Featured retailer: Two Hands Paperie

Our goal is to help you make things with your own two hands.

Two Hands Paperie began on Pearl Street, in the beautiful city of Boulder, CO. in 1993 as a small bindery with a few hand-bound books and a small rack of decorative paper. Mia Semingson and Gerald Trainor took over the store in January of 2010, “Mia and I both shopped at the store just about from the time it opened in 1993, says Gerald. “ Mia apprenticed with Diana (the founder) as a bookbinder and worked in the store for many years. We also did custom printing and bookbinding from our own studio for the store before just taking over the whole thing. So, we were intimately associated with just about the entire process and most of the products before we became the owners. It was a sort of natural progression. “

Today, the store carries hundreds of journals, notebooks and over 30 racks of decorative paper, as well as cards, books, fine writing instruments ( a passion of Gerald’s), and unique gifts from around the world.

But the soul of this place can be summed up in their name and clever

credo:‘our goal is to help you make things with your own two hands.’

When asked if that was their mission statement, Gerald answered,

“I would say that this pretty much sums up our mission. It is in our employee handbook, along with a more comprehensive statement about what our employees represent. But it would say in a nutshell this is our overall goal. “

At Two Hands Paperie, you will find art and creative supplies that can include bags of paper scrap and small tins of old watch parts, Washi tape and watercolor supplies, sketchbooks and crepe paper, decorative papers for art, rubber stamps. To inspire, they conduct creative classes in mixed media, drawing and printing, bookbinding, collage and journaling, painting and evenencaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, which involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. They promote creativity through the knowledge of their staff; ” All of our employees are artists, and many have “studied” in some way or other- bookbinding in Italy, letterpress printing, drawing, photography- so we feel VERY suited and competent when it comes to helping people with their projects. “

Two Hands supports the Boulder community of local artists by getting them from their studios into the shop to offer book signings, artists’ lectures and to teach about new techniques and materials that not only the artist is using, but that the store is introducing. Each artist sets up a temporary studio space in the “Paper Room”. Another highlight is their monthly “Creative Playdate”, where customers can come into the shop/studio on the first Wednesday of the month to hang out with fellow creative types. They bring a project, a question, or an idea to work on along with their own materials and tools. Sometimes it just the inspiration they need.

At Two Hands Paperie they have a paper selection that represents every corner of the globe. Gerald and Mia hope oneday to get to an international trade show to find even more selections. ” We hope, as the economy improves and the dollar strengthens (fingers crossed) we are planning to- Paperworld is our first choice. “

Personally, he states, “I have both the A5 and A4 size writing pads and envelopes that I use exclusively for writing letters and notes.

I also use the art pads, as do most of our employees; they are great for traveling, the smaller sizes, and can easily become a ‘postcard from the road’ when traveling.”

We love the Rossi line, all of us. Everyone in the store uses it. Whenever someone comes in and says they want to write a letter, I take them straight to the Rossi writing pads. And they always walk away with a pad and envelopes and are ready to take up letter writing (something we promote here) once again. We will talk to anyone who will listen about the importance of writing by hand, letter writing, and the pleasure I get from writing on fine paper with a fountain pen.”

When asked what he loves the most about owning Two Hands Paperie, he says, “I would say my favorite part… changes with the day. Some days it is just being able to talk with people as long as we feel like about their projects, our projects, about materials and tools, paper, pens, and so on. Other days it is about seeing all the great new books that just came in and picking out the ones we want to read. Or trying the new watercolors or fountain pen that just came in. And it is always about knowing that what we are doing really means something to so many people and to the community. We promote local artists, the local artistic community, and personal self-expression. And we get to be a part of it all! What could be better?!”

One can see how the people of Boulder say they “couldn’t imagine Boulder without this store.” The store is a feast for the eyes and a feast for anyone with a creative spirit. You can shop online as well, (although a much limited product line) if you are not in the Boulder area. That is good news for all of us!


Two Hands Paperie

803 Pearl St.

Boulder, CO. 80302


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