Bella Freud’s pen and notebook

Bella Freud, designer, has chosen a Rotring pen and a notebook by Postalco for Opening Ceremony

GB You’ve chosen quite everyday objects. Do you look for beauty in everyday life?

BF Well I don’t even really like the word beauty. It has a rarified connotation. Although I am usually looking around for something to attract my attention and open up my heart. I suppose with a pen and a notebook that’s the door that opens onto the whole world in my work, so there’s something incredibly special about having a nice pen. Words are incredibly important to me as well, so the act of writing something down and having a nice book and making a nice picture in it or jotting something down is something I just love. I still like to have an address book even though I don’t even seem to have any addresses any more! It’s the whole thing of making things, I’m always looking to make something I love, that resonates. I suppose that’s beauty for me.

GB Do you like the way the pen functions more or the way it looks?

BF Both really, I think at school we were really into Rotring pens but not these calligraphy ones. That was the fashion and we’d experiment with writing and showing off different styles. In those days it was so special, to have one thing like this was so important. My best friend, Karma, had one of these pens and she gave me my first one. I used to write a diary quite a lot. I had a really nice Hermes notebook and I really got into it. I gave this particular pen to my mother and after she died I was clearing out her stuff and I found it and thought I’d have it back. I’d forgotten that until this second.

GB So it’s very personal but also something that’s mass-produced.

BF Yes it’s something you can get again and again. And each time, the way it’s packaged is old school but seems modern. And even the way it leaks all over my fingers is something I don’t mind.

GB Do you look for beauty in art or do you see it as something irrelevant?

BF I might find something beautiful in art in a book but I’m not sure about the category of beauty. When I hear the word I think more about face cream.. which I’m quite interested in as well! I’ll often find myself saying things are beautiful but I won’t be looking for it. I suppose people in the 18th century were making glass and chandeliers and things of incredible beauty that have now become a part of our everyday lives and so it seems more modern and elegant to make something simpler. Those things that used to be beautiful have become kitsch and mass-produced and clumsily done, so it doesn’t have the same value without that one craftsman maximizing the extreme beauty of what he’s doing.

GB What qualities make something worthy of the word Beauty to you?

BF Kindness and courage are the qualities I value.

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