Another very exciting day around here! We are full of those, even if most days the excitement is extremely unpleasant and shocking news from our accountant, or the roof leak that’s been “fixed” several times turning into a small gush, or discovering that there is indeed a maximum number of tabs your browser will let you open at a time and that the number is 500 and that you’ve reached it, or the cat throwing up.


We are so thrilled to launch our new tote bags, a project that has been in the queue for months and months. Fruit! What a miracle!


It was such a treat to be able to work with and commission our good friend and extremely talented writer and illustrator Amanda Etches on the illustrations of the two shops that are on the tote bags. She is a pro! Of course. But also, patient and funny and creative and just an all around delight. She is also a librarian, so you know she is good people. You can see some of her portfolio and work here on her website or follow along with her adventures and sketching on Instagram.







We had these tote bags custom made for us to our specifications, which primarily involved very loose projections about being able to hold abundant notebooks and books and stationery supplies and leather cases. What happens if you have your Superior Labor Utility Case and Caleb has put 17 books on hold at the library and they’ve all come in at once? I’ve learned more about gussets and canvas weight than I would’ve thought possible, but I’m so pleased with the quality of the material and the design and construction. It turns out all of those emails and material samples and back-and-forths were worth it. What a surreal thought, to imagine Wonder Pens shops wandering around the city on people’s arms.


We have limited quantities of the bag, and we anticipate that this will be our only run. We have more of the Main Shop one than the Studio Shop, a strategic move as no one knows about the basically defunct Studio Shop except as some sort of semi-feral cat rescue operation.


$500 of the proceeds of this bag will go to the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, where Amanda currently lives, and also my own hometown. The Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion works towards economic justice, community benefits, and democratic engagement in the beautiful, growing and historic city of Hamilton. So close to Toronto, it is well worth a day trip to look out over the city from the escarpment, imagining all of the steel, or try out some of the excellent restaurants.


As always, thank you for your tremendous support in all of the ways that count and then some. With some perspective that I take too infrequently, it is incredible to think we’ve made it this far. I’ve spent an inordinate number of hours on this project, many, many more than it’s worth in numbers, and yet the fact alone that we’ve reached this stage, where we can work with people on projects like this seems like such a meaningful way for us to spend our days in our shop.



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October 04, 2021 — Liz Chan

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