Hello, my name is William Tatum. I am a rising junior at the College of William and Mary who’s currently planning on transferring to VCU to study graphic design. Today I am going to describe my favorite stationery item, first introducing it through a short poem
Great Messiah to my mistakes,
Destroyer of Worlds, Maker of Masterpieces,
What have I done to warrant your almighty Eraser-ness?
Whatever it was, I thank you for your kindness
(Plus you helped me get rid of that swear word Billy Thompson wrote on my math worksheet in the 4th grade BEFORE the teacher came to collect homework. We both know that boy scribbled that word with all the anger a sugar-fueled 9 year old could muster. I did NOT think that was going to come out so extra kudos to you there)
As you may have guessed, my favorite stationery item is the eraser. Growing up, I’ve always had a strange fascination for the office supply- it is rigid, yet rubbery; fair, yet firm; and both the creator and destroyer of great thoughts. Would you guys think I’m weird if I called erasers basically magical? My love (obsession? Nah…) for erasers started in elementary school when I was given two dinosaur erasers that I affectionately dubbed Rex(blue) and Sir James Stubbysarus III(orange). With such illustratious erasers, I knew, of course, that I could never actually use them (tough decision, I know, but the dinosaurs and I agreed it was for the best). This birthed my eraser collection. I know that collecting them certainly defeats their purpose but I just can’t help it- I’m a sucker for a quality, novelty eraser! Displaying them in my room growing up has always been a joy. As I cleaned my room more and more while growing up in, let’s just say “interesting” ways (.i.e., shoving everything into my closet. Sorry, Mom), this collection not only grew but also became more erratic in locations around my room (I’m talking about you, my Dia Day Los Muertos eraser from 10th grade that somehow found itself wedged behind my desk), though I still have a fondness for every eraser. My collection has grown exponentially throughout the years, so much so that I have over a dozen erasers around my room at practically any point in the year. Although I do have some very top choice members of the MVS (Most Valued Stationery) club, I do actually use most of these erasers. My kneaded erasers come to mind when I think about daily used stationery. I love its texture and how easily it lets me move from one idea to the next when I’m drawing. It is so putty-like, I can mold it in my hand whenever it is not in use as an absent-minded stress relief tool. It is possibly one of the best investments I’ve made(though it is definitely the smelliest- warm, kneaded eraser putty has an unmistakable smell that sticks with you for life but I have certainly grown used to it). As an artist, erasers have taught me that art can be made reductively too. To erase something is just as powerful as drawing something and it can be the difference between a just “okay” artwork and a masterpiece. I think everyone would benefit from the teachings of erasers; sometimes it takes destruction to see something as it was always meant to be seen. Creation and erasure are not opposites, but rather one and the same. Who knew erasers were also philosophical?
In conclusion, I feel that erasers are not just a crucial part of my development as an artist, but also my personal development as well in a weird way. If everyone took the time to really ponder the impact of their stationery items (influenced by a scholarship or otherwise), who knows what else we could discover about ourselves and the world we live in?