I justify my stash of art supplies by the fact that I live on an island and have problems accessing some of what may be basic art supplies to others who may find them in an easy trip to a local art store. Yes, I can find the basics here and the variety is growing, but then I read about or see other types of paper, paints, pens, etc. online or when I travel and I realize that there is a void in my supply source locally.
I use mail order a lot to get art supplies, both in Canada and the USA or when I travel, I do my homework beforehand to make sure I know where the best art supply stores are and ensure that I'm within easy distance of getting to them.
There are challenges in shopping online. I can't soak up the atmosphere of the store. I can't browse and touch and see the supplies. I can't touch the paper to feel its weight. I have to trust the colour on my monitor not my eyes when choosing paints, coloured pencils or pastels. I have no impulse purchases, no bargain bins, I don't see the 'specials'.
With the Canadian/US dollar being pretty much on par now, I can can cross border shop more easily, but savings are often negated by shipping, duties, and brokerage fees. However, the USA often has supplies that I just can't access in Canada. Or not at a price I want to pay in Canada. So I usually do some American shopping a couple of times a year and suck up the fees that go along with it just to enable myself to access a wider variety of supplies.
I have a number of art supply stores that I mail order from and the list could be endless if I had the time to track them all down. But I wonder where are the REALLY good ones? Where are those little backstreet gems that you whisper about to others as you don't want to spread the word too far in case the exclusivity you've created becomes the norm?
Its time to share what you know with others.
- Where is the art supply store that you frequent locally?
- What is your online source for art supplies?
- What makes them unique and what keeps you going back?
- Do you have a wish list of art supply stores anywhere in the world that you'd like to explore?