Remembering Why I do What I Do

The wonderful customer who ordered the beautiful baby blue typewriter sent me this lovely email today after receiving it. It always makes me really happy to receive appreciation like this and to know that something I have created can give someone real pleasure is what keeps me doing this through the tough times. 

Thank you so so much.  It is just all my heart’s desire in one object.  I cannot thank you enough for all your hard work, attention to detail, skill, thought, patience and kindness.  Please never ever stop doing what you do as you do it so well.
I am glad it was not a chore for you and you are proud of how it turned out.  Please know that it will be adored, cherished and pounded upon daily.  Just love it.  And I too will be trumpeting quietly your marvellousness and causing people to weep over the banality of their ipads.
Whenever I feel like giving up and going and living in a cave, I’ll read this and remember why I do it. 

Studio Days, Mysterious Musicians next Door

My studio is shared with other artists and musicians, and most days the distant sounds of bands practicing fills the building. For the last few days a band has been playing next door that I’ve grown to love, I don’t know who they are or what they look like but today, along with the sun filling the room, they are making me feel very lucky to be here doing what I do. 20140730-151038-54638910.jpg

Delicious Hermes Baby

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I always seem to connect colours with foods, especially anything pastel. This Hermes baby is really making me crave mint and strawberry icecream. I don’t even know if that exists, but it should.

The Hermes baby comes with these gorgeous mint green keys, and I stripped off the original grey / green paint and repainted the body in a soft baby pink. The colours work so well togethere so it would have been a shame to refurbish the mint, so we agreed it looked better with the keys left in the colour they are. As it is, it looks utterly unique now and rather fetching.

The customer for this particular order requested an Azerty keyboard – the French style instead of the qwerty we are so used to, so I imported this one from France for her.
After touching up the space key, and finishing the pink paintwork it will be a real beaut. 🙂

A beautiful Baby Blue Olympia left the studio last week!

It was definitely one of my favourite commissions, what a doll. I hope it enjoys its new life in France. The customer was quite creative in her request, and I was asked to put some text just under the badge – in typewriter font that said “You’re my favourite type of obsession” – but with the b of obsession being a little wonky – like in a murder mystery story where they can tell who committed the crime by the tell tale wonky typewriter letter! You would probably have to have read a decent amount of 1940s – 1970s murder mysteries to know why that would solve a crime.. (or Bunty for Girls comics). 

Anyway, it was a beaut and now it has gone to a loving home. 

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“Truth Difficulty” by The Roving Typist

I love that this exists 🙂


IMG_5802Back in February, I wrote about The Roving Typist, a writer who spontaneously creates stories on the streets for people, “stories composed for you while you wait.” He doesn’t keep copies of his stories, he doesn’t keep track of who buys them. He just writes them and then lets them go.  His work began as a way to make some money, but has evolved into a kind of performance. I have reposted the video about him at the end of this post.


The reason that I am writing about Christopher Hermelin is that I ordered a story online from him and it just came today! He had asked if I wanted the story to be about anything in particular and I gave him free rein. With great anticipation, I opened the envelope. Inside the larger envelope was a card-sized envelope stamped with his insignia (typewriter-above left) and the title of the…

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E-Book Launch “Typewriter SOS: The DIY Guide to Fixing Common Problems with Manual Typewriters”

This essential 45 Page E-book has been made to help the sea of people who bought a typewriter from a charity shop and for some reason it has stopped working and the only people who know how to fix it are either retired, dead, or live really far away.If this is you, don’t worry help is here.
Written and illustrated by Claire La Secrétaire Typewriter Studio, we have been reconditioning typewriters for 5 years and have had hundreds of typewriters through our doors all with varying problems. We have put this concise guide book together from our experience in diagnosing and fixing most of the problems we come across, most are easy, all of them are fixable.
The first reason that this is better than scouring the internet for hours in the hope of finding an answer to your particular typewriter issue is:
Because how are you supposed to fix it if you don’t know what’s wrong with it?! I know, you may not know what all the parts are called and you don’t want to sift through every section trying to see if it matches your problem, so that’s why we’ve written a troubleshooting section so you can diagnose what the problem is, without the technical terms.

Some of the 15 problems we talk about in this book:

If your typewriter works fine, but it only types in one line like this:



If your carriage is loose and there is a piece of string flapping about underneath it.

If the upper and lowercase letters aren’t aligned

Turning the letters inside glass keys the right way round

If the ribbon is faint even though it is not old

And much more.
45 pages with photos and illustrations of step by step instructions on how to fix 15 different typewriter problems, and to have you up and running in no time.

Extras include information on specific models that have specific problems (such as Olivettis, Byron, Oliver, Swissa Piccola and Remington), what some of the buttons and levers are for, and where to get replacement ribbons, as well as links to our youtube videos to help with specific problems.

There are a few common problems people come across that can be easily fixed, because mostly a lot of these things aren’t problems at all, it’s just about knowing which lever is causing it and then sorting it out. No two models of typewriter have their levers in exactly the same place, but in this zine we point out the broad area and show a few different examples for you to see. Typewriters are machines that have been made using precision instruments, they rely on every angle and length and spring and cog working together to get the letters to hit the page, just one small adjustment of one part may result in the complete mis-alignment of the letters on the page, so taking it apart could completely ruin it.

This zine is designed to show you what you need to unscrew, what to leave alone, and what bits you can fix without having to take your typewriter apart and completely ruining it.   

This is a 45 page downloadable E-book, which you will be able to download as a pdf file as soon as you make the purchase from the Etsy shop for a bargain £5!!!


So if you have a problem with your typewriter do not delay! Get the e-Book today! Click Here for the Etsy Shop!