Near 16th & Walnut Circa 1991

Taws 1991This is the paper counter of a Philadelphia art supply store I’ve written about before. Papers and art boards would be ordered as one would order meats and cheeses at a deli counter. A member of the large staff would wrap up the paper or boards and would tally up a handwritten receipt that would be paid for at a separate cashier. As a customer and an employee, I thought the arrangement was annoying, but now that this sort of store has been lost to the sands of time, I have come to appreciate it. Buying paper at one of the art supply super-stores is a drag. Self-service usually means every man for himself, and it’s a mistake to let art students paw through the paper drawers. I came to that realization when I was seeking a sheet of Strathmore bristol that had not been pawed over by an uncaring rabble.

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