Kristen Magee plays with paper. Every day. [Insert envious swoon here.] More than five years ago, the graphic designer and paper crafter launched Paper Crave, where she waxes poetic about all things stationery and shares drool-worthy images of cards, notebooks and anything else you can take a pen to. Here, the self-proclaimed owl and ‘80s music lover talks ditto machines, terrapins and what she might break out, should she decide to go a little crazy. Letter writing-wise, of course.
When did your interest in paper begin?
I’m sure that I’ll date myself by saying this, but I remember how excited I used to get when my first grade teacher would hand out freshly mimeographed papers and worksheets. The slightly damp texture and distinct, purple-ish smell of a page fresh off the “ditto” machine made me a happy little first grader.
Why do you enjoy writing about paper?
I enjoy writing about paper because it’s such a versatile and accessible medium. It makes me happy to be able to share creative and innovative paper creations with fellow paper lovers, and there’s always something new to talk about!
What is your favorite step in the process of written correspondence?
I really enjoy looking through my collection of paper goods to find just the right card/paper/envelope for the occasion, but I always feel a little giddy when I drop a letter into the post office box and send it on its way, too.
If you could be pen pals with anyone in history, to whom would you write and what would you say?
I would write to Queen Elizabeth I of England, and we would talk about the inner workings of her reign and what it was like to hold such a powerful position as a woman during that period in time. Oh, the stories she could tell!
To whom do you most often write?
I write most often to my grandmother and to my sister-in-law.
Can you describe the most memorable letter or postcard you have ever received?
When I was in my late tweens and teens, I had a pen pal who was from Manchester, England. I learned a lot about British vs. American English through my correspondence with her, and I remember receiving a letter from her in which she talked about what she had received for Christmas that year. Her gifts included a “mini hifi” and a “terrapin”, and I thought that these were wonderfully magical British items that I’d never heard of.
It took me a while to figure out that a mini hifi (I pronounced it “hiffy” in my head) was a stereo, and I learned (by looking it up in the dictionary) that a terrapin was a turtle. Pretty cool Christmas gifts, but not quite as magical as I’d first imagined. I still laugh when I think of how perplexed I was when I first received that letter.
To you, what makes a particular letter stand out from a stack of cards?
A non-white envelope, a beautifully lettered or calligraphed address, or a grouping of vintage stamps will always catch my eye.
Do you have a favorite stamp or stamp series?
The Love Ribbons stamp by Louise Fili, Jessica Hische and Derry Noyes is absolutely gorgeous, and the 2009 issue King and Queen of Hearts stamps by Jeanne Greco are also favorites.
What tools do you use when you write a letter? Do you have a favorite pen, a typewriter, or special stationery? What makes your correspondence distinct?
Sometimes I like to get a little wild and use a pen with brightly colored ink – hot pink, teal, red – but most of the time I stick with my “go to” pens, a Pentel R.S.V.P. Fine Point and one of my new favorites, a Kokuyo Fit Curve Ballpoint. I like to use colorful envelopes, and I often seal envelopes with a sticker or stamp that compliments what’s inside.
What is your favorite product created by Crane & Co.?
It’s a tough choice, but I have to say Lettra paper because so many of my favorite letterpress cards and invitations are printed on it.
What do you see in the future of handwritten correspondence? What do you think letter writing will look like in a decade or two?
I don’t think that handwritten correspondence is going anywhere. In fact, I’ve seen a renewed interest in letter writing over the past year or two, as more people find themselves feeling unfulfilled by much of the communication that takes place online and look for a more personal way to express themselves. In a decade or two, I can see handwritten correspondence holding an even more special place in our culture. It may be a less common means of communication, but it will convey a meaning and importance that email cannot.