The Artist Date is a dream-child of Julia Cameron. We’ve discussed her book, The Artist’s Way, and highly recommend both the book and the weekly date. It can be life-changing. It can open your creativity like nothing else. This week, we’re tagging along with Monica Sharman for an impromptu artist date. Come, get lost in a back storeroom.
Meininger Art Supply is almost as old as Colorado. In 1876 the Centennial State was admitted to the Union, and five years later Emil Meininger came to Denver and established Colorado’s first art supply store. That was in the days of wild-west cowboys, pioneers, and the steam-locomotive railroad boom. Today, fourth-generation Meiningers still own and operate the H.R. Meininger Company, now one of the biggest art suppliers from here to the Mississippi. When it comes to fine pens, paints, and papers, you might say Meininger is the best in the west.
But I didn’t know any of this when I first walked into the Colorado Springs store on South Weber Street, I was there because my “artist’s bookbinding” instructor recommended their paper (and I was up for an outing).
I don’t mean the standard pastel copy sheets or white card stock you find at Office Depot. This paper is exotic. In a back storeroom that looks like it takes up a third of the building, they keep their paper supply in shelves custom-built to fit sheets two or three feet wide in the shortest dimension. Thicker parchments drape over spiraling rods like some kind of regal staircase. Customers can flip through smaller samples bound with rings, Rolodex-style. Browsing the paper selection left me literally salivating as if I was peeking into a pastry-shop window instead.
Each paper sample came with a brief description. Wood-shreds, cotton, flax. Grass, kozo, gold. Hemp, mango leaf, mulberry. Every kind of texture, pattern, color. No wonder I was practically drooling. But new, blank paper, yet without creases or marks, also makes me hungry because it represents words not yet written.
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- Eating and Drinking Poems: Mary Oliver’s “The Mango” - February 27, 2014