When people talk about the art of letter writing I realize they are usually referring to the thoughts contained in a letter and the verbal construction of that letter. Just as one would write a novel or a poem writing a letter is a literary act. There is an art to how we spin our phrases and reflect upon ideas, but there is also visual art involved in letter writing too.
Hand writing is an art in itself. Unfortunately with technology many people are forgetting how to hand write and even worse, many children are not even being taught cursive writing. How will these children be able to read the great writing which has come before them? They will be illiterate. They will not be given the chance to develop their own unique script which is a reflection of personality and style.
But in addition to the art of hand writing there is also the very real art of stationery, distinctive papers sold in fine stores or those we create ourselves. One very frugal soul I have written to in the past worked cleaning offices after hours. She would raid the wastebaskets in those offices collecting any papers with a blank side and she’d use those papers for her correspondence. I must say some of the business matters discussed on those papers was as interesting as the thoughts and activities shared in those letters. The papers we use for our correspondence say a lot about us.
Pens, with their various fine or broad strokes, ink colors, types of paper, our unique hand writing all work together creating a uniquely personal and one of a kind missive. So the Art of Letter Writing is a combination of verbal and visual expression.
I do love all sorts of beautiful cards and letter papers which I find in stores all around town, but it’s great fun designing my own stationary too, using color and design in any number of ways. Some people tell me they have no ability in art but I don’t believe them. One doesn’t have to draw or paint in order to have fun with art. We can create bits and pieces of artful objects, arranging these things to create stationery that can be quite delightful. It’s called art play.
Years ago while strolling through an antique shop I found pages from some old magazine with the cutest historic images. I purchased these old illustrations and now scan them to decorate some of my letters. Adding a few sprigs of grass or background material makes for a fun looking letter. At least I think so.
How about writing the name of the month at the top of a letter adding some color. Perhaps edging the paper with that same color and adding a few polka dots…
… or using laces and/or ribbons, co-ordinating their color with that of the paper. Such touches may be simple, but they are still artful. My letter friends tell me they have great fun visiting craft shops collecting all sorts of materials for their stationary construction and letter writing fun. I do too.
I’ll see some cute illustration in a book and I’ll make it my own by changing a few details here and there.
Did you ever try making flowers by placing finger prints onto ink pads and drawing stems and leaves? . . .
I once saw boxes of greeting cards for sale. Each card pictured the drawing of a little handbag containing an initial. Now anyone can draw a handbag putting their own initial onto that bag and presto! You have monogrammed stationary for pennies a card.
My town of Hudson, Ohio has a clock tower on its village green. I love to sketch that clock tower on my stationary. I add a few trees of the season – a Christmas tree in Winter or a deciduous tree with green leaves plus a few flowers in Summer. Maybe your town has some famous land mark too. Did you ever try to draw it? Go ahead. Try.
When I write my sons I like to send happiness and hearts.
And there’s nothing like a little bubble therapy when I’m in need of a pick- me- up. Spreading the idea around to my letter friends is easy in words and in pictures too. Actually I got a card very much like this picture once upon a time. You probably get lots of cards too, cards that would be very easy to make your own. Why just color in a book? Use those cute cards as models, recreate those images, and then color your very own picture.
I’ve always loved flowers even way back when I was a wee little girl. I remember creating a little booklet back in the 3rd grade. Each page had the picture of a flower and a brief description. I enjoyed creating my little book and I was very proud of it. I remember showing it to my teacher expecting her to shower me with praise, but I was quite disappointed when she made nothing of it only suggesting I use that energy and time on my school work. HA! I continued to enjoy art class at school but it’s no wonder I stopped drawing flowers for a long time. Then in high school when given the option of extra art or music classes I chose the music probably because back in the third grade I was not given encouragement for my art. Music has been my life and I have no regrets, but when I became a letter writing enthusiast the love of art surfaced once again and now I regularly create stationary with drawings of flowers on my papers. The artist in me is back and I’m very happy she is. I missed her.
Maybe you liked art as a small child and somehow you forgot all about that love. But even if you never thought about art before, think about it now. It can be a wonderful therapy. It can be a most relaxing delight in your day and if you share your art in your letters. . . well you know what I’m always saying – sharing doubles the joy.
“True art is in the doing of it.”