Here's the first in a series of posts introducing Scriptum's staff. First, meet Holly:
Hi Holly! Let’s start with the basics: how long have you been working at Scriptum?
Just over two years. I’d just finished my masters at St Hilda’s but wasn’t ready to leave Oxford - then I saw that there was a job going at my favourite shop in the world so I walked in and begged to be employed.
What did you think of Scriptum the first time you visited?
I was a little intimidated by how beautiful everything was, but Karima, who worked here before me, was always very friendly and helpful. I used to come in mostly for the books but I ended up with several journals that I used to do my university work in. And friends would always buy me presents from here.
What’s your favourite thing about Scriptum?
I would say the people I get to meet, who share my love of beautiful stationery and the other quirky things we sell. There are loads of people who have fascinating stories about why they need a particular sort of inkwell, say, and you feel involved in people’s lives when you help them choose a special present.
You do calligraphy don’t you? Did you learn after working at Scriptum?
I did, I decided it would be a lot easier to sell inks and dip pens if I actually knew what I was talking about, and then I found that I really love it [and she’s very good at it - ed]. And then we started getting lots of requests for calligraphy projects, so I started doing it professionally. I mainly do specially commissioned pieces for people who want quotes, poems and certificates. The strangest commission I’ve ever had was filling a beautifully bound book with painstaking calligraphy detailing the rules of drinking games for a college rugby team! I’ve had the occasional request for a love letter too, and those are my favourite.
You’ve lived in Oxford for three years now, can you imagine ever living anywhere else? Can you imagine Scriptum being anywhere else?
I wouldn’t really want to live anywhere else. Oxford suits me, and Scriptum suits Oxford. I imagine it might possibly work somewhere like Bath, but the idea of Oxford without Scriptum is unthinkable.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite Scriptum products?
[Holly starts panicking and shouts “but I love all of it!” as she ponders the question.] Can I say journals? I have a different journal for every single thing at home, I spend most of my pay on them. One for books that I’ve read. One for dinner parties I’ve given. One for gardening. I have one for lists of present ideas. One for general lists. I have a music manuscript journal for piano practice and I also have a separate journal where I record how much I’ve practised. And then I’ve got lots of calligraphy journals for practising new fonts and things. I’m really stretched now when we get new journals in to think of something I actually need it for. Yet I still buy them! Oh and I’ve got a translation journal and an etymology journal. [Ok, I think we’ve got enough now - ed. Holly points out that this doesn’t even cover half of her journals.]
An example of Holly's calligraphy