I've been a stationery addict since I was just a little kid. I remember the first time I felt that thrilling rush that girls can get while shopping, the one that the whole consumerism movement depends upon exploiting. I was seven years old and in a newsagency/bookshop, surrounded by books and notepads, pens, pencils, rulers and rubber erasers in such an astounding variety of shapes and styles that I marvelled that anyone could come up with the idea to make all these things into colourful little rubbers. Shining accessories were lined up in neat categories, each item defined by its little perspex slot. I can remember the absolutely rapt fascination with which I regarded my first-ever start-of-school-year supplies, aged four. I don't remember ever feeling so deeply about any toys or dolls. It was books, and paper and scissors, and tape and glue and suchlike, that inspired my early explorations of the properties of the physical world.
I can still become overwhelmed by such feelings if let loose in places like Officeworks or those funky Scandinavian stationery stores. So when I began to fully embrace the Buy Nothing New movement as a lifestyle a couple of years ago, I wasn't sure that I could pull it off when it came to stationery. I do have to have things to write on or in, and it's not like paper is something that one can re-use directly. I wasn't prepared to start pulping and moulding my own recycled paper, and I didn't think of stationery as being the sort of thing that was usually found in op shops. Now I think I just mustn't have been looking with the right eyes, because once I decided to look for and hoard any second-hand stationery I came across, a whole new world opened up. Every now and then I come across a section or a pile in an op shop where it looks like someone has cleaned out that part of their desk drawer. Just look at some of the incredible stuff I've collected.
Boxed sets, apparently untouched.
I think I gasped when I discovered these gorgeous ladies. How long has it been since people have been making stuff like this?
And inside the folders, writing sets that just make you want to write letters. And address and stamp them. That's the really fun part.
I SO remember this 'fashion' chick from the 80's. And that clown in the black cap - that was actually the motif theme of my bedroom when I was ten years old.
And, yes, we'll look inside...
"#%*!@*something unintelligible but clearly very funny#*&@$!*"...
This handmade paper writing set is of exquisitely fine quality. Delicious.
The text on these Korean envelopes reads - All by myself, don't wanna be all by myself... I can't help but think of Bridget Jones alone on her couch on New Year's Eve.
I would have bought this gorgeous paper wallet regardless of the contents - which was some very fine, plain stationery.
Random little pieces, from a diverse range of sources, some clearly homemade on closer inspection.
And envelopes! Really, who bothers to print the inside of envelopes any more... and envelopes lined with tissue paper! Oh my, the decadence!
These cards feature artworks - top, "MEMORIES" by F. Botha, and left, "SCARLET" by N. Grob - that were painted with the mouth, and came with these unusual envelopes - very plain and utilitarian from the front, with postcode squares marked, and then this asymmetrical scalloped detail on the back flap.
Sweet, retro strawberries...
Plenty of daggy or plain notebooks and exercise books for day-to-day domestic journalling, my list-making and attempts at organisation and such, or for 'morning pages' ramblings of the kind that Julia Cameron encourages. Some are still new in their plastic wrappers; some of them have been used halfway and the pages torn out before giving them to an op shop.
My mum found this adorable, and unused, little Beatrix Potter notebook. Each page features a small illustration and a quote. This frog looks comfy - '...he lives in a little damp house.'
This one features not only a very stylish magpie illustration by Antonia Pesenti on the front cover, but also blank pages inside. 'Unlined' is a highly-prized quality among op-shopped stationery.
I started to think that maybe I could cross trips to Officeworks off my list of things to do... but now I've run out of black pens. And no, I really don't like to write with coloured pens. Ah, the next dilemma...