Post Script: Stationery Trends Founder Sarah Schwartz

Next year, Stationery Trends magazine will celebrate its fifth anniversary, a statement to the perseverance of the people who cherish the art of handwritten correspondence. For the magazine’s founding editor, Sarah Schwartz, stationery and letters were a natural extension of a feisty, book-fueled imagination. Here, the former summer camp letter writer extraordinaire talks about pen pals, lunch box notes and why we should think of Abraham Lincoln the next time we’re angry with someone.

stationery trends founder sarah schwartz

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
To me, writing letters and corresponding is a natural extension to the world of reading. From the time I learned to read at age four, I have loved entering and creating imaginary or past worlds. A great letter is just that, really — a little glimpse into another very personal world.

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Post Script: Nancy Sharon Collins, Author of “The Complete Engraver”

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.)

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Post Script: Calligrapher Ashantai Yungai

When it comes to projects of the epistolary variety, calligrapher Ashantai Yungai, founder of Distinctive Inscriptions, isn’t one to back down from a challenge. So, when a bride asked him to pen 1,000 envelopes for her Hawaiian wedding, he not only agreed, he blogged about the two-week-long endeavor. With a good nib, a little Joni Mitchell and a bag of flour, he proved victorious. Perhaps it’s Yungai’s science background (he’s a chemist by trade), but it seems as though he has found the formula for the perfect flourish.

distinctive inscriptions calligraphy founder ashantai yungai

Ashantai Yungai, born to flourish.

Of course, we would never ask him to share his ‘secret sauce,’ be he does share with us missives pertaining to pens, sisters and the future of the handwritten word.

When did your interest in calligraphy begin?
June 2008. I am a chemist by trade. A friend saw my handwriting in my lab notebook and asked, “Did you write that? Wow man, that’s pretty cool! You should do calligraphy. People do wedding invitations and envelopes using calligraphy.” I thought little of it at the time. I bought a calligraphy pen on a whim one day while shopping for art supplies for my son. I began writing with it. From there I was off to the races. 

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Post Script: Jackie Brown, Monogram Artist

Like chocolate and peanut butter or Fred and Ginger, stationery and monograms just work perfectly together. Making sure that they do is our resident monogram artist, Jackie Brown.

Whether you’re into swirly or straight, diminutive or daring, she can turn initials into works of art. A monogram, after all, is the ultimate expression of individuality. So it made sense, then, that we get personal about, well, getting personal.

When did your interest in the monogram begin?
My interest in monograms began shortly after being hired by Crane. I was hoping to develop an art-based career. I found such an opportunity in making monograms. Monograms allowed me to become creative, thereby making them my art.

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Post Script: Mrs. Lilien

We’re adoring fans of Mrs. Lilien and her fancy finds. So we were delighted to hear she was coming out with a book. We were even more delighted when we found out it was a book titled “Mrs. Lilien’s Cocktail Swatchbook,” a collection of 50 classic recipes that have been updated with a modern twist and fashionable accoutrement.

Because one good hostess quality (serving stellar sips) deserves another (sending stellar stationery), we thought it made perfect sense to ask our new favorite dinner party guest about our favorite fancy subject: correspondence.

When did your interest in all things fancy begin?
August 10th, 1979. There hasn’t been a day in my life that I haven’t been possessed by my love of all things fancy!

Why do you enjoy writing about letters and/or correspondence?
Because it’s ladylike + because it’s FANCY!

What is your favorite step in the process of written correspondence?
Probably signing my rather gargantuan and rather flamboyant signature.

If you could be pen pals with anyone in history, to whom would you write and what would you say?
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt — without question. In my fantasy she begins each letter with “OMG…”

To whom do you most often write?
Love letters to Mr. Lilien.

Describe the most memorable letter or postcard you have ever received.
A wildly amusing ditty from my friend Mr. Adler regarding my gifted urn (aka: my final resting place).

What makes a particular letter stand out from a stack of cards?
Fine, thick paper and subtle yet extravagant detailing, such as embossing, letter press, color edging. These pieces always get opened first!

Do you have a favorite stamp or stamp series?
I’m always a fan of the silver screen actresses of yesteryear. Nothing screams class quite like a little bit of Audrey Hepburn on the upper right hand corner.

What makes your correspondence distinct?
Inside of every Mrs. Lilien correspondence that I send, I always sprinkle just a few gold sequins into the envelope for an added touch of glam!

The one etiquette rule you never break?
Be a lady in all things — while this is vague, it covers vast no-no’s that I find abhorrent.

The quote you live by?
“Go big or go home!”

P.S. If you’re in NYC Thursday night, please stop by what is sure to be a fabulous cocktail party at Jonathan Adler’s SoHo boutique to celebrate Mrs. Lilien’s new book.  Kindly RSVP here.

Post Script: Calligrapher Angela Welch

Quite often we get asked about one particular wedding invitation design we offer. More specifically, we get asked about the ‘font’ on that invitation.

silver bevel calligraphy personalized wedding invitationThe font in question, we tell them, is actually calligraphy done by one Angela Welch.

calligraphy artist angela welch pen and pauperThe bubbly Alabamian (is there any other kind?) has been providing her fanciful flourishes for us for years, and so we thought it was about time we highlighted the woman behind the nib.

When did your interest in calligraphy begin?
Before the age of six for sure. In first grade I never knew my place in the reader when my teacher called on me to begin reading — I was too busy trying to write a “fancy” alphabet of my own.

My first calligraphy job was in the sixth grade and a teacher asked me to letter, in Old English, the heading of a flyer to be printed. I loved the challenge of making a beautiful mark with lots of different mediums. My fascination with flourishing as a whole arm movement began in the third grade.

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Post Script: Oh So Beautiful Paper’s Nole Garey

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.

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Post Script: Liz Richmond, owner of The Paper Bag

Fifteen years ago, Liz Richmond did what most stationery lovers only dream of doing: She bought a stationery boutique. Situated across from an amusement park in Allentown, PA, The Paper Bag has been in business since 1982 (30 years if you’re counting). Richmond joined its staff two years later and has been there ever since. Here, she talks with us about celebratory stamps, Old Money and why she thinks classic correspondence isn’t going anywhere.
Paper Bag owner Liz Richmond

 

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Post Script: Kelle Anne McCarter, Stationery Designer

In her bio, Kelle Anne McCarter says she grew up on a golf course. We’re glad she eventually traded sand traps (not that she saw many, ahem) for stationery design, as our collection now includes cards graced with her stunning calligraphy. Here, the proud Texan talks with us about her perfect pen pal, a comic book love story and the two things every Southern girl should have.

kelle anne mccarter

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Post Script: Ellen Prague, The Paper Shop

Owner of The Paper Shop in Winter Park, Florida, Ellen Prague has been in the stationery business for more than 30 years. Her love for beautiful paper, however, goes back much further than that. Here, the former New Yorker waxes poetic about vintage stamps, Jackie Kennedy and the fancy 5th Avenue store that inspired her own boutique’s name.

Ellen Prague, with Boutique Greeter Nikki, at The Paper Shop.

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
Watching my mother write thank you notes and letters on her beautiful pale blue stationery was my first glimpse of the elegance of communication. When I went to sleep-away camp at age 8, I was expected to write at least a letter every day and I would run to mail call to receive my daily letter from mom, and sometimes from dad and/ grandparents — it was the highlight of my homesick first summer at camp, and remained so all the years at camps and away at schools.

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