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.

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.

louise fili love stampWhat 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.

personalized letter sheetsWhat 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 

5 thoughts on “Post Script: Oh So Beautiful Paper’s Nole Garey

  1. I love this post. And I love Oh So Beautiful Paper. Thank you for the inspiration on your site. As a letterpress printer I am always looking for the meaning behind why I do what I do, and this post really reflects my feelings as well.

  2. I am “on board” with Nole G.’s code of handwriting and Handprinted correspondence
    1,000 %! I have always been the one of many in my family who writes notes and loves to get them in the mail. My disability gave me time to start a business with my
    life partner; we’re in TRUE Northern California, the city of Eureka, a Victorian Seaport, where in spite of 25% of our population living at the poverty level, we have
    incredible amounts of “THE ARTS” and everything from our Jazz Festival in the
    Spring (Sorry, you folks out there missed the Spring Jazz Festival in March and the
    Humboldt Harmonaires Barbershop Chorus’s spring Show that featured “Artistic
    License” as the guest quartet – they are Gold Winners! I am a disabled artist who
    tried to start a business with my guy in the “90’s” and then had to go out of business
    when I could NOT count one year. The Redwood Art Association, of which I am a
    member (here in Eureka, CA. in Humboldt County – we’d love it if folks who used to
    know “Humboldt County” as a very desirable(sp) place to grow that “evil weed”….
    It makes our day (and anyone who has limitations, illness
    or has been homebound for years, as I used to be) when we are lonely, or have
    just gotten that old “empty nest” or feels that no one cares – to get a note from some
    one who loves you, and not only that, it helps keep Americans who work for the
    Postal Service employed! I “found” my Great-Aunt Bertha who I never knew until
    around the start of the 21st Century, who wrote back and forth to me from OK until
    she passed away 2 weeks shy of her 98th birthday…and she took the trouble to
    send both my sister and I a piece of china from our Grandmother’s family to keep,
    as my Father and my Uncle (paternal) came to California when my Father was a
    teen – and both my Mother (who had moved west across the American continent
    as her parents sharecropped and scrounged industrially to support their family)
    and yet my stepMother (a.k.a. Mom2) was born in San Francisco and her family
    lived through the 1906 earthquake! She is gone, now – but our blended family
    and our offspring do carry on. I try very hard to remain an optimist even in the
    challenging days that we are all living through, and was delighted to win the
    Rhododendren Parade Poster Contest last year- and before that, in 2008, I had
    one of my “maze” puzzles published in Neurology Now; and that was the year I
    decided to get on with drawing, for one of my dreams was and is to be an artist!
    What happens to people like me, when your sister is still working and your
    parents have their own bodily challenges (Ravages of Aging + the hand of cards
    you’ve been dealt) and you can’t even get a picture entered in local shows, because
    you can’t drive and only have one vehicle and you are moving, with a home to sell
    (only the blasted economy is too weak to even allow us to get our remaining balance
    on the home loan paid off – not to mention the equity of my man who did “the most
    overengineered foundation” in the city of Eureka – well, as with every day, the plans
    must change and the Pain of your personal (diss?)abilities reminds you that yes,
    you are still alive. Friends don’t call anymore after years of this – I know, for it is
    19 years since I became disabled at age 34…. but getting a note is truly a life-line
    from a dear one. My motto is: I shall continue to correspond with my family, as I
    buy stamps to pay the bills and – once you try it, the rewards are wonderful! I
    treasure and have saved: the letters from two male friends as they went through
    the Navy out of high school, the correspondence of an old flame in Sweden that I
    had dated in high school… The notes from my Grandma Maggie, and all the
    wealth of Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, friends, etc. They DO “make my day!”

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