Whether writing a post or a letter, I always start with a blank piece of paper and a period of wonderment – What shall I write about today? This sweet little Victorian boy seems to be wondering too.
Because I’m fortunate to have lots of various interests, it doesn’t take me long to find things to write about in letters. Do you have lots of interests too? Years ago one of my college professors gave me a little advice. She said, “Develop many interests and cultivate them into passions. These passions will serve you well. They will act as legs for you to stand on. If one fails you, there will be others to support you.” I never forgot that advice and I worked hard to cultivate my interests into passions. I’m happy to say I succeeded, and you probably guessed by now that the Art of letter writing is a passion at the top of my list.
There are so many different aspects to letters. Today let’s talk more about one of the artful aspects – Stationary. I wonder if you have a favorite type of stationary. Some people prefer to have a trademark paper which they use for all their letters. I think that can be very nice indeed, but I like so many different papers, and in addition to what I can purchase, I really love to create a lot of my own stationary too. It’s Art Play!
I hope the stationary I create amuses my letter friends half as much as it amuse me. It’s important to keep my eyes open everywhere I go in search of materials to use for my stationary designs. The page of Victorian children seen above was one of my great finds. It is one sheet of about 30 which I purchased at an antique shop. These old-time pictures are part of a series reproduced and called The Gretna Collection. Historic images such as these are great fun to scan and use in creating letter papers and cards. Drawing just a little background, or perhaps putting words in the mouths of the characters, creates a lot of fun for me and my letter friends… at least fun for me!
When I began writing letters years back I never thought of art play as part of letter writing fun, but one thing often leads to another and some of my creative pen friends put one, then two, then 200 ideas in my head, and now I’m off and running.
I keep finding books that inspire art play. This book, “The Great Thumbprint Drawing Book” by Ed Emberley, gave me all sorts of ideas. Sometimes creativity just needs a jump.
Ed not only suggested all sorts of facial expressions for his thumbprints, but he also created a variety of thumbprint creatures. What a riot! I dreamed-up all sorts of ways to elaborate on his basic ideas, and if you get a copy of his book, you would too.
And this morning I wrote my friend Barbara in Rhode Island. I created for her a type of letter gift. I often speak of ‘the gift of a letter‘, so why not wrap the letter up with ribbon. Then it really looks like the gift of a letter.
I’ll decorate the outer packaging of the letter in various ways – with polka dots, abstract designs, or in this case, by cutting out little butterflies, chalking them, and letting them tumble out of the envelope when opened. (Here’s a tip though: If you’re making a seashore picture I wouldn’t use sand, for I tried that once when I lived in Boston and frequented the beaches there. The sand didn’t go over very well. My sister had just washed her kitchen floor, opened my envelope, and she had to wash part of her floor again. Oops!)
But back to my letter gift… can you see how the letter is placed within the outer packaging and then tied with a ribbon? I saw something similar in a card shop, but it cost a lot more money than my design, and besides the cost, buying that card would have deprived me of art play.
I find materials for art play in all sorts of places. The other day I was strolling around the charming town of Chagrin Falls and I popped into a very fun shop. Not only did I buy a wonderful music cd (Carla Bruni singing sexy Little French Songs), but I found the most delightful decorative papers. There were at least 30 different designs and though temped to buy one of each I mustered up some self control and purchased only four. Take a look!
Pretty snazzy, huh?
Nothing like a day shopping where you’re not looking for anything in particular but things just pop out at you.
When you have lots of interests and passions something is always popping up saying “Buy me!” And that’s why I limit my outings and shopping trips, but because we’re living in the material world we’re bound to discover things which delight us, and a little delight now and then – or a lot – makes life all the sweeter.
So, although the very best part of writing letters is the sharing of ideas, art play is great fun too. If you’ve never tried it, if you’re still typing black letters onto white paper with no color, design, or creative touches, it’s my opinion that you’re missing out on a lot of fun.
Maybe you’re having lots of fun, just different fun from me. If that’s the case, do share! You know what I always say.
Sharing doubles the Joy