Write type

letter im-pressed: Marby and Elm founder Eleanor Tattersfield
letter im-pressed: Marby and Elm founder Eleanor Tattersfield

You’ve heard it all before: traditional crafts are having a resurgence, and we have the hipsters to thank for it. Nowhere has the shift away from mass production become more evident than in the field of communication; where a string of independent stationers are capitalising on our nostalgia for the lost art of letter writing.

Eleanor Tattersfield is one such craftsperson, reviving the lost art letterpress printing as the founder of stationary and gift shop Marby and Elm, which opened in the heart of Clerkenwell late last year.

The range of bespoke letterpress stationery and paper products has been winning legions of fans for their modern design and traditional methods of production; hand-fed into a vintage press. Almost every item in Marby and Elm’s range is designed, printed and packaged in the shop; an endearing though not altogether surprising prospect when you consider letterpress is in Eleanor’s blood.

Her father was a lettering artist in the 1960s and 70s, and often encouraged Eleanor and her siblings to make their owns cards and gifts. Now, the whole family gets involved with Marby and Elm; Eleanor as the principal designer, sister Charlie as the manager and brother Tim looks after the website photography.

What started as a hobby for art historian Eleanor quickly became a full time business, with commissions from Cath Kidston, Jamie Oliver, Liberty and John Lewis. She moved the business from her garden shed to a small studio, then to the shop near the corner of Clerkenwell Road and St John Street in November last year.

The Marby and Elm aesthetic pairs vintage fonts with contemporary pops of colour; a combination Eleanor describes as “antiquemodern”. Thick luxurious sheets of card bearing quotes like “You’re so vain, you probably think this card was made for you…” will make the corners of your mouth quirk, as will bright tote bags emblazoned with “Never Let Me Go”. It’s a marriage of modern design and traditional production that is likely to see Marby and Elm flourish well into the future.
Marby and Elm, 33 Clerkenwell Road EC1M 5RN