Tag Archives: supplies

User, Collector, or Stockpiler Part 2

The last post was about how do stationery users really get to a point where they stockpile, basically the journey from simple user of an item to stockpiler. To boil that down, the group consensus was that people were searching for the perfect pencil/pen/notebook/sketchbook. In that search some people had the rug yanked out from under them and their favorite item disappeared, which seemed to directly correlate to instances of stockpiling. I think that it is important for me to state here that in these posts I do not intend to speak for “all” stationery nerds, but rather I’m combining my experience with an informal conversation that was had on a Facebook group. I’m writing this, or compiling this information because I find it fascinating and I suspect that others might as well.

The second important aspect was how people defined themselves- as users, collectors, a combination of the two or stockpilers*. Some people see themselves as pure users of their purchases. Most of these people seem to keep a small stockpile of their favorite items on hand. While other users call themselves user-stockpilers and they keep large quantities of their favorite items on hand. This seems to relate back to having difficulty finding their favorite items due to scarcity or manufacturer discontinuing the product, that the item is vintage, or that the manufacturer changed the product.

The last two items on that list- discontinued products and manufacturer changes seem to take people down the path of stockpiling favorite items. This can also lead to the other end of the spectrum- collecting. Collecting doesn’t preclude using but it is an interesting subset of stationery users. I must admit that I do have a small collection of pencils. One of each pencil that arrives in my home goes into a pencil case. Interesting to me is that collectors range from wanting one of everything that interests them to people who collect pencils in packages or great quantities of particular pencils that interest them. I think that the whole collecting side of the stationery world could be (possibly should be) a post in and of itself.

Here is where I make an admission. I wanted to be a collector, but I’m simply not. I really like using my various pocket notebooks, pencils and pens. I have a Danitrio Cumlaude pen that I’ve been on the fence of selling. Though it is a beautiful piece of celluloid that I adore looking at I don’t use it. It’s got the most buttery smooth nib but I don’t use it. I don’t use it because I’m rough on my tools and I’m deathly afraid that I’ll break it. So it sits in a lonely drawer, never being used. That bugs me. I want to use all my tools. I chew through pocket notebooks at the rate of roughly 1 every 2 to 3 weeks and I destroy pencils when I draw and I use them pretty quickly when I’m writing too. I take delight in using my more “collectable” Field Notes**, sometimes as coasters. I’ve got a whole post about how I came to the conclusion that I’m a user not a collector, so this isn’t the place for that story, but the reality is I’m not a collector.

It seems that most collectors use some of their stockpile but never the collection. This is another point of difference between collectors and users- nothing in a users stockpile is sacred, it’s all up for grabs. This, I think is the primary difference between users and collectors. A user primarily stockpiles or collects items to use, eventually, while collectors will hold certain items as sacred and not for use, ever. One member specifically referenced enjoying their pencils as objects- finding enjoyment in the look and feel of the item, not just in it’s use. Even users will take into consideration the look of a pencil or notebook as they use it, the more attractive the item to that person, the higher the desirability. In some cases, people had favorites due to nostalgia. My enjoyment of the EF ECOwriter is largely nostalgia. It’s a dark soft pencil but it also has some grittiness that can be unpleasant in use, but I love the dark chrome yellow of it’s paint combined with the silver ferrule and green eraser. This is nostalgia. While my enjoyment of the Palomino Blackwing Pearl is largely because it is pretty and performs well.

In this discussion, it’s clear that there are a lot of factors that determine if someone considers themselves to be a collector or user or combination of the two. Most importantly it seems that there is a sacredness to the collection of the collector and a lack thereof for the user. Most importantly it seems that each person determines and defines if they are a collector, user, stockpiler, or some combination. 

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Martha Stewart has a Screw Punch- notes on a supply trip

Martha Stewart has a screw punch. I couldn’t resist when I went to Michaels and I saw it. It’s larger than my wooden screw punch has a rubberized grip and storage in the handle for tips. In a few tests it’s slips through paper smoothly and without issue. It looks like the tips from my wooden screw punch should fit right into it. The large tips look as though they will cut through binder board with no issue but the smallest tip isn’t long enough. However if it will take a standard tip from Talas then no worries. At $24.99 it’s a good price, especially if standard screw punch tips fit it. The punch comes in a cardboard box, covered in brown paper with a clear plastic window to the inside. It closes up with a baby blue elastic.

It seems that Martha Stewart has a whole line of scrap booking and paper working supplies that are only available in Michaels stores. The line is completely coordinated with the other parts and pieces in the line. What does this mean for the average bookbinder and art journaler? Lots of possibilities. It would make it easier to coordinate pages, layers of paints and inks with papers and embellishments. It also means a higher price point. Anything “Martha” does comes with an additional price tag. But I’ll point out that the screw punch I bought was only $24.99, comes with it’s own storage, works really well and comes with 3 standard tips; not a bad deal overall.

I did notice that a lot of the paper by the piece at Michaels had changed. It looked as thought they had changed vendors or something of that nature. I was not as impressed as I have been in the past. Also the large stacks of paper that they have offered in the past have changed as well. This looks as though this is a repackaging by the vendor as it’s the same brand of paper but packages are different. They now offer 10 packs of a single style of paper, which is good but the colors are VERY limited and some of the other shade and styles that used to be offered in the large stack of 100 sheets have changed too. For someone like me who will buy 6 packages of card stock at a time this doesn’t bode well. I stocked up this time but I’m afraid the next time I go in things will be again different.

I didn’t stop at AC Moore this time out but the last time I was in I noticed a change in the layout of the store as well as the product in the store. Where Michaels is headed toward the higher end of the money chain AC Moore seems headed into the value end of the pool. There is no issue with value per se until it affects the quality of the products. I like value but I don’t like shoddy tools or supplies. They make the job of the artist and craft person harder. Not to mention that it devalues our work. People think that if they can head into their local craft store and buy supplies on the cheap that they should be able to buy the work of an artist or crafts person more cheaply than ever before.

I’ll end my rant now.

*note: I tested my old screw punch tips in the Martha Stewart punch it’s a no go. BUt it’s pretty close so I imagine that It will be super easy for me to make a small chuck that fits inside the handle and fits around the tip. A little thin brass tubing and a dremel and I’ll have a chuck that will fit my old tips as well as those form Talas.

The Bonefolder

For those of you out there who are fans of making your own books you might want to check out The Bonefolder. It’s a quarterly scholarly look at the art of making books. Most times it’s a great read. In the back there are a few advertisements for supplies!