There’s something beautifully old-fashioned about a proper artists materials shop. The smell, the rustle of paper, an exciting array of pens, graphite, crayon and a kaleidoscopic array of inks all rub shoulders with each other, cheek by jowl with mysterious substances. Then there’s the smell…but don’t get me started!
Sadly, there’s not so many of them about these days, certainly outside of London you’d struggle to find one. Back in the day when I was a student there was handful, even in a city like Leeds. Dinsdales was my favourite but of course the rise of online retail and the march of technology in art and design has put paid to the physicality of the artists’ mecca.
In London however, it’s a different story even in 2014. In Clerkenwell where I work I discovered an exquisite store selling all manner of artists materials. Stuart R Stevenson, Artist and Guilding materials is right on Clerkenwell Road and is a real treasure trove. My fleeting visit for sign writer’s paint and sponges was too short but I’ll definitely return for a more leisurely mooch. This brief visit recently yielded much joy and return visits will deliver much the same I think.