I'm not a big shopper but I really love looking for and buying art materials and supplies. Nothing beats finding a specialist store that sells a vast array of any one subject matter, I feel giddy with excitement and awestruck by the choice. Most the time I don’t even need anything but I’ll never leave empty handed as I like to own these materials, just in case. Your never know when you may need an extra special bit of trimming, beautiful piece of handmade paper or unusual type of ruler. My dream list of stores on a single street would be this:
A place for paper and bookbinding lovers. I can while aways hours looking through their numerous folders packed full of fabulous paper samples. Of course, I have bought a lot of paper here that is far to good to use for anything but to have on display to look pretty.
Barnett & Lawson, London
For all the trimmings, tassels and ribbons you may ever need! This place has been around for years and is packed high with all types of haberdashery accessories. Based in central London, just of oxford street, it's a little hidden away but don’t be shy to visit as the staff as very helpful and friendly.
This place was a godsend for when we exhibited in Paris. It’s a large department store but with a basement full stuff; hardware, tools, leather, light fittings, rope - perfect for any DIY project. It's since helped us out on many occasion when we’ve needed extra supplied for setting up a show.
William Stout Architectural books, San Francisco
I stumbled across this bookshop when I was exploring the city in a quick two day visit. Whilst browsing, I opened a book titled Cardboard Design Now only to find our a double page spread of PostCarden, the first product I designed. It was a lovely surprise as it was the first book my work had been published in so I have very fond memories of this store. The walls are stacked high with books on design, architecture, art and interiors to include out of print titles. An amazing store that I wish was closer to home.
New York Central Art Shop, New York
I used to make a pit stop here every year when we exhibited at New York trade shows and would stock up on coloured masking tape. Over the year I wouldn’t actually use the masking tape, it was too special, too exclusive….but finally the abundance of coloured tape sailed the atlantic and is now widely available in London. I don’t buy it anymore, the novelty has worn off. On writing this post I learnt the original store closed last year - so sad as it had been there since 1905! The good news is it's relocated and is still open offering the same vast art supplies.
Tokyo Hands, Tokyo
BEST.SHOP.EVER. I would move to Tokyo just to be near this store. On my first visit I was massively jet legged and couldn’t quite deal with how much much stuff there was. Each floor (some stores have ten floors) is dedicated to a theme. Find the craft section. OMG. Need a ruler? They have 100 types. Piece of acrylic? Sure, every colour and shape you could ask for. Pens? Plant brushes? The choice is endless. I got lost in the incense area for an hour - once you start smelling one you have to try them all. I bought home about 12 packs which were great gifts so the time didn't feel wasted.