The title of this post perhaps isn’t obvious. Well, colour is – you only have to look at the rows and rows of beautiful pencils, oil pastels, inks and paints to see what I mean there [continues].
But fantasy? What’s that all about? Firstly… the fantasy that I’m an artist and that I could do something with all of this wonderful stuff. Secondly, the fantasy that so many people really are able to create just using these raw materials. And thirdly, my secret little fantasy that I own my own art and stationery shop.
I’ve been a stationery geek for as long as I can remember, so the opportunity to photograph the Pen and Paper was a real treat.
Here’s some information about the shop, since that’s probably what you’re more interested in…
Opened in 1996, the shop was originally across the way from the premises its in now. To start with, they only sold stationery, moving on to art supplies when Phil’s wife Wendy got on board. Firstly, the art supplies were sold in a little room and after a while, they decided to move into bigger premises around 8 years ago to allow the stock room to breathe.
Owner Phil seems to have lived a varied life, moving up and down the country and living in all kinds of places. At one time working in House of Fraser (Rackhams) in Birmingham, later coming to work at Howell’s in Cardiff. After parting ways with the company he decided to set up the Pen and Paper.
Today, the shop can boast some impressive stats. For instance, they claim to supply the widest range of pens and inks in Wales. They certainly do seem to have the widest range of art supplies in the city centre at least.
Customer service is of paramount importance here, but, crucially, thanks in part to its size, this is a shop you’re free to wander about and have a look round, rather than face intimidation as soon as you walk through the door. But if you do need to know something, then the staff are on hand to offer practical advice – which is always useful when you’re just starting out.
Phil tells me that he’s not suffered so much from the St David’s development, especially as the shop is in a great location – the Royal Arcade does act as a walkway between St Mary Street and the Hayes after all. Long may that continue.