations and images, and then delves into ‘legendary pencils’ and ‘special pencils’, including the famous Koh-I-Nor, the Blackwing, Faber’s green-painted Castell and the glorious Venus, amongst others. The book then makes reference to CW Pencil Enterprise, the pinnacle of the stationery pilgrimage – a shop in New York dedicated solely to the pencil. One day…

Putting my pencil fascination aside, each chapter of this book is as beautiful as the last. Even if you’re not completely mad about stationery (as some of us are), it’s a beautiful coffee table book and is a true delight to flick through.

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