Did I mention before that I love book stores? Quite a strange place to be in, isn’t it? No, but I could spend hours in one. I love the smell of books. I love the idea of books that are neatly bounded and arranged accordingly. I love picking up a book randomly and looking at the cover and art work and breathing in that brand new smell. And then there’s another section in the book store that I love too: Stationery. Mmmm, my love for stationery is a love that I can’t really explain. Shiny pens, gel based, inked based, coloured markers, highlighters, coloured pencils, transparent tape. I love looking at shiny pens arranged, the sound of the pens clacking, the cute notebooks, the neat files. There’s always something for me to buy in the end. But recently I’ve noticed a trend. As recently as maybe a couple of years ago. Craft items and knick knacks. Yes, I’m talking about things like push out letters, cardboard letters, decorative tape, stickers, glitter cardstocks, DIY card sets, scrapbooking kits…
I remember during my design days in school, the only place to ever find things like this was in Art Friend or Spotlight. When did this scrapbooking trend started? I’m not even sure. But I’m glad as hell to find lovely things more accessible to me than ever. There was only ever one store I remember in the early 00s called, ‘Creative Hands’ in Ngee Ann City. During my O level coursework, I used to forage the city for craft stores like this one. They were the only store that sold Marabu silk paint and gutta – the best kind! They also had the tiniest brushes for the details and a large collection of beads and fasteners. The other shop that had a nice collection of brushes and drawing pens and foam models was ‘Art Friend’. Art Friend is a real friend indeed for the design student. You could basically get anything related to your artwork and craft projects from sequins to tape and fixers. Thankfully for design students, we get the discounts. *smug face*.
Creative Hands have since closed the last time I checked it and so did the other small craft and hobby stores that hold projects and workshops for glass painting, decorative ideas and teddy bear making. Instead paper and scrapbooking stores have sprung up in the heartlands like Paper Market. Boasting reasonably priced paper and cardstocks, they also offer scrapbooking workshops and other stationery decorative tips. Unfortunately stores like this don’t offer anything beyond scrapbooking such as fabric painting or decorative ideas. I would call them glorified stationery stores as that’s pretty much what they sell. So much so that Popular Book Co. the largest stationery store chain in Singapore, actually opened a branch (Urban Write) for speciality stationery and cardstock for the scrapbooking buff. Even Daiso have started selling scrapbooking knick knacks. 😀
What I truly love about craft stores, is the fact that they don’t provide DIY and ready made kits. In fact all the materials are provided, from paints to cloth to paper. It’s just your imagination putting everything together into a final piece. DIY kits don’t justify the creativity behind scrapbooking, which is why all my birthday cards are handmade and decorated from scratch using ideas from my head. It’s just nicer that way. 🙂