My best shopping experiences are at places that allow for creative and intuitive browsing. The kind of places you can spend a few hours in wandering into nooks and crannies. Art supply shopping is an intuitive process for me. The materials themselves each represent infinite possibility. They suggest ideas. It's entirely possible to end up on a different path with a project that I hadn't thought of before.
The floorboards creak, the wallpaper is at least 70 years old. Peeling paint and a worn staircase are just another dimension in a multi faceted experience. Finding materials at Askew Taylors feels like discovery. It's inspiring.
The store is quiet. Not creepy quiet, but warmly quiet like a bookstore. Since it's an art supply store there are rainbow color spectrums of pastels, pencils, pens and paint tubes. There's a room full of every type of paper: colorful and patterned, lacy, fancy, plain.
Askew Taylor's has been in business for a LONG time. It's a family run art store. Kirk, the owner, is a great person to have a conversation with, and always super helpful and generous with artists, letting us try supplies out. He has passed the baton to his daughter Helen who is equally friendly and helpful.
Being Raleigh, and somewhat of a smallish city, you can count on running into an artist friend or two when you visit the store. It's the kind of place that you can be in and out of in five minutes or linger for hours.
I like that it's not slick or made of shiny plastic. I like that it's not a "big box" though they carry everything a "big box" would. It's friendly and personable. It's a place with a soul.