Confessions of a Stationery Addict — Christi Barnes

Confessions of a Stationery Addict — Christi Barnes

Christi is Editor in Chief of Woven, the magazine that she founded with her husband and art director, Jeremy. Their mutual love for design, writing and photography began online as platform to share the stories of makers, craftspeople and entrepreneurs. Woven is now a fully fledged print publication, and is an honest portrayal of the journeys and philosophies of makers and thinkers working today.

With a background in sustainable design, it is no wonder that Christi has such a discerning eye and an eagerness to hear more about the experiences of others. Therefore, we were delighted to hear her reflect on a childhood spent meticulously decorating letters, and her fondness for letterpress.

When did your love of stationery begin? Do you have fond childhood memories of pencils and paper?

I grew up in the Southeastern US where thank you notes are still very much expected and appreciated. My mother would sit me down with pen and dainty little note cards that she had my name printed on in a simple scripted baby blue. She took such pride in these personalized cards, however I hated monogramming and thought it strange to send a person a card with my name on it. Nevertheless, I grew oddly fond of the task, and wrote what my mother always deemed exceptionally personal and thoughtful messages where other children would barely pay attention to the name of the person they were addressing. I took pride in her praise, and eventually expanded that personal touch to my tools.

How does stationery and paper play a part in your work and creative process? What are your go-to instruments for creating?

A lot of my work involves scheduling so I love keeping a paper calendar. I like having something in front of me where I physically catalogue plans and reminders. Digital calendars are quick and have their place, but I can’t do without my ratty old datebooks.

I also have to have a stash of letterpressed business cards and an assortment of notecards with personality. For writing and editing I keep handy a Pilot Precise V5 RT and a Paper Mate Flair Tip Felt pen. Also I’m a little obsessed with white gel pens for coloured paper.

Do you have any favourite pieces of stationery? Any new purchases you’re getting a lot of use out of lately, or classics you keep going back to?

My favourite pieces of stationery are things I’ve found in antique stores or random little shops across the country. I used to love finding old, unused postcards in different places from places I’ve never been to, or random bits of paper with dated illustrations. But they’re my collectables so not things I’ll likely ever use.

I can’t help but love Rifle Paper Co. greeting cards, but I also love a local letterpress artist called Taiga Press. I’m also shamefully fond of washi tape and stickers thanks to my grandmother’s habit of putting them on cards she would send me, but I try to limit myself.

For keeping notes or mapping out ideas at work I typically keep a large Moleskine nearby or my well-loved Action Book by the Behance team.

Can you share your top stationery shopping spots with us?

I could do some major damage in McNally Jackson’s Goods for the Study.

Paper is most satisfying in the form of…

Something with a little texture, or a bit of weight to it.

If you could have a rummage in anybody’s pencil case whose would it be?

My grandmother’s. I miss her odd pen collections poking out of metal pencil jars and seeing her handwriting scrawled on notepads.

What’s been your biggest stationery indulgence?

I chronically spend too much on cards for family and friends. I can’t help myself! We also indulged on custom letterpressed and foiled business cards that I still adore.

Any parting thoughts or anecdotes on your love of stationery?

It doesn’t have to be expensive to be the right tool. Find what suits your lifestyle, makes work more fun to look at, and then be prepared to stock up!

Thank you Christi!

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Image © Christi Barnes 2017
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