celebrity shopping

What Writer Leanne Shapton Can’t Live Without

Photo: Robbie Lawrence

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. We asked artist and Swimming Studies author Leanne Shapton, whose new book Guestbook comes out next week, about the black tea, space heater, and ballpoint pen she can’t live without.

I first came across this in Paris or maybe at New York Central Art Supply, and the watercolors have this tint and tone in a way that typical watercolor sets don’t. There’s some kind of white or black mixed into them so the colors are weirder — usually watercolor sets have very primary tones, but these have a bit of milkiness, which I love.

My friend gave me one of these as a present once, and the point on these ballpoint pens is so fine that it looks like a sharp mechanical-pencil mark. I’ll sign originals with them, and it just creates a really thin point. It’s sort of a precision instrument.

In New York, which is the land of the non-working fireplace, I found that I was missing something. I’m Canadian, so I like a brick house with a true fireplace. I searched and compared online all these different fake fireplaces, and I found this space heater–slash–fireplace that I love. My daughter will say, “Mommy, can we read a book in front of the fire?” There’s nothing like warmth in the room coming from this locus of heat and light. It gives off heat when you want it to, and it doesn’t if you don’t. You can just turn it on so you see just the fake flicker of the fire. Can I live without it? Probably, but it’s improved my life.

This is a printer that prints four-by-six prints, which I love because their object value is so rare. I love sending my family prints of things I’ve taken photos of, and if I need to have something I’ve taken a photo of within reach, I’ll just make a print of it and stick it behind me so it’s not just in digital form. It objectifies and solidifies it like a Post-it note, only it’s on glossy Epson paper.