I AM A: Pencil Pop Up

On Friday afternoon I swung by I AM A’s pop up shop in Clerkenwell. I AM A is a stationery and gifts company and their Pimps Your Workspace pop up was full of one of my favourite things – pencils!

The shop

The pop up shop was nestled in a tiny little space in a classic Clerkenwell building. I AM A are a British brand who have worked with the likes of Paul Smith, Liberty of London, the Southbank Centre and Anthropologie and this pop up shop showcased their super colourful range. The store made the most of its space and was beautifully laid out and minimalist.

The inside of the pop up shop
The inside of the pop up shop

The stationery

Charmaine showed me all of the goodies, starting with the range of pencils. All of them are HB and made in California, and I AM A have perfected a foil stamping technique which makes these pencils quite unique. Seriously, the foil stamping is gorgeous. There is the usual bright gold stamping, as well as two colours, and even a multicolour effect on the same foil stamp. There are also pencils with foil stamping on every side of the barrel, The pencil colour range is wonderful with traditional colours on offer, as well as metallics and pastels.

Foil stamping on show
Foil stamping on show
Foil stamping on show
Two-colour foil stamping on a gorgeous metallic pencil
The Happy Hour range. Apparently margaritas and cosmopolitans are the favourites.
The Happy Hour range. Apparently margaritas and cosmopolitans are the favourites
Multicoloured foil stamping technique. Beautiful no?
Multicoloured foil stamping technique. Beautiful no?

There are sets of 6 pencils foil stamped with a common theme (London Underground with stations and their line colours, and Pimms with each ingredient on the pencil and a recipe step on the back) and the pencil bar was set up in themes such as Happy Hour (drinks!) and Best Foods (sweet potato fries anyone?). All the pencil colours match the foil stamp; coffee is a brown pencil, gin and tonics are white pencils. All of these were laid out in mini jars making for a very satisfying line up of gorgeous, shiny pencils.

Some of the pencil sets and I AM A's range of notebooks
Some of the pencil sets and I AM A’s range of notebooks

The notebooks really caught my eye too. There are 12 notebooks in the I AM A lineup, all with a different block colour and slogan. They’re all slightly larger than A5 and I got myself one with plain pages, hoping that the lovely green colour will inspire a bit of creative doodling. The notebooks are produced and packaged in collaboration with a social enterprise, and the belly band is printed on the inside to inspire a bit of colouring or to write little notes.

Inside of the belly band
Inside of the belly band

There was also a book of wrapping paper in retro prints, sometimes you don’t need or want a whole roll of paper and the majority of I AM A’s products would fit nicely wrapped in one of these pages.

I decided to choose some pencils from the pick’n’mix section and to create a personalised, colourful set with a range of foil stamps that appeal to my nature! Here’s a little insight into my personality:

I love the metallic margarita and I need coffee pencils, and the I hate Mondays pencils is one of my favourite shades of blue. You get a free sharpener when you buy five pencils which is always nice. Also, I don’t have a picture, but Charmaine showed me the pencil sharpener in action in the shop and when used with a brightly coloured pencil, this sharpener produces the prettiest curls!

This was my haul overall:

Obviously, trying out the pencils and notebook quality is important. The pencil writes similar to a Field Notes #2 in my opinion, and feels quite well balanced. The line is nice an dark which I always appreciate. The notebook paper has a little bit of tooth to it and pens write well on it, with hardly any feathering at all and only a usual amount of bleedthrough.

Pencil testing in the Mint Condition notebook
Pencil testing in the Mint Condition notebook
Close up of pencil tests, including one from the I AM A pencil range at the top
Close up of pencil tests, including one from the I AM A pencil range at the top
Close up of ink tests
Close up of ink tests
There was a little bit of bleedthrough on the reverse of the ink test page, but hardly any feathering at all
There was a little bit of bleedthrough on the reverse of the ink test page, but hardly any feathering at all

In short

I AM A’s pop up was beautiful and London needs many more pencil bars if you ask me. These products are really light-hearted, bright and cheerful. They also have a fun blog full of crafty ideas to put your mind to. Although not all of the products are made completely in the UK, it’s great to see a British stationery brand doing well. I AM A put on pop up stores around the UK which you can find out about on their social media and should be returning to Clerkenwell in November hopefully. For a stationery addict like me, this shop was ridiculously fun, so I’ll definitely pop back.

You can find more about I AM A on twitter and instagram @iama_london. 

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