Whether stationery is your business or your pleasure (or, hopefully, both), Nole Garey’s blog, Oh So Beautiful Paper, is essential reading. Every day the Washington D.C. resident satisfies our appetite for stunning invitations, charming greeting cards, wonderfully unique personalized stationery and anything else fit to be inked. Here, the GW grad talks postage preferences, growing up with creative parents and why it’s important to write to the person you see every day.
Briefly describe your work and its connection with the post.
I am the editor and publisher of Oh So Beautiful Paper. I review submissions of work from independent artists and designers, choose my favorites, then create a post around the submitted work. I always include an introduction with my own thoughts about the work, but I also try to include something from the designer about the origin of the project, including the purpose of the project, inspiration sources, and printing specifications.
When did your interest in paper begin?
I’ve always been interested in design; my father worked as an advertising copywriter and my mother is an accomplished non-professional artist. As a kid, I was exposed to art and design and encouraged to explore creative outlets. Although I studied political science and international economics in college, I took a printmaking course that gave me some basic instruction in screen printing, letterpress, and etching. But it wasn’t until I became engaged to my husband and started to explore the world of wedding invitations that I truly fell in love with paper and the stationery industry.
Why do you enjoy writing about paper?
I love the connection with my readers — I’m both thrilled and amazed that there are so many people who share my love for beautiful paper, from wedding invitations to greeting cards to business cards. Each and every day I get to look at beautiful things, correspond with amazingly talented stationers and designers, and share their work with readers around the world. It’s the best job ever!
What is your favorite step in the process of written correspondence?
I love picking out the perfect card for the perfect person or occasion. Whether it’s the card design or the message inside, I love imagining the reaction of the person receiving the card when they open the envelope.
To whom do you most often write?
My husband. We send each other love notes in the mail on random days, even though we live in the same house. It can be so easy to get bogged down in the daily routine of life — running errands, paying bills, even housework. These little notes are a sweet reminder of our love for each other and the fact that we chose to spend the rest of our lives together, both the fun parts and the not-so-fun parts.
What makes a particular letter stand out from a stack of cards?
I’m always excited to see a hand-addressed envelope in a pile of bills and other not-so-fun mail. In a stack of greeting cards, I always look for three things: overall design, printing quality, and of course the text or message inside the card.
Do you have a favorite stamp or stamp series?
Right now I’m really loving the 2012 Love stamp designed by Louise Fili and Jessica Hische — the hand lettering is stunning! Historically, I’ve always loved any botanical stamp series, like this sheet of stamps from 1968-1969.
What is your favorite Crane & Co. product?
I’m a huge fan of everything from Crane & Co., from wedding invitations to holiday cards. But in this particular case I’m going to surprise myself by picking something rather traditional — I love the Crane & Co. hand bordered letter sheets. The letter sheets are such a classic and timeless way of conveying handwritten correspondence, and so much better than a blank sheet of printer paper! I also think it would be really fun to offer the hand bordered letter sheets in a range of bright colors, like yellow, coral, or aqua, for a more modern twist on a classic Crane & Co. product.
What do you see in the future of handwritten correspondence?
I think we’ll continue to see stationery and handwritten correspondence as part of a key element in the context of a broader lifestyle, particularly when it comes to what stationery represents to those buying and sending the cards. Sending a handwritten note conveys that the sender is a thoughtful, caring person with good taste.
Email, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media and electronic communication are important, but they make it easier to communicate with lots of people at the same time, rather than enhancing communication with a single person.
For most of us, it’s a nice and rare treat when we come home to a handwritten letter or card. This means sending paper — taking the time to buy, write, and send a letter — has enormous interpersonal value. Taking the time to sit down and write a letter has become a signifier, a mark of the importance and value that the sender places on the relationship with the recipient. I think we will continue to appreciate the value of handwritten communication.
Have a question for Nole? Email our Crane Concierge at firstname.lastname@example.org.