One recent Sunday on our way to the shop, my brother and I came across an estate sale which featured what looked like old stock of a 1950s office supply store. All manner of erasers, binder clips, clipboards, envelope moisteners, boxes of gummed labels, and any imaginable mid-century style office supply specimen was heaped in piles.
But mostly there were stacks and stacks of paper. Beautiful vintage ledger, engineering, graph, and lined notebook paper beneath dust, in cardboard boxes, some still shrink wrapped though yellowed with age. All sizes and weights, bound and loose leaf. A tangle of potential. We got the word that most of the paper would be trashed, but didn't have much time to come up with a plan for what to do with it. Due to its condition and inconsistent sizes and weights it wouldn't have been appropriate for a press run. If not for the press, it seemed like we should use it for something. We ended up taking the equivalent of a case or less.
After admiring the paper at the shop for a couple weeks, we decided on a design that would preserve the random nature in which the stock was found, show off its variety and color, and give it new function. Scratch pads.
With a level of fervor that we imagined Hrabal's protagonist Hanta of "Too Loud of Solitude" would have approved of, we hand collated the paper and arranged it in sets according to color and design, or our own whimsey. Then we cut the paper, padded it, and finished each pad with rounded corners.
The name "Old Scratch" was appropriate, so we printed paper bands and chipboard backing sheets with a logo and image referencing the image of "Old Scratch" himself.
Each pad features twenty unique sheets of paper, and each set contains three scratch pads. There were a very limited number of sets made, many of which were sent to our friends at Papier Labo, and others that we kept around the shop for note taking.