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Posts Tagged ‘stationery’

01_june gloom

Here in the bay area, summertime weather has been with us for the last three months or so (which is how it happens everywhere else, but not usually here.) If you’ve lived in SF for any amount of time, you’re probably missing what we San Franciscans refer to as the “June Gloom.” I mean, holy moley! It’s been warm around here.

02_fogbelt

This year has been anything but typical.

03_outgoin g mail

I’ve been whirl-winding all around the place, and I promise I’ll write more about that in a (near) future blog post. Lots of great, fantastic, amazing things have been falling into place with Red Handed Rubber Stamps (as well as a handful of my other artistic endeavors) so there’s a bunch to report from that part of the Red Letter Day-O-Sphere.

04_RHR in prog

And since I mentioned rubber stamps just now, let me tell you this juicy tidbit of info: I’ll be sponsoring a table/creation station (alongside Neenah Paper) at this weekend’s Steamroller event at SFCB! WOWZA!!!

05_neenah paper

What does that mean? Stop by the “Capricious Correspondence Zone” and seek out everything you might need for your stationery, mail art, and letter writing needs! I’ll have Red Handed Rubber Stamps available for sale at the S.O.S (“Stamp your Own Stationery”) table, complete with a selection of “try before you buy” rubber. Neenah Paper is providing envelopes and paper; the only thing needed is your creativity and enthusiasm!

06_RHR read more

Other Correspondence Zone participants include Bell’occhio, who will be bringing a treasure trove of inks and calligraphy tools…

07_bellocchio_USE

…as well as Special Guest Billy Hutchinson, who (as you may know) is a fabulous calligrapher and truly dapper gent.

08_mr billy

Perhaps you’d like to shop other book-and-paper vendors? Gutwrench Press and Picky Pockets Press will be there, as well as other faves like Savior Faire Paper and Flax! It’s a day-long block party with plenty of fun and free things to see and do — truly a celebration of book arts, printing, and the community of people who help make it happen.

All that being said: I hope to see you there! 🙂

And a final bit of surprise: I’ll be previewing new rubber stamp designs for Late Summer 2015 — YIPPEE!!!

See you at Steamroller —

–JH

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SF public schools AND the watergate hotel: together at last!

SF public schools AND the watergate hotel: together at last!

This past weekend was filled with correspondence “shenanigans”, as a favorite friend of mine likes to call ’em. Saturday’s Co-op meeting was filled with lots of socializing and four new attendees! Passports were being stamped at the speed of light and artistamps were traded right and left…

you never forget your first passport...

you never forget your first passport…

On Sunday, Herr Baron and I spent some time galavanting around the city, searching in different nooks and crannies (and dusty garages!). He was on the lookout for old books and such; I (as always) was on the lookout for paper…

pink & black? LOVE. la dietrich? LOVE LOVE.

pink & black? LOVE. la dietrich? LOVE LOVE.

Herr B. stumbled across this tome, which was pretty fabby in it’s own right. But then he discovered this particular page:

"S" is for...

“S” is for…

What is my favorite part of this ABC entry? I think ALL OF IT is a completely appropriate response. Who knew that Marlene was one of us? I mean, the entry for “stationery store” takes up half a page — no small accomplishment, I’m sure. Look at “suet pudding” on the facing page; I give it three sentences at best.

A great way to start the week — that’s all I have to say! More goodies will be available at the RLD webstore on Friday.

In all things postal —

–JH

(edit, 07.30.13) : I’ve just updated the “Classes and Sightings” page of the blog, so be sure to take a look at what’s going on here in SF. August is FULL, if you’re into paper and stationery!

PS: The full quote above reads: “People who adore stationery stores are like dope addicts about paper clips, paper clamps, Gem clips, ring clips, bulldog clips, Magic Markers, china markers, felt-tip pens, Scotch tapes, Mystik tapes, masking tapes, varieties of pads, notebooks with spirals on top, notebooks with spirals on the side, short, long, wide, narrow, Paper devoted to erasers, paper — thick, stiff, hard, soft, rough, large, like canvas, surfaces like linen or pigskin. The addict buys feverishly all he needs and all he does not need and has absolutely no use for. He just cannot leave it in the store.

I remember buying the most beautiful pale blue legal paper, which felt like silken blotting paper, in a village stationery store in Haddonfield. I look at it once in a while and it definitely sends me.”

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what more do you need, really? (Basara Books, Kichijyoji)

what more do you need, really? (Basara Books, Kichijyoji)

After the first (fast) forty eight hours in Tokyo, my jet lag had receded to something resembling an old friend, a gentle reminder at odd times throughout the day. Why was I craving a cup of coffee at midnight? Or dinner at six a.m.? Blame it on the jet lag. But I was quickly getting into a daily routine, which helps even out the ups-and-downs.

at Basara, I found a couple of items used, that I'd thought about buying at Kinokuniya the day before -- SCORE!

at Basara, I found a couple of items used, that I’d thought about buying at Kinokuniya the day before — SCORE!

On Friday, it seemed like a good idea to head out to the suburb of Mitaka, a 30 minute train ride from Shinjuku Station. Some of you may be familiar with Mitaka: the Studio Ghibli Museum is located in this neighborhood. Having visited the Ghibli Museum on a previous trip (it’s amazing), this time I was on the prowl for stationery.

this is where my downfall started...

this is where my downfall started…

After reading about Yamada Stationery in one of those swoon-inducing Japanese office supply mags, I knew I had to see it for myself. And I wasn’t disappointed. It was every bit as delightful as I had hoped:

kokeshi-themed stationery and accessories...

kokeshi-themed stationery and accessories…

yep -- it's everything you want it to be...

yep — it’s everything you want it to be…

Entering through a small café, I found myself standing in the middle of the store, surrounded by wooden tables and shelves. Vintage glassine envelopes, unusual washi tapes, and sheets of airmail stickers were displayed in old racks and printer’s trays. Poking around in each tray and drawer yielded another discovery. I thought I’d faint, I was so happy.

like little kittens, I wanted to take each item home in my suitcase...

like little kittens, I wanted to take each item home in my suitcase…

It was hard, prying myself away from such a heavenly spot. But I had my eye on another store, just a fast train stop away: 36 Sublo.

I walked right on by, the first time...

I walked right on by, the first time…

Unfortunately, the shop staff wouldn’t allow a photo of the inside of their space. But you’ll just have to trust me when I say that it was another jewel-sized store, filled with a wonderous assortment of items I’d never seen before: German drafting supplies, letterpress greeting cards (there’s a renaissance of letterpress happening in Japan right now), glass jars filled with things like paper clips or erasers.

(photo via the 36 Sublo website)

(photo via the 36 Sublo website)

(photo via the 36 Sublo website)

(photo via the 36 Sublo website)

More than three people in the space? Things get pretty crowded. I shopped a little bit more (they had a few things that Yamada had, for less money), then made my purchases. Walking back to the train station, it was time to head to Jinbōchō – Tokyo’s famous “used book town”.

not every bookstore in Jinbōchō looks like this old-timer...

not every bookstore in Jinbōchō looks like this old-timer…

So. There’s something to keep in mind here, when you visit this particular neighborhood: well over a hundred used and new bookstores are at your disposal. That may not seem particularly daunting, but I’m here to tell you: that’s a lot of books. Most stores deal in primarily Japanese language books (with a few foreign language stores thrown into the mix). Visiting Jinbōchō is easily an all-day undertaking, should you want to wander and discover.

classics from the 1920's...

classic volumes, lovingly printed and bound…

I did find a few treasures (including a “free box” of books on the sidewalk) here and there. Mainly, the fun was in roaming the side streets and bookstalls, browsing. I was reminded that used bookstores share similarities, no matter where one is in the world: the smell of old paper, a gentle whisper of turning pages, the weight and feel  of a volume as you remove it from the shelf.

price tags (cost per set)...

price tags (cost per set)…

Time passed quickly in this neighborhood where, inside each bookstore, it feels as if time is standing still. My stomach (or was it the jet lag?) was telling me that it was time to eat, rest up a little bit for the evening to come.

I made my way back to Shinjuku, already planning tomorrow’s rambles.

–JH

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this is about the size and space of my studio in SF!

this is about the size and space of my studio in SF…

Hello RLD readers!

I’ve returned from my stationery safari in the far-away wilds of Tokyo, and am happy to report that pen, paper, and ink are alive and well. On this particular trip, I was able to spend time at some of my favorite usual haunts, (Seikaido, Yuzawaya, Tokyu Hands) as well as visit some new hideouts (Yamada Stationery, 36 Sublo).

...although the seats aren't as comfortable.

…although the seats aren’t as comfortable.

Let’s face it: flying economy class isn’t as glamorous as flying first class. However, on this flight, I managed to have a middle seat all to myself, so I could spread out and work on projects for the entirety of the 11 hour flight – that felt pretty first class!

ahh, shinjuku...

ahh, shinjuku…

Once you get through the hustle and bustle of Narita customs and all, it takes awhile to get into Tokyo proper (about an hour and a half.) By the time I made it to Shinjuku, the evening lights of the neighborhood were going strong. Under the main train tracks, Yakitori and ramen stalls were in full swing; everything smelled delicious and wonderful and exactly as I remembered it.

so beautiful! so round!

so beautiful! so round!

But a girl’s gotta stay awake those first few hours in town, no matter how badly she wants to go to sleep! (this is the best way, trust me…) So it was off to a handful of within-walking-distance train stations, to look for “eki stamps” (駅のスタンプ) – large sized rubber stamps which reside at Tokyo Metro stations.

don't forget! bring your own ink pad...

don’t forget! bring your own ink pad…

Like a scavenger hunt for people like us, these rubber stamps are often hidden out of the way near a ticket booth or the exit gates. You can stamp in specially designed Tokyo Metro collector books or (if you’re like me) you bring along sheets of paper which later become postcards which you send to your friends! Here’s a tip: I always have an ink pad with me, because the “public” ink pads are usually pretty dried up.

i couldn't resist the rabbit...

i couldn’t resist the rabbit…

More walking, picking up a snack from the convenience store and heading back to the hotel. I was noticing a lot more sticker slapping this trip: all types and kinds of stickers by global graffiti artists appeared on the sides of vending machines, tunneled walkways, posts and poles.

this looks like a dream-state board game, in which all the rules are made up as one goes along...

this looks like a dream-state board game, in which all the rules are made up as one goes along…

And as always: beautifully arranged items, on display in alcoves and alleys. These are labels from saké bottles…

I made it back to the hotel and immediately fell asleep, dreaming of all the bento lunches and ink pens I was sure to discover during the next few days.

OMG! OMG! OMG!

OMG! OMG! OMG!

(of course! I passed a cat café the next morning – you too can have a pet for a few hours…)

Upcoming: strolling through Jinbocho (used book town), mail art at Tokyo’s postal museum, and riffling through vintage envelopes at 36 Sublo – stay tuned!

–JH

to read more about Japanese rubber stamp/hanko culture, take a look at Densha de Japan‘s write up…

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Although I’ve been back in SF for a couple weeks now, I can’t stop thinking about the highlights of my trip. Tokyo is a city that constantly inspires — around every corner is a different shop to be discovered, someone to meet, another neighborhood to explore. Unlike any other city I’ve traveled in, Tokyo has a certain aura around it — call it synchronicity, or fate, or what have you. I always end up falling into things (art shows, openings, mail art shenanigans) in a way that never seems to happen anywhere else.

you are here!

you are here!

So when I first read about the store SCOS (short for “small circle of stationery”) in Tokyo’s Hongo neighborhood, I knew I’d visit one day, although it took me one or two trips to actually make it to the store. Down a long road, past a McDonald’s and a police station, and then turn left (got lost the first time I tried to find it…). Half a block down a tiny side street, a bright yellow bucket cheerfully props up a chalkboard sign sporting a drawing of an envelope. You must be in the right place.

boxes of pens!

boxes of pens!

As you walk through the sliding glass door, you cannot help but be charmed and overwhelmed to the point of swoony-ness. Turn, close the door behind you (don’t want that air conditioning to escape!), and you are now sealed inside a forest of stationery delights. There is a riot of color which cannot be tamed. Paper goodies are jam-packed on shelves, hidden away underneath boxes, placed on every available horizontal surface.

stripes and dots...what's not to love?

stripes and dots...what's not to love?

SCOS has a great variety of items, mostly of the European (German) variety. This gent is a fave:

this man wants to hold your pen...

he wants to hold your pen...

This summer, I’ve been on a search for Italian airmail envelopes – sort of hard-to-find, as it turns out. An Italy-bound friend went hunting for me, but didn’t have any luck. However, SCOS pulled through!

I want to take you ALL home...

I want to take you ALL home...

Of course I couldn’t leave empty handed. Between the airmail envelopes and then some disposable fountain pens and don’t forget that decorative Czech tape…well, I just had to have it all. Store manager Eiji Teramura wrapped up my purchases in a funny German bag used for carrying bread, topping the whole thing off with a vintage ticket that had the SCOS logo (a rabbit in a vest!) on it. Exclaiming over the general adorable-ness of it all, I asked if it would be alright to take some photos. Eiji graciously agreed.

inside SCOS, from the back of the store...

inside SCOS, from the back of the store...

This is the sort of store that “people like us” want to linger in forever; you wish that you could roll out a little cot at the end of the work day and sleep surrounded by rolls of packing tape and pencil cases. Since the staff might be weirded out by that, I’ll have to be satisfied with yearly trips to visit. I’m thinking about it like this: it will be like visiting a beloved relative who lives far, far away — a treat that is savored and looked forward to, with lots of letters and postcards exchanged in between visits.

I'll have two of these, and one of those, and oh -- how about a handful of...

I'll have two of these, and one of those, and oh -- how about a handful of...

That’s all of my stories for today; I have a few more Tokyo things/stores to tell you about; then we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming — I promise!

–JH

PS: many many MANY thanks to those of you who have been writing/emailing in and telling me that you’re enjoying the RLD blog! It’s great to know that folks are following along and equally passionate about all things postal. YAY for all of you!

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