February 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

The discovery of a bundle of yellowed dog-eared letters and postcards in an empty Paris apartment in the 6th has cast a spell over me. Enchanted by spidery scrawls and scattered sentences, their sense disjointed by missing pages, I have been trying to weave together these found fragments of correspondence between two beings I shall never meet.

Driving me, I think, is my lament at the loss of handwritten letters in my own life and the stories that their missing presence will keep eternally hidden. Call me sentimental, but there is a lot about the good ole’ times that I miss.

If you are familiar with french, you may know the word griffoner, meaning to scribble or scrawl and a griffonage is therefore an illegible scrawl. If like me, you feel the need to bring some griffonage back into your own life and reawaken that slumbering cursive hand, then here is some inspiration to set the scene!

Griffin and Sabine: An Extrordinary Correspondence’ is the first of a trilogy {followed by Sabine’s Notebook & The Golden Mean} penned by Nick Bantock, about a lovelorn postcard artist in England and the mysterious Sabine, a lady from the South Pacific who can see Griffin’s work in her mind’s eye. Filled with mythology and symbolism the story tells of their correspondence and sometimes wavering belief in each other’s existence which spans across different dimensions. The books are filled with surreal postcard images and envelopes containing actual letters that you can take out and read a la voyeur. I discovered these books 15 years ago and remain enchanted every time I reread them.

Present and Correct, if you don’t already know it, is my favourite source of handmade, vintage and beautifully designed paper goods and desk accessories. I’m obsessed with it and in particular, these pretty scandinavian writing sets.

Dempsey and Carroll of New York city have specialised in engraved stationery since 1878. You can find their classic cotton fibre writing paper at Ben Pentreath’s wonderful curiosity shop off Lambs conduit street.

Fans of grid paper might prefer Rhodia – the french paper merchant does a nicely presented box set.

Colour heads like me should check out heritage label G. Lalo Verge de France who do a pretty range that is also good for minimum bleed if using a fountain pen.

For recycling and reusing envelopes I find these japanese paper tapes indispensible to reseal and decorate. (Brilliant for wrapping with brown and newpaper too!) You can get them at Papermash, another excellent online stationer that sources indie paper goods from around the world.

My first letter of the year is addressed to Mr and Mrs A Greenman, treasured but long lost friends.



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