As a stationery brand, we are always curious how and what people use our stationery goods for. With this blog series, focusing on the hands at "work" and beyond, we ask five questions about the usage and meaning of the stationery tools to our friends in Los Angeles.

For our ninth post, we visited a LA based artist and writer, Erik Benjamins at the beautiful Pasadena office of Three Sheep, an interior design studio co-run by his partner Nicole.



Q1. What do you do with Hightide stationeries; Emilio Braga's cardboard notebook, Hataguchi Collective's greeting card set, and Vcorn Rollerball pens? 


I immediately started using the Braga as my primary notebook, carrying it with me in my bag everyday. So far, I’ve used it with the rollerball pens (so smooth!) to journal, make lists, and sketch out ideas for a new series of new drawings as well as a text work that I’ll be exhibiting in a small group show in San Francisco this month. As for the Hataguchi cards, I’m writing to penpals and sending thank you cards. I’ve been a huge huge fan of her work for years and am embarrassed to say this is only the second time I’ve used the amazing stationery!


Erik is flipping through the pages of his Emilio Braga's Cardboard Notebook with Band in A4 / Yellow 

Erik is writing on the Hataguchi Collective's Tetu Greeting Card in Moss to his friend using the Vcorn rollerball pen in Black 



Q2. In our technology driven world, what does it mean to write/draw by hand to you? 


Writing by hand is one of my favorite activities in the world. My hand does its best to keep up with the pace of my mind, though it never quite succeeds. In that laggy process comes all kinds of fun surprises and (mis)translations from brain to page. It’s also such a physical and material process: cramped hands and smudged ink and folded pages… such a low stakes, but powerful act of making!

Q3. Pencils or Mechanical Pencils? 


Pencils for messy ideas, mechanical pencils for clean ideas. 

Table top scene; a classic PILOT Super P ballpoint pen, Erik's friend's Nancy Kwon's sculpture, Hataguchi Collective Greeting Card Box in Tetu, and the table, inset with a designated incense burning area, designed by Three Sheep. 


Q4. What’s in your pen case? How do you carry your pens? 

I have a very weathered case made of blue and white ikat that I bought at Tortoise General Store over ten years ago! Inside is a drawing pencil, a mechanical pencil with with some extra refills, a gum eraser, some chapstick, a pocket-sized measuring tape, and old, wired iPhone earbuds. 

Erik is highlighting his reflexology ceramic tile sketch with the penco's Brush Writer Pen in Yellow. 

Q5. What is your most favorite stationery? 

For years I was really attached to a very simple, blank-paged A4 notebook made by Claire Fontaine that I could always find at Kinokuniya. It's the perfect size for travel, usually having just enough pages (maybe 80 or so?) to take up the duration of 4 to 6-week long artist residency. I’ve actually wanted to make my own stationery as an art project for a long time, but I haven’t found the right publisher or company to partner with yet. It’d be a kind of poetic, but functional graph paper sketchbook and I have a feeling that would become my favorite stationery!


Erik Benjamins is a LA based artist and writer. He has recently returned from a 3-month residency at the European Ceramic Work Center in The Netherlands where he continued his research on the practical and poetic possibilities of tile-making and tiling.
Later this month he’ll be showing new work at Off Leash, a group exhibition at Dog Gallery in San Francisco.

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