Top-drawer stationery supplies

Pens, pencils and planners to elevate the home office – and where to buy them online

Stationery from Papier
Stationery from Papier

Papier 

“Nothing feels better than pen on paper.” Many, I imagine, would beg to differ, but 32-year-old Taymoor Atighetchi stands by his soundbite. “Yes, I fundamentally believe that,” asserts the Cambridge art history graduate, who founded stationery startup Papier in 2015. “Our mission is to dream up and deliver design-led paper products,” adds Atighetchi, who counts the V&A, fashion brand Mother of Pearl, interiors wunderkind Matilda Goad and Gucci-endorsed illustrator Fee Greening among his collaborators. Papier’s approach is fun and fast – with personalised writing sets and foil-embossed notebooks delivered within five days. Its paper is sustainably sourced, the majority of it from Mohawk, a paper maker founded in 1931 in New York state that uses sustainable pulp and runs its mills with wind power. VICTORIA WOODCOCK papier.com

Onishi Seisakusho fountain pen from Choosing Keeping
Onishi Seisakusho fountain pen from Choosing Keeping

Choosing Keeping

Julia Jeuvell’s collection of writing equipment and stationery supplies is more than the sum of its parts. Desk accessories are elevated to objets d’art, from pencils to tape dispensers. The exquisite fountain pens (£145) by Japanese master Onishi Seisakusho – in Jeuvell’s words, “the last man standing in what was once a booming industry in Osaka” – are hand-turned in marbled, flecked or tortoiseshell celluloid. Less rare but equally appealing are writing instruments by German company Kaweco, ranging from a 1934-designed, heavily weighted brass Sport mechanical pencil (£60) to a retro-look Student rollerball (£62) in ivory and coral-coloured acrylic. There are Caran d’Ache sharpening machines (£150) and stylish staplers (from £25) by 96-year-old Italian brand Zenith. MARC ABBOTT choosingkeeping.com

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Mark+Fold

“I wanted to create something grown-up and stylish: the Margaret Howell of notebooks,” says former book designer Amy Cooper-Wright, who launched Mark+Fold in 2015. Her minimal aesthetic has seen her work with Connolly, Bamford and Another Country. “We’ve decided to do just one thing -– and do it really damn well.” This means notebooks (from £28) with ultra-fine papers (plain, lined and grid-dot) that are celebrated by fountain-pen enthusiasts; section-sewn binding done in Belgium using cold glue –“essential to ensure the book opens completely flat and doesn’t make that creaking noise” – and notebook covers crafted in collaboration with Doe Leather in Walsall. All are created in small batches and numbered accordingly. Smart gift boxes (from £22) add Blackwing pencils, solid brass paperclips and aesthetic erasers into the mix. VICTORIA WOODCOCK markandfold.com 

Stationery from Mark+Fold
Stationery from Mark+Fold | Image: Peter Schiazza

Blackwing

The Blackwing 602 is something of an über-pencil. It is said the author John Steinbeck started each day with the ritual of sharpening 24 Blackwing 602s; in 1948, animator Chuck Jones created Road Runner and Wile E Coyote with a 602 in hand; and Shamus Culhane, lead animator of Disney’s 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, was buried with his. The appeal of the Blackwing 602 (£29.95 for 12) is its tactile, lacquered-cedarwood body and soft Japanese graphite core – which does indeed require regular sharpening to maintain a keen point. Another draw is the eraser, which is replaceable and available in 11 colours (£4.50 for 10). The pencil even comes as the limited edition, glow-in-the-dark 811 version ($27.95 for 12), inspired by a Maya Angelou speech in which she described libraries as a “rainbow in the clouds”, so that “in the worst of times, in the meanest of times, in the dreariest of times, there is a possibility of seeing hope”. blackwing602.comchoosingkeeping.comlondongraphics.co.uk

Pencils from CW Pencil Enterprise
Pencils from CW Pencil Enterprise | Image: Dorothy Hong

CW Pencil Enterprise

“Amateur pencil collector” Caroline Weaver launched CW Pencil Enterprise online in November 2014 and has since turned her obsession into a niche New York store. She stocks over 250 pencil varieties, all neatly displayed in glass jars and labelled by country of origin. From Japan, for example, there is the thick, triangular Kitaboshi ($1.20) and the dark-graphite Mitsubishi Hi-Uni ($2.50), “the holy grail of Japanese pencils that writes like a dream”. Among the store’s more unusual offerings are the Portuguese Viarco pencils ($10) scented with indigenous floral notes – lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, peony and fig leaf. Weaver is almost as serious about sharpeners – “never electric; I prefer small, sculptural ones” – as she is about pencils, with some boasting “intricate internal mechanisms, not unlike a fine watch”. CHRISTINA OHLY EVANS cwpencils.com

Stationery from The Completist
Stationery from The Completist

The Completist

Organising a work-from-home schedule need not be dull – in the hands of Peckham-based stationery maker The Completist it’s a vibrant business. All notebooks and planners (from £3.50) are made by a UK family-run music book-maker. The inside sheets are made from music sheet paper; the covers are textured 250gsm GF Smith card printed in the eye-popping patterns that have led to commissions for establishments such as The Hoxton hotel, and stockists including Selfridges. VICTORIA WOODCOCK the-completist.com

Kaweco fountain pen
Kaweco fountain pen | Image: Andy Barter

Kaweco fountain pen

There are few pleasures so immediate as writing with a good fountain pen. Kaweco created the diminutive Classic Sport (£58) in 1935 and it has been crowned a design gem in the decades since. The nib is a delight to write with and the oversized octagonal cap swallows the pen’s body when closed so it fits neatly into a pocket; when added to the barrel, it creates a full-length pen. The AL Sport version comes in lightweight, hand-finished aluminium. SIMON CROMPTON cultpens.com

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