Next year, Stationery Trendsmagazine 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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How can you pick out the guy who loves what he does? He’s the one who smiles when you ask him about it. And then keeps smiling throughout the entire interview.
That’s Bob Gregory, a native of North Adams, Massachusetts (where our paper magic happens) who works an engraving press like no one’s business. He’s also a Red Sox fan and could never work at a job in which he was “just sitting there.”
That’s good news for us, and whoever has the pleasure of receiving a box of stationery created by Gregory’s skilled hands.
Here, he chats with us about being a “wedding man,” naming his engraving press and his one degree of separation from a certain blue-eyed crooner.