This is not the first time I mention Muji1, a Japanese retail company with stores in many countries. Their idea sounds good: No brand2 quality goods with a simple, often minimalist design. The problem is that many of their products aren’t really “quality” as promised by the brand name. I remember buying a very nice, not cheap teapot that cracked the first time we put hot water in it3. Their Memo Pads don’t work well with fountain pens and their “cotton fabric bonded cover” notebooks are a catastrophe with fountain pens. I don’t think I have ever seen paper that is less able to cope with ink. They do however have nice products, too. Their “passport” notebooks for example – and William Gibson swears by their toothpaste. A few years ago I tried it for fun, but wasn’t too excited about it.
Make your own pencil set
Last week I went to the Muji store in Manchester’s Trafford Centre land saw this “Sawdust clay – Make your own pencil set”. Originally £3.95 (~ $6,45; €4.50) it was on sale for £1 (~ $1.63; €1.14). I couldn’t resist and bought three of these sets. There are no instructions in text form, there are only the instructions in picture form printed on the box. Each set contains 5 lead (length 9cm, diameter ~ 2mm) and two individually wrapped bricks of wet sawdust clay (~ 65 g each). As you can see from the instructions the clay doesn’t need to be dried on an oven. I assume it will just dry out slowly, once taken out of the protective wrapping.
When commenting on one of my previous blog posts Stationery Traffic suggested that I should bake a cake in the shape of a pencil – but now I’m in a situation that works the other way round: what shape should I make these pencils in? Suggestions are welcome.
Prices and exchange rates: July 2011