Lauren Kay will write you a letter: All you have to do is ask. The New York resident has penned requested missives to her childhood sitter’s daughter and a high school boyfriend’s little sister, just to name a couple, as well as unrequested — yet very much appreciated, we’re sure — ones to her own friends and family. One can read about her correspondence escapades — and request one of his or her own — on her few-years-old site, Letters From Lauren. Here, Nora Ephron’s biggest fan talks big zip codes, love letters and her favorite scene from When Harry Met Sally (hint: it doesn’t take place in a diner).
When did your interest in the epistolary world begin? It all started with box of Crane & Co. engraved ecru stationery, a gift from my grandmother. I was nine. It came with a fancy pink pen, which I was only allowed to use for proper correspondence. In hindsight, it was all a ploy to get me writing thank-you notes (I grew up down south where manners were practiced with emphasis). But it worked! And I’ve been writing letters ever since.
Donovan Beeson loves a good ka-thunk: that sound one hears as the mail drops into the postbox. As the co-founder of the Letter Writers Alliance — an organization dedicated to, among other things, providing letter writing tools as well as pen pals — she hears that sound quite often. Here, Beeson talks to us about “goodie boxes,” her motley crew of pen pals and her position on supermarket stamps.
When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
I’ve always loved sending and receiving mail. I can remember my maternal grandmother sending what she called “goodie boxes” to our house at every holiday. They were simple collections of candy and small toys, but everything was magical because it was wrapped up special and came in a box. Now, I’m the one who sends the boxes of goodies and I like it just as much being the sender as being the receiver.
How did the LWA come to be?
My business partner Kathy started her stationery business 16 Sparrows in 2003. I came on to help with production when she started graduate school, and together we evolved the business into something less like a business and more like a lifestyle. In 2007, we started the Letter Writers Alliance because the most common statement we would receive was that people loved our stationery but “no one writes letters anymore.” We decided to create a network so that all of those letter lovers would be able to write to each other and no mailbox would ever go hungry again.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people — I have met so many different, interesting and thoroughly engaging human beings through letters. In my return pile right now is an active duty soldier, a 12-year-old equestrian, a retired engineer, a teacher returning to work soon and so many more. I get to see slices of life that I would know nothing about, direct from their sources. I love it. Continue reading →
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.)
For a while, we’ve offered collections that cater to the enthusiast who is big on style and small on time. The idea being: a few choices — ink color, motif, font — instead of something completely customizable, which, while stunning and very personal, can be a daunting process.
While we wanted to keep the process simple, we also wanted a collection that spoke to today’s trends. And so, our VP of Creative & Product Development, Rachel V. Ivey, and her team began with step #1: The Inspiration Board. Continue reading →
If Carrie Crane’s last name sounds familiar, it probably is (especially if you’re reading this blog). Crane & Co. has been a family-owned business for more than 200 years, and, well, Carrie is part of that family. So, one might say she was born with a love of classic correspondence.
That love, combined with her designer chops, aligned last year when Carrie — who grew up in Dalton and was in and out of the mills with her father from a very early age — won the Crane family’s design challenge. The winner would see his/her creations turned into exquisite notes, which are made available online and in retail stores. Which means letter lovers all over the world will be penning their thoughts on her signature stationery.
“Winning the Crane Family Design Challenge was really a big deal to me,” she said, “and seeing the cards beautifully engraved, with the their luscious, lined envelopes, in Crane & Co. boxes is so exciting and truly makes me proud.” Here, Carrie — an artist for more than 20 years — chats with us about pen/paper harmony, the joys of junk mail and why she’d love to have a cup of coffee in Egypt.