Marby & Elm

For Eleanor Tattersfield, owner of the Clerkenwell stationary shop Marby & Elm, nothing says it better than a letter. To receive a letter is a wonderful thing and writing a card with a sincere message is a heart felt way to convey ones feelings. A “New Home” card or a “Thank You” note from someone who came for supper is far more suave than a quick drunken text on the tube on the way home. We may all live in a fast paced, hectically scheduled world where we barely have time to get sick let alone write a card to say “Get Well” – surely an email from work will suffice. Well, we think not. Laziness will not be tolerated at our house and a hand written letter to say thank you for a birthday present (even if it is another awful pair of socks) will be how we communicate from now.

The Beginning

Marby & Elm is the Mecca to a letter writer. Eleanor has created an old-school stationary shop with a very modern twist from her garden shed with and old letter press she bought on eBay. Letterpress printing is in her blood. Her father, a lettering artist encouraged Eleanor and her two siblings to make cards when they were children and little did he know that one day he would be providing designs for her to sell to the likes of Jamie Oliver, Cath Kidston and lots of lovely people who pop into her shop on Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell.

Moving Up

After the garden shed Eleanor moved operations to a studio in Hampstead, then came the likes of Liberty who wanted a piece of her flamboyant cards and cheeky notelets, so bigger premises were need. Mary & Elm’s first stand alone shop was in Clerkenwell and you would find Eleanor’s sister on the shop floor and Eleanor printing bespoke small batches of letters and cards for customers while they waited.

Printing Process 

The letterpress printing process is a time consuming but highly rewarding one. It involves setting up movable metal or wood type, inking them and then pressing the letters to force an indentation in the paper. The result is a de-bossed impression which when you run your fingers along it feels and looks very different to mass- produced digital print. Marby & Elm’s designs are a mixture of vintage type and her own (and her father’s) hand drawn motifs. printed in vibrant fluorescent colours. Each piece of card or paper is hand –cut, printed with hand- mixed ink and hand-fed into the letterpress printer to create a uniquely crafted piece of stationery.

You can find Marby & Elm in Exmouth Market, where it neighbours some of London’s coolest restaurants, street food stalls, artists and shops. If you can’t get to London this weekend, then why not take a look around the online shop here (you can pretend you’re actually there with the virtual shop tour too!)