As a stationery brand, we are always curious how and what people use our stationery goods for. With this blog series, focusing on the hands at "work" and beyond, we ask five questions about the usage and meaning of the stationery tools to our friends in Los Angeles.
We've hit the 10th post mark! Thank you for all of our WORKING HANDS friends who shared their stationeries and spaces with us.
For our tenth post, we had a lovely visit with a LA based artist, Aline Cautis at her house in Mt. Washington neighborhood.
Q1. What do you do with Hightide stationeries; Trusco container, penco carrier, Picus brass plate & penco Prime Timber pencil?
I keep using the Trusco tool box for different configurations, to try and see what fits best - right now it is for my yarns and sewing supplies specific to one project I am working on. Because I am going back and forth between my studio and home to work on these pieces having them in a portable case is very helpful.
I am testing the penco Storage Caddy with a variety of things, the best is for use for my ceramic tools. They can stand upright and I can move them all together to different working areas. I was using old jars previously.
penco Prime Timber; I am using this for sketches for work. I work in made to order tile for Heath Ceramics - I often sketch basksplashes and details of bathrooms to help customers figure out what they need to order. It is a real upgrade from my work ballpoint pens and brings me a little extra joy!
Picus brass plate is both a decorative object and a place to place needles while I am working. often I need to put needles down and pick them up with only one hand which means using a pincushion is too difficult. By placing the needles I am using (often 2 at a time) on the plate, it is easier to find them while I am working at home. Previously, I would lose them in my shaggy couch and sometimes even sit on them.
Aline's layered painting in the works
Q2. In our technology driven world, what does it mean to write by your hand to you?
Writing by hand slows everything down. You have to think about the quality of line and your penmanship. It also can record the state of the user. I can look at my notes and see if I was in a hurry or frazzled or relaxed and taking the time to write properly. It is really a record in and of itself. I also write by hand to remember things. The physicality of writing itself creates the memory.
Aline uses her penco Monthly Panner in B5 with a landscape index in green.
Q3. Pencils or Mechanical Pencils?
Mechanical pencils! Man + mechanism, it's a collaboration between person and mechanism. I have my mother's Koh-i-noor mechanical pencil, it's from the 70's or 80's I think. I have a few from architecture school as well.
Q4. What’s in your pen case? How do you carry your pens?
A few lead pencils, a few watercolor pencils, a muji pen, eraser, small metal sharpener, 2 or 3 small watercolor brushes, a small roll of washi tape and my watercolor case. (sometimes it does not fit)
A selection of Aline's writing utensil choice: left to right - Pentel sign pen in sky blue, penco Prime Timber 2022 in red, and penco Bullet Ballpoint Pen Light in khaki.
Q5. What is your most favorite stationery?
I don't have a favorite stationery, I do love buying stationary whenever I travel, which has not been much lately, I look for small stationary stores, drugstores, anyplace they have low cost basic supplies, they are often simple, utilitarian and beautiful. In the US, I like steno notes, recycled ones are best often Mead. Dollar stores and small corner stores usually have the best stationary. Japanese stationary is something I have always looked for as a teenager in SF, visiting Tokyu Hands in the 90's and through Aya with Hightide!
One of Aline's stationery collection – her mother's staple remover.
Aline Cautis is a LA based artist. She is currently working on a series of layered paintings which blend the domestic with her studio practice. Recently, Aline has made ceramics for a cookbook edition and for Alika Cooper's Plant Sale LA.
You can find Aline's work at her IG account under