In our new shop, we inherited a floor to ceiling section of wall that's covered in chalkboard. The teacher in me is all over the idea of bringing up "students" to the board to have them practise their cursive writing, but we've actually placed our counter in front of it, since it's the centre of the shop. Ironically, while Caleb is a bit fan of marker and crayon on the walls, he has yet to really show any interest in chalking up the chalkboard wall. Because it's in the centre of the shop, and because of the transient nature of chalkboards, we thought it would be fun to have quotations or artwork or anything there that might be a spark of inspiration or humour in someone's day.
For our opening day, and for a while after, we wrote up one of my all-time favourite quotations about stationery: "There was something very comfortable in having plenty of stationery" from Dickens' Great Expectations. The longer version of it is absolutely delightful:
Dinner over, we produced a bundle of pens, a copious supply of ink, and a goodly show of writing and blotting paper. For there was something very comfortable in having plenty of stationery. -Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
I feel like I could live in that passage forever, especially after having just been fed dinner ;) Imagine what a truly wonderful evening that might be, dinner over, maybe warmly lit in Dickens' Victorian era candlelight, and pulling out pens and supplies of ink and a 'goodly show' of writing papers. Just this past week, we updated it again, this time with a quote from Harry Potter's famous wand shop Ollivanders: "The wand chooses the wizard." When I was up and down the ladder trying to sketch out Hogwarts, I thought maybe I would do a time lapse thing on putting it up on the wall. However, while one of the greatest advantages of living behind the shop is that I get to do a lot of my 'work' in my pyjamas, I'm pretty sure me in my pyjamas is more than you bargained for.
  We see it all the time here: someone comes in to try out a few pens, and all of a sudden, they just know that this one is the one for them. The wand chooses the wizard, and we're all wizards at heart. I love this idea that the wand, this inanimate tool of casting magic and spells, has a life and mind of its own and is the one doing the choosing, because the pen is just as powerful, if not more so. A pen is an extension of the hand. Stories and poetry and letters and messages and even spells written down and passed along through generations and time. But what better way to share our space than to offer our chalkboard up for students and new artists to create their masterpieces! While no one should work for free, unfortunately, we are not in a position to offer anything extravagant: $100 and publicity on our social media and for all who come to visit our shop. Your artwork will stay on our shop wall for at least a month, and maybe longer. So if you know any art or calligraphy students or emerging artists who might like some just a little bit of help getting their name out there, or someone with a creative soul looking for a way to share some good vibes, send them our way! We're looking for artwork: calligraphic, typographic, lettering or without words at all. Unfortunately, this might not be the right space to create artwork that explicitly promotes a company or brand - we're rather looking for artwork for the sake of artwork, and something that will fit in with the philosophy and vision of our shop. We're hoping for something that encourages creativity, a more thoughtful or slower life, analogue tools or writing stuff. While it would be great if it had to do with writing or pens & paper, it doesn't have to be. If you are interested, please send an e-mail our way! You can reach me at We're hoping to start setting up some new art on the walls in the new year. Please include your name, your occupation, any ideas or sketches you may have. I can't wait to hear from you! :)

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November 23, 2015 — wonderpens



nancygazo said:

Although I cannot draw, I thought I would share a quote with you in hopes it might inspire someone to draw the scene. In Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur (Book 8), Sir Gawain makes a demand of King Arthur on his deathbed: “And therefore, fair uncle, I pray you that I may have paper, pen, and ink, that I may write unto Sir Launcelot a letter written with mine own hand.”


zerocreativity0 said:

I m eager to know what was the result of this!


Liz said:

You can see the first chalkboard artist with some pictures and a video of her doing her magic here:

Her name is Sarah Kim, and her work is truly amazing!! :)


Ruth said:

I am deeply envious of people who can draw – your Hogwarts is magnificent, Liz (love the witch on the broomstick!). And I hadn’t thought before about the analogy you use comparing pens to wands, but how true it is! Is your chalkboard wall real slate, by the way? I’m gobsmacked at the price of any sizeable slate chalkboards on the market today.


Sérene said:

I was so excited when I read about you thinking of doing a time lapse and then so disappointed when your wearing of pyjamas stopped you. It’s a lovely drawing. Please reconsider for next time!


Liz said:

Next time! And I’m not sure it would be too impressive to see all my erasing ;) Thanks so much for reading and following along with us! :)

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