By Tia Frapolli for The NPD Group

The holiday season presents consumers with a perfect opportunity to get in touch with their creative side – a behaviour that bodes well for the US office supplies market.

Several arts, crafts, and traditional supplies categories that require creativity and offer an experience will be among the top industry performers this holiday. And, we know from NPD’s Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey that experiential gifting is not only trending with consumers, but set to grow over last year. In fact, the survey found that four out of 10 consumers plan on giving these types of gifts this year.

When it comes to the craft-related categories, consumer shopping behavior indicates a preference for discovering and purchasing these products in-person as opposed to online. Specifically, NPD data shows that acrylic paints, paint brushes, specialty note cards, and canvases all have a very low penetration in the e-commerce channel. In fact, over 95 percent of purchases in each of these categories are made in-store.

Tied to such products, we expect that popular holiday craft activities will include ornament decorating and homemade holiday décor. In addition, as spending time with friends and family is top of mind during the holidays, we expect the ever-popular canvas painting parties to continue to grow this season, and there are the sales numbers to show for it—canvas sales have grown by 20 percent over the past year.

Coinciding with the maker’s movement and popularity of hand lettering, this season we also expect to see a rise in holiday card making with custom lettering. A variety of writing instruments used for this activity are already seeing growth; collectively, sales of gel, porous, and fountain pens as well as dual, ultra, and extra fine color markers have grown by 8 percent leading up to the holiday season.

Without a doubt, consumers let their creativity shine during the holiday season, and this presents a favorable opportunity for the office supplies industry to get in on the action.

By Lisa Bowman for Metro
Image credit: Wrapt

Last year it was estimated that Brits would throw out 108-million rolls of Christmas wrapping paper. That’s a lot of waste.

Even the most well-intentioned of us may be unaware that the wrap we put in recycling isn’t actually recyclable, if it contains plastic, dye, foil, glitter or leftover sticky tape.

Most of us aren’t prepared to hand people unwrapped gifts – where’s the joy in that? – so thankfully there are eco-friendly wrapping routes we can take.

Most of them are so chic they’ll make it look like Pinterest threw up under your tree.

Recycled brown paper
Brown paper is one of your cheapest options, and yet has the most potential to look impressive – you just have to get crafty. You can get recycled brown paper at your local Post Office.
Limited budget/don’t have time to mess about with ribbons and foliage? Make it your own with wooden stamps.

Go DIY with old fabric
Got old Christmas tablecloths lying around the house? Christmas tea towels? Feel like making the most of the kitsch Christmas patterns in your local fabric shop? Wrap your presents in it!

Secure it by tying a knot as a bow, or by using eco twine or cut-up fabric as ribbon. Just ensure you get the fabric back to use again if the recipient doesn’t plan to use it.

Reusable fabric gift bags/bottle bags
Gift bags and bottle bags are such a waste – as soon as the gift’s been taken out, they’re usually chucked in the rubbish.
Did you know you can buy reusable fabric versions?
Sure, they’re expensive, but they’re made from 45% recycled fabric, and the maker promises that they’re durable enough to last a lifetime.
You just need to make sure you gift them to someone who’ll actualy re-use them.

Use magazines or newspaper
Chances are, you’ve got some old newspaper or magazines lying around the house – instead of chucking these straight in your recycling bin, why not give them a detour? A new life as gift wrap?

Obviously make sure the stories printed in the publication are, er, appropriate.

Regular wrap – make sure it’s recycled and recyclable
If you’re not into any of the above options, and simply want a more eco version of your usual minimal effort wrapping paper, then all is not lost.

All you have to do is make sure your gift wrap is recycled, and that it’s recyclable. Obviously this option is quite expensive and unless you’re made of money, they’re not likely to be an option for those who have a million kids’ presents to wrap.
So, if all else fails – at least make sure the wrap you use is fully recyclable, if it’s not made from recycled content itself.

Reuse old wrapping paper and gift bags
My mum used to laboriously pick off the sellotape from gifts and save the wrapping paper to use again. As a child, I thought she’d lost her mind but now, I see where she was coming from.
Keep a stash of old wrapping paper and gift/bottle bags, and save up ribbons and bows from gifts throughout the year.
They can cost a lot of money as well as the earth, so you may as well make the most of them!

Don’t forget your decorations
Shun the landfill fodder that is regular plastic ribbon – jazz it up with environmentally-friendly twine instead. Honestly, it looks super twee.
You can even make bows and ribbon out of old newspaper. Go full-on Pinterest by using cinnamon and foraged pine cones/foliage.
If you’re using brown paper, forget gift tags and simply write your message directly on the paper, or make gift
tags out of scrap card.
Plastic sticky tape can’t be recycled, so use an eco version like paper packing tape.
Happy gift wrapping!

Paper cut: the ancient stencil art of Sanjhi

By Soma Das for Hindustan Times 

The stencil art of Sanjhi has its roots in Indian folk culture and is associated with Vaishnav temple traditions.

As an eight-year-old, paper artist Jaishree Pankaj Shah would watch intently as her grandfather made hand-cut paper designs or stencils to decorate the swing of Lord Srinathji. That was her first lesson in the Sanjhi paper craft.

Sanjhi is an art form rooted in the folk culture of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, and later became an integral part of Vaishnavite traditions. It was patronised as a refined art form in the 15th and 16th century, and was practised by priests in Vaishnav temples.

“During the Bhadrapad (monsoon) season, the temple floor would often be decorated with banana leaves cut into various shapes and sizes. The art later evolved into paper stencils with floral and geometric designs,” says Shah. “Sanjhi artworks were used to decorate temples, nat-mandirs and kirtan sabhas during Vaishnav festivals such as Holi, Janmashtami and Jhulan.”

At an exhibition at Artisans’ in Kala Ghoda, Shah is showcasing 45 Sanjhi panels (some are three dimensional and as tall as 20 sq ft) depicting the Raas Leela, and inspired by the architecture of the Vaishnavite havelis and jharokhas of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

The traditional art form was quite daunting as the paper cuttings were made directly without sketching or tracing.

To make a Sanjhi, Shah sketches a rough outline of the motif and then fills in the details while making cuts. She then glues the parts together on a coloured sheet of paper or silk before framing the work. “Each work is intricate, and it takes between a week to two months to make a panel,” she says. The traditional art form was quite daunting as the paper cuttings were made directly without sketching or tracing.

The art form of Sanjhi still manifests itself in places where Vaishnav culture flourished. “At Mathura, Vrindavan, West Bengal and Odisha — which are home to Vaishnav communities and Radha Krishna lore in visual and performing arts — you can find this art form reflected in various traditions that work with silhouette and stencil forms,” says Shah.

Artist creates paintings, sculptures with fabric

In the hands of Benjamin Shine, a piece of tulle isn’t just for making fancy dresses and curtains.

Using nothing but an iron, the British artist turns the fabric into amazingly realistic paintings and sculptures.

Shine sculpts, presses and pleats the huge single piece of tulle, whose transparent qualities give the portrait more texture and depth. By layering in this way, the artist obtains different tones and shadows that enable him to realistically depict everything from objects to portraits.

Source: The Citizen

With a sharp eye for detail, Bilal Asif carefully labours over his quest for a pointedly unusual world record – crafting the largest swing ever made from pencils.

Asif combs over his creation inside his studio in the southern megacity of Karachi, fine-tuning details with a razor blade and mulling new decorative additions.

“My main objective was not only to make the pencil swing but I aspired to make it with as much creativity as I could,” said the artist.

By January, Asif plans to register his work for the Guinness Book of World Records. He has used up to 30,000 pencils in total, cut into more than 100,000 pieces.

The swing rests on massive posts resembling pencils, while colourful pastel designs give the structure a touch of South Asian flamboyance, drawing striking similarities to the artwork decorating the ubiquitous “jingle trucks” that barrel down roads across Pakistan.

Striving to break world records is the norm in neighbouring India, which holds a suite of peculiar Guinness plaudits including the largest number of people to sing a national anthem in unison.

But Pakistan, which split from India at independence from Britain in 1947 and has viewed it as an archrival ever since, has yet to match its neighbour’s enthusiasm for quirky world record glory.

The achievement would cement a goal sketched out since Asif’s youth, when he began collecting pencils from all over the world.

“Some people criticise my work but I don’t react to them,” he said.

He likes to point out that the swing is not just about breaking records, drawing a line between his art and his quest to promote friendship abroad.

“This is not only a world record but this is a message of peace from the whole Pakistan to the other countries through this art,” Asif adds. “This is my aim.”

Office supplies? Ostrich supplies!

By Troy Turner for Yanko Design

Introducing Ostrich. Never before has a paperclip holder been so awesome. The magnetic silhouette takes on the familiar form of the world’s biggest bird.

Beautiful on its own, the shiny metallic finish and funky red “sneakers” make it an interesting desktop ornament. Add on the included black paperclips, however, and you’ve got something entirely new.

This novel piece of stationery is designed by Arthur Xin.

By Maria Dermentzi for Mashable

Plastic Whale is a professional plastic fishing company that offers boat trips during which tourists — while sightseeing — will pick up plastic from Amsterdam’s canals. The plastic bottles that are being collected get turned into office furniture, in collaboration with Vepa.

Make ornaments from old greeting cards

Original article by Amy Johnson for Maker Mama 

It’s nearly time to start spring cleaning. Some things in life we find hard to throw away, and one of those is holiday and birthday cards received from those close to you.

One way to save them is to use old cards to make paper ball ornaments.

They’re free and easy to make with simple supplies, and would be perfect for your own decor or even as a little gift.

The main supplies you’ll need are some paper and a cutting tool, such as a circle punch.

You can use any paper you have around, but make sure it’s about card stock weight, otherwise it won’t keep it’s shape well. Likewise, if you don’t have a circle cutting tool, you can trace something circular and cut them by hand (double the paper up so it’ll go faster).

Start by cutting out 21 circles in different colours and patterns.

To create your template and start folding your circles follow these steps:

  • Lay out your extra circle piece.
  • Fold it in half.
  • Fold it in half again to make an X in your circle.
  • Fold a small section into the middle.
  • Fold an equal-sized section into the middle, overlapping the first section.
  • Fold the third section over the others, creating a triangle (try to keep the sections as equal as possible).
  • Cut away the flaps leaving your equilateral triangle as the template.
  • Place the template on top of a new circle and fold flaps along the lines.
  • Remove the template and you have the basic piece that will make up your ornament.

Now fold the rest until you have twenty folded triangle-circles (the template makes it go by pretty fast).

Next, bust out your craft glue of choice.

I went for the hot glue gun for the sake of time. I’ve used white glue on previous ones and had to paperclip the flaps together to ensure they stay together, and it took much longer to dry.

Take 10 of your pieces and line them up in a row, alternating the direction they’re pointing.

Next, glue the first and last pieces together.

You should have five flaps facing out on both the top and bottom.

Take your 10 remaining pieces and lay them out for the top and bottom of the ornament.

This time you want them all pointing toward the center, creating a circular shape.

After you glue the flaps together, you’ll have two domed pieces with five flaps on the bottom of each.

Glue the top and bottom pieces together along the flaps.

To hang it up, punch a hole in the top and string some yarn through.

By Veronica An for The Hub

Despite being known as the digital generation, tech-obsessed millennials are spending more money on handmade cards and letterpress stationery.

“Everyone says that paper is dying but our experience is that paper is not dying,” said Rosanna Kvernmo, who runs Iron Curtain Press and the adjacent stationery store, Shorthand, in Highland Park.

According to a report by Paper Culture, the average number of holiday cards purchased by customers has actually increased by 38 percent over the last five years.

“I don’t think this is just a flash in the pan,” Kvernmo said. “I think stationery is here to stay.”

Stationery makers and letter pressers agree that millennials are some of their biggest consumers.

“I interface with people a lot and, yes, I can say that people are sending cards again,” said Elisa Goodman, 62, owner of Curmudgeon Cards. Goodman has an online store and travels to various art fairs and open air markets in Los Angeles to sell her cards.

Goodman has been making her unique brand of handmade cards for 18 years and says her message is one that resonates with millennials as well as Baby Boomers. Goodman started making cards while dealing with a difficult time in her life and said that encouragement cards were among the first she created.

“I’m happy millennials are resonating with my brand so much. They really are appreciative of the quality and not price-resistant to the cost of handmade cards,” Goodman said.

Curmudgeon Cards retail for $10-$12 – about double the cost of digitally printed cards. Goodman sells many of her cards at craft fairs and farmers markets across L.A.

Cost still a factor
Still, other stationery-makers cite price as a sticking point with customers. Letter pressers say that the cost of paper and ink have gone up, not to mention the difficulty of working with machines that are out of production.

Adam Smith, 38, the owner of Life is Funny letterpress, got his start at Sugar Paper letterpress in 2006 and purchased his own press, a 1953 Heidelberg Windmill, in 2013. He said his cards retail at comparable prices to digitally printed cards which make them more affordable than most.

“One of my biggest clients is Alfred Coffee so the people who are buying these cards are who you’d expect …millennials with money,” Smith said.

According to customers, Smith’s sarcastic cards appeal to millennials. One card under the “Love” category tagged as #FirstDateWarnings says “I Use A Lot Of Emojis…I Hope You’re Okay With That.”

In addition to letter presses that have opened recently, older L.A.-based companies are also seeing an increase in business. Aardvark Letterpress, a family-owned letterpress in MacArthur Park, celebrated its 50th year in 2018 and owners say that not much has changed in terms of production.

“People are rediscovering [letterpress] and coming back to us…but the economic factors are still an issue,” said Cary Ocon, co-owner of Aardvark Letterpress.

Ocon said the company saw a drop in sales during and after the 2008 recession but that they are currently doing well. Although sales have not quite surpassed pre-recession numbers, Ocon said Aardvark still does solid business with many celebrities, entertainment companies, and governmental organizations, including the mayor’s office.

“I think there’s this reaction to the temporary nature of stuff – most things aren’t even printed anymore, they’re just read and shared digitally,” Ocon said. “I think people realize that this is a whole different product…so much more work goes into it than digital printing.”

Unique feel
Customers at Aardvark agree, saying that they are willing to pay extra for the uniqueness of letterpress.

“The presentation is everything,” said Darius Washington, founder of the D Hollywood Agency.

Washington was shopping for letterpress and foil printed business cards for his clients and said he had heard about Aardvark Letterpress through Instagram.

“Letterpress has that special feel to it. It’s like old cars, there’s something special about the handcrafted effort,” Washington said.

The handcrafted nature makes letterpress and handmade cards ideal for customization.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine and a report by Forbes, customization is a major selling point for millennials.

Specialization works for Goodman, who said she accepts many commissions for Curmudgeon Cards and Aardvark Letterpress has an in-house designer who can make custom designers for clients.

“People want to connect,” Kvernmo said. “There’s something about connecting with paper that’s more special than connecting through text.”

By Wendy Knowler for Times Live 

You probably wouldn’t dream of eating the glitter sold in stationery and craft shops‚ but almost all the glitter sprinkled on iced cupcakes has no business inside a human body either.

Confusingly‚ the labels say “non toxic”‚ which leads many bakers and consumers to believe that the glitter is edible.

An admission by a contestant on the Great British Bake Off TV show in 2012 – that she didn’t know if the glitter she was liberally sprinkling on her cupcakes was edible or not – went on to make glitter one of Britain’s top 10 food safety concerns. Two years ago the USA’s Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about non-edible decorative glitters and dusts being promoted for use on foods‚ saying there was no difference between craft glitter and “non toxic‚ decorative” cake glitter.

South Africa’s health authorities have yet to take such a stand‚ and there is relatively little awareness among bakers and consumers about the fact that most cake glitter on sale in baking goods stores is a form of plastic.

But it’s not just the composition of cake glitter which is now called into question – it’s all products used to create “edible” decorations‚ including colouring powders‚ dusting powders‚ gels and gold and silver leaf.

Should it be swallowed‚ it will simply pass through the body same as a Lego block would.

This week the UK’s Food Safety Agency dropped a bombshell on the global baking industry by issuing an alert about the entire range of products made by South Africa’s most prominent cake decorations company Rolkem‚ saying the company had “failed to provide assurances of product safety”‚ and thus there was a potential risk that they could contain heavy metals‚ unapproved non-food pigments and/or other unapproved ingredients”.

Earlier this year a batch of two Rolkem gold products were recalled from the UK market after being found to contain high levels of copper. Those batches were not sold in South Africa.

Rolkem CEO Andries Kemp said the Food Safety Agency issued the alert because the company couldn’t meet the “unrealistic” deadlines imposed on it to produce test certificates for its 400 products.

“We shall supply the test certificates to all our stockists locally and internationally as soon as we receive them from the laboratory‚” he said.

“We are confident that all products will test clear.”

Pinetown-based baking supplies retailer Bake-a-Ton has since put a notice up in its store advising the following about all Rolkem products: “Until such point as our suppliers can provide proof of food grade certificates we do not recommend these products for use as edible in your baking and decorating.”

“We have also instructed our staff to educate customers correctly with regards to product usage‚” operations manager Justin Baker told TimesLIVE.

Despite Rolkem and other local manufacturers insisting that they stipulate that the glitter should be applied only to decorations which are removed before the cakes are eaten‚ it would appear that that message has until now been very poorly communicated between factory and retail shelf.

A staff member at Durban baking goods supplier Party Themes told me this week that the cake glitter is “fine to sprinkle on icing‚ but you just mustn’t eat it from the pot”.

When qualified food technologist Kate O’Dowd asked Cape Town-based baking goods supplier Barco for a break-down of its “Flitter” glitter product‚ on behalf of a friend wanting to add glitter to a lip balm‚ the company sent her an email describing it as “non-toxic and for removable cake decorations and crafts only” and listing the ingredients as polyester (90 – 95%) aluminium‚ epoxy resin‚ chromium and dyes.

“The reason for this is that glitter currently sold in SA is made of very thin plastic and as such it is not a product that can be absorbed by the human body‚” Barco co-owner Kevin Ritchie told O’Dowd.

“Should it be swallowed‚ it will simply pass through the body same as a Lego block would.”

“I was flabbergasted‚” O’Dowd said. “I don’t think many people realise those glitters which we see on so many cup cakes these days are actually plastic. And I’ve never seen anyone picking it off.”

Non-toxic glitter may not kill you‚ but don’t eat it – that’s the advice of Dr Zhaoping Li‚ professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition at the University of California‚ Los Angeles. “At least not regularly or large quantities‚” he says.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 5

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top