Thursday, January 7, 2010

the essence of paper, part one: dame plume

I have a thing about paper.

Well, it's not just about paper. It's about ink, stamps, books, prints, text, fonts, pages, bindings. It's about stores that sell paper - the colors, the textures, the possibilities. It's about art, and people's drawings, and writings. It's about that scritchy-scratchy sound of pen on paper.

We landed in Montreal and I asked my uncle if we could go find St. Viateur bagels. I had never had Montreal bagels and felt this was an experience I should have. So on our way from the train station to his house on the North Shore, he called a friend who knew bagels, and she told him where to find the place I had read about. We parked, and crossed the slushy street to go to it. And there, just two stores down from the bagel establishment, was a storefront called "Dame Plume".

"Oh -" I said, "After the bagels? I'm going to have to go in there."

Cards with handsewing. Cutouts. Hand-made books. Calligraphic pens and inks. Lots of natural light. I looked behind the counter at their workspace and wanted so much to have a place like this in my own village, where I could work. My family dutifully followed me in and looked around. I felt like I was bringing new initiates into a temple. They looked and liked - but I looked and lusted.

This book is titled "Recettes". The drawings of the woman cracking an egg form a flip-book. I almost don't want to write in it, because the blank space is so perfect. But that's life, isn't it? There is no such thing as perfect, and the blank space is meant to be filled.

This is one of the Moleskin books that they customize. I liked them all, but I liked this one particularly. The yellow elastic is also neat. It reminds me of an organic life form of some kind.

Some of the books are made by this company (or person?), Terrain Vague. It doesn't appear that the website is fully operational, but perhaps soon.

I asked the ladies at Dame Plume if they knew of any stores that sold ink and stamps. (Once, when I was in New York City, I found this store called The Ink Pad, and I was hoping to stumble upon a similar treasure here.) They told me about L'Essence de Papier, and I wrote down the address.

Next post: What I found there!

Tell me: do you love paper, books, ink, stamps, writing? What are your favorite stores for such things?

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