Next month, graphic designer and engraving expert extraordinaire Nancy Sharon Collins will publish The Complete Engraver, an informative and elegant homage to the classic art. Seeing as how said classic art and our paper go together like Fred and Ginger, we thought Collins a perfect addition to our Post Script Q&A series. Here, the former New Yorker (and current Louisianan) shares stories of her parents’ notes, a New Orleans estate filled with paper and a small stack of treasured love letters.
When did your interest in social stationery engraving begin? 1976 during graduate school at the Hartford Art School. I was introduced to Lehman Brothers in New Haven and I fell in love with commercial engraving: going on press knocks my socks off; I love the smell of ink and paper and the sound of small presses (metal against metal, fly wheels, iron and steel.)
Antony and Cleopatra. Romeo and Juliet. Scarlett and Rhett.
We love a good love story.
But our favorite is that of Pen and Paper.
Thus, we were delighted to pick the brain of Rick Propas — a specialist for Swann Auction Galleries, where he directs the newly created Department of Fine and Vintage Writing Instruments — whose first pen was given to him more than 50 years ago.
Rick Propas, lefty.
“In the Jewish tradition, it’s customary to give a boy a fountain pen at his bar mitzvah,” Propas explained. “I didn’t get one, and when I complained to my dad, he pulled out his own pen and gave it to me.”
Propas has been collecting vintage pens ever since.
“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over.
I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.”
Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”
We’re so excited to welcome guest blogger Mindy Lockard, aka The Gracious Girl, to our humble little space on the World Wide Web. As we mosey on out of April and into May, we thought she would be perfect to share her tips on rainy day activities to do with kids. Enjoy!
It’s said that April showers bring May flowers…
and with all of the rain we’ve had out wet, I mean West, this year… I’m looking forward to more than just a bouquet come May.
That said, we’ve found a fun way to pass the time inside by showering our loved ones with handmade treasures in the mail.
Samara O’Shea has loved to write and receive letters for as long as she can remember. So it wasn’t surprising that, in 2005, she launched letterlover.net, a letter-writing service that eventually turned into a book as well. “I write letters on behalf of any person who feels he doesn’t have the words,” O’Shea said. Thankfully, she has plenty of words to share about everything from a 1930s pen pal to why summer camp has a special place in her heart.
When did your interest in the epistolary world begin? I don’t remember. I remember passing notes in class and writing letters to boys I had crushes on, and I decided I didn’t want that to go away in a world where most communication is digital.