For the last few months, I keep having a recurring dream; there’s something which settles in the the back of my brain, and comes to light when I find myself daydreaming. “Wouldn’t it be great if there were a place in SF where I could browse artisan zines, sift through vintage pencils, peruse an interesting collection of secondhand books, and mull over fancy paper? Wouldn’t that be great?! Wouldn’t it?”
After being jolted back to reality, I’m left to wonder why such a spot doesn’t quite exist in this city, when I can find nearly everything else of paper obsessed girl would need.
And yet: two weeks ago, I was informed that my dream had come true. “You should really check out this cool new place,” a mail art friend of mine said. “They’re pretty new, but I think they’re right up your alley. Plus, they’re hosting a party for Esophus magazine — you know, that new Ray Johnson issue.”
And so I found myself in front of Press: Works on Paper, harboring a sense of deja vu that so often happens here in SF. I realized this was the store I’d been daydreaming about.
Press: Works on Paper is the brainchild of Nick Sarno and Paulina Nassar. In their own words: “We love paper and books, with an emphasis on works published by small presses, as well as vintage books/out of print/hard to find titles…our focus is design, beauty, use and uselessness. we can’t hope to save an art form that is quickly becoming irrelevant — rather, we hope to celebrate its irrelevance and the creative freedom it brings.”
These are my people.
The minute I step inside, it feels as if I’ve entered a good friend’s studio space: the shelves are chock full of vintage office supplies and bookbinding tools! A smattering of artists’ books and small press titles fill tables in the center of the room; classic (yet thoroughly modern) Japanese decorative papers and a wide range of secondhand art/design books fill out the rest of the store.
Perhaps you’re looking for the perfect gift for a hard-to-buy-for friend? Or maybe (’tis the season) a cool, “this isn’t your usual wedding gift” wedding gift? Press:Works on Paper has something for every occasion, and guess what? You can shop via their blog as well.
Some of my favorite items on offer at this very moment:
—a deck of national flag playing cards (two of my obsessions — playing cards AND flags — put together to form one completely awesome item!)
—a turquiose blue “Sterling” model Smith Corona typewriter (portable — comes with the original case! Take it home today, start typing letters by tonight…)
–a reprint of “7 Concrete Poems” (originally by d.a.levy, reprinted by Jon Beacham/The Brother In Elysium Press; I purchased two copies, I love it that much.)
(things I won’t mention: the old school tape dispensers, a bookmark shaped like a giant paperclip, or the hand-crank paper shredder from Japan; you’ll have to find those on their blog…)
Press:Works on Paper will be offering a range of bookbinding classes by the end of summer (if not sooner) — a welcome addition to the store, and a perfect fit. Of San Francisco’s love of all things paper-ish, Paulina says: “This is a place where everyone has to have the latest digital device … but people also want to make their own books and paper, to put a personal stamp on their lives. We see this as a natural response to the changing world and especially to the role of print communication.” (via Tom Biederbeck, Felt and Wire)
Recently reviewed by Daily Candy, Press: Works on Paper joins the ranks of local faves like Rare Device and Bell’occhio — a store filled with fantastically curated items, all top-notch and beautiful. If you’re anything like me, your first visit to “pick up a gift for someone else” will turn into a nonstop shopping trip of personal gratification! And really, why should you deny yourself? A store filled with this much awesome is impossible to resist.
Have fun and let me know what you think! 🙂
Press: Works on Paper is located in what I like to call the “pocket” between Noe Valley and Valencia Street: 3492 22nd St at Dolores St.
You can visit their website at: pressworksonpaper.com