well formed |1| A

I think it would be far to say that right now I am rather obsessed with calligraphy. I have always been envious of those with nice penmanship and am sad to admit that my everyday handwriting is not very good – at all. But I am hopeful that learning and practising calligraphy will see all aspects of my writing improve!

The first calligraphy course I took, a couple of years, ago focussed on the Italic hand. This proved a great starting place and taught me many of the fundamentals of calligraphy. This hand however did not inspire me greatly, (I don’t want to say it is boring but it is not particularly expressive), thus not a great amount of practise was done.

More recently, through the wonderful thing that is the internet I became aware of calligraphers using much more modern hands – that inspired me. That is how I would love to write. And so began a journey – a most enjoyable one! I find myself constantly wondering when I will have time to do some practise.

I have noticed that I am rather heavy handed. I will try other nibs to see if I can get finer upstrokes and keep practising!


hot off the press |1| blind impression initials

Hot off the press is an interesting expression. When I looked up the origin I found two suggestions – one that it refers to the hot molten lead that was used to print newspapers, the other that it also may have referred to the news of the newspaper itself that was striking / sensational.

Whilst we still use lead type for our letterpress printing it is years and years old so not in the least “hot”. The only thing that gets warm whilst we are printing is me  – the press operator! Treadling an old cast iron beast can be hard work!

Our boxed initialed cards with a blind / inkless impression have been flying out the door recently so we produced a whole lot more last week. Printed on luxurious 100% cotton card they are beautiful to pen a quick thank you or note on. We will be listing on our web store soon.


well equipped |1| adana 8×5 printing press

adanaMy adventure into the world of letterpress printing began with this little tabletop machine.

Having been captivated by letterpressed invitations whilst reading magazines from the US and Europe I set about founding out more about how such beautiful textured, almost three dimensional pieces were created.

Research online indicated that the Adana 8×5 was an ideal entry level press.

To my delight I discovered that one could still purchase a new/refurbished Adana from the UK. Quick smart money was sent and great anticipation for it’s arrival mounted.  More money was sent – (to NZ customs!) – but finally it arrived, along with type, brass rule, ink, quoins, reglet, furniture, lead spacing and all the things a beginner needed to get started in letterpress printing!

This little machine provided many a lesson, validated my love of letterpress and had me wanting more!!

new / noteworthy |1|

pinklamyLamy do limited edition “colour” releases of their Safari pens each year. This year  (2013) we have the neon yellow – which I cannot say I am much of a fan of, but we had to get our hands on some of the bright pink which they re-released due to popular demand. I must confess to having gone through a very pink phase several years ago – I still have pink golf clubs, complete with pink golf balls! As a friend says look good, feel good, play good. I think the same could be true of a pen – look good, feel good, write well! I’ll find any excuse for a new pen though!!

well, well, well

thefirstOThis is the inkwell that saw me start a collection – a now rather extensive collection! This one was given to me as a birthday gift by my parents. So I blame them for what has now become a slight obsession – at times a rather expensive obsession!

A road trip around New Zealand directly after receiving this gift turned into a fun search for antique shops along the way and thus the collection grew and grew and grew…

And yes, continues to grow!

Square was the most prevalent design/shape for the inkwells of desk units and writing boxes. This (square) has become the loose “theme” of my collection.

on the desk in … |1| red

It will be no surprise to those of you who know me that the first of our “On the desk in … ” colour series features red. Red is my favourite colour and many a red product arriving at the shop makes it way home with me!


1 – inkwell & blotter from a Campo Marzio calligraphy set.  2 – set of ten tags and twine.  3 – gift bags.  4 –  wooden nib holder in red.  5 – Arles refillable journal from Castelli.  6 – leather pencil case.  7 – Lamy ABC fountain pen.  8 – pen loop from Leuchtturm1917.  9 – Lamy bottled ink.  10 – journals from Quo Vadis.  11 – combination stylus & ballpoint pen from Online.

to the letter |1| A

With my growing interest in calligraphy I have found myself noticing interesting letterforms all around me. During a stroll around Devonport on a beautiful spring day Shop Dog and I saw many interesting A’s.



Anyone know which signs they are from?

through the looking glass |1|

Shop windowCreating displays for the shops front windows can be both great fun and a great challenge. Fun because we get to be creative but challenging as these displays are very important and can be the deciding factor for whether a customer enters the shop or not. I so understand why there is an entire profession dedicated to this art. If you’ve been watching the television series “Mr Selfridge” you’ll have no doubt noted the importance given to the their window displays. Our windows aren’t nearly as large as theirs so don’t be expecting motor vehicles or airplanes to be making an appearance. Well not full sized ones anyway!

Our current display is a most simple one but one which sums up what FitzgeraldTaylor encourages you to do – put pen to paper. Write a loved one a real paper letter, keep a journal, plan a project or a trip, sketch, draw….

BTW 2014 diaries are in store now.