Although many of the newest and cleverest sidelines products are geared for the grade-school set, offerings of distinctive, adult-oriented stationery, writing accessories and gifts continue to increase, as do the more traditional greeting-card and calendar selections.
The importer, agent and distributor Savoir-Faire, of Sausalito, Calif., offers an elegant selection of superb papers, notes, journals, inks, pens and sealing wax in its first all-stationery catalogue. Elegantly gorgeous paper sheets, cards and envelopes from Fabriano, Europe's oldest paper mill, are available in a range of sizes and gift sets, begging a civilized return to handwritten correspondence. Less formal but equally eye-catching are several lines of large art sheets, suitable for creating cards, journals or unique wrappings, among them colorful, lightweight corrugated paperboard, richly hued handmade papers and Lama Li Nepalese papers of thick, thin or hand-silk-screened varieties.
Handmade from lotka fibers, the Lami Li line also includes an array of stationery sheets, note cards, envelopes and gift enclosure cards in terrific colors (most are laser-printer compatible). Lami Li writing sets combine stationery sheets and envelopes in a bamboo-clasp folio. Journals, notebooks and sketchbooks of Lami Li paper come in widely assorted sizes and varied formats and bindings. All are refreshingly restrained, with reasonable price points.
To make these papers uniquely yours, Savoir-Faire presents an extensive selection of inks from J. Herbin, producers of fine inks and writing accessories since 1670. In colors from gold and silver to opaque white and including just about every color in the rainbow, scented or not, and even invisible (turns blue when heated), these inks are available in bottles and cartridges, making them suitable for a variety of pen types, among them the company's exotic glass, quill and bamboo-reed pens, which are also offered by Savoir-Faire. Top off your scented, hand-inscribed notes with a splash of deeply colored sealing wax and classic stamp impression, then await your liaison dangereuse in suitable languor. Call (800) 332-4660, fax (800) 299-3113.
For the Francophile, authentic imported accoutrements can be had stateside via Exaclair Inc., of New York City, the sole U.S. distributor of a French family of companies well-known in Europe for their fine paper products. Exacompta offers handcrafted appointment and address books as well as guest books and journals that are especially suitable for personal or business gifts and range from elegant leather selections to more casual offerings. Clairefontaine is noted for being the first school stationery manufacturer in France. Its informal products are sturdy and attractive, while its social stationery is more elegant yet suitable for everyday use. G. Lalo, a Parisian stationery manufacturer in business since 1919, is known for the quality of its papers and elegance of presentation. Its Stendhal series of boxed sheets and notes makes a particularly handsome Continental gift. Mignon, a Paris leathercrafter since 1885, joins the Exaclair lineup for the first time with a series of high-quality leather address books, accessories and journals with clean lines and attractive colors. Call (800) 933-8595, fax (212) 969-9938.
For those who prefer a buon giorno to a bon jour, Zelco Industries Inc., of Mt. Vernon, N.Y., maker of the first clip-on booklight, introduces innovative reading and desk products, many created by top Italian designers. Two lightheartedly stylish new pens named Molly and Sorry bring some fun back to roller- and ballpoint penmanship with playful rubbery curves and zesty colors. Bendable bookends, made of flexible steel tipped with nonslip rubber, have a sleek, contemporary look and hold books in place with pressure, not weight. The Piccolo Photoholder is an aerodynamic-looking, cylindrical sculpture that holds a photo without a frame: just slip any size picture between the two magnetized parts and its ready for display (available in bronze, silver or blue). Italian at heart but not, alas, in origin, Zelco's Caddie Clock combines a tasteful moderne design with pack-rat function: two hidden compartments swivel out to hold paper clips, stamps and Post-its. A soft-grip ballpoint pen stands guard at rear, while the clock base slips off to double as a coaster for that mid-morning or afternoon mug of coffee. Call (800) 431-2486, fax (914) 699-7082.
What to do when writer's cramp puts a crimp in note jotting or rendezvous arranging? Hidden Creek Farm, of Wilmington, Del., suggests Handwriting Insights, a five-minute handwriting analysis kit that consists of 64 sturdy, laminated and whimsically illustrated cards that portray various characteristics of writing, such as size, slant, simplicity, etc. The writer picks the cards that apply to the handwriting sample, then turns them over to read about his or her personality. As appropriate boxes on the included "individual insights" sheets are checked off, the personality profile emerges. Creator Melinda Kohn developed the product using the I Ching and Tao Te Ching. Clearly written, simple to use and insightful without causing embarrassment, Handwriting Insights seems destined to be a great icebreaker or group diversion. Call (610) 967-5298, fax (610) 967-6468.