Stationery In Real Life: The Postcard Project

Box of Postcards

I’ve had this Friends of Type Keep Fresh Stay Rad giant box o’ postcards for awhile, and have slowly been using them to send quick notes to friends and family when there isn’t time for a full-blown letter. (I tend to make a federal case out of letter-writing, something I plan to work on and improve in 2017. A quick letter is better than NO letter, right?!) Even though I am using these postcards, it became apparent that it’d take me awhile to go through the whole box, and I’m trying to get better about using things up.

That issue was in my head when I read this article. (Go read it…it’s inspiring.) Too many postcards + the Seattle woman giving away postcards = my solution.

Postcard Project

I work at a college in upstate New York, managing the stockroom in the college’s Science Center. The stockroom has what I call “the pizza window” because it looks like a window that you’d walk up to to order pizza or ice cream or burgers. Students regularly come to the window, not for pizza but for chemicals and lab supplies—the perfect venue for offering free stamped postcards.

Some are inspiring.

Win the World!

Some are artfully profane, but a good reminder during stressful times, like final exams.

Chill the fuck out.

The students have been amused by the giveaway, and have politely asked, “Can I really take these?” Yes…absolutely! “That’s so cool!” they say as they smile and slide a carefully selected postcard into their lab coat pocket.

I like picturing the surprised recipients who probably don’t get much handwritten mail from their BUSY child/grandchild/sibling/friend. It really doesn’t take much time to lift someone’s day. A couple of minutes. A few words. A happy recipient.

Peace and Joy and Cake

Here’s to peace and joy (and cake) in the new year! Let’s stay in touch.

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Shaking the Fear Of Art

The summer I was 10 or so, my parents signed me up for a kids’ art class at the local art school/museum. One of our first projects was to stand at an easel (cool!) to paint fireworks. I covered my paper with dark colors for the night sky, then painstakingly got to work painting the fine details of the fireworks display I’d seen the night before. I love the ones that look like chrysanthemums…huge and bursting with fine streaks of color and light. The instructor made his way around the class, and when he got to me, he took a wide brush in his hand, dipped it in paint, and painted RIGHT OVER my finely detailed work with his own wild and broad strokes. “THIS is how fireworks look!” he blared as he painted. I remember feeling like I was painting “wrong” and wanting to go home.

I was 10 then. I’m 57 now. I should just get over this. But the nagging idea that got into my head that day—that art is something with right and wrong answers, like trigonometry—never left me. Even then I knew, as he was ruining my painting and my psyche, that I was entitled to my own interpretation of fireworks—but that criticism somehow crippled me. I shy away from art—though I ADORE art supplies—because I don’t want to get it wrong.

I need to shake this.

I faithfully listen to Ana Reinert’s and Heather Rivard’s “Art Supply Posse” podcast and this has been the just the thing to nudge me in the right direction. When I drive to and from out-of-town doctor’s appointments, I devour the episodes and the advice. They leave me saying “I can do this.” I want to do this. I WILL do this.

At the DC Pen Show, Ana recommended that I check out books by Danny Gregory. As with all things art, I characteristically dragged my feet, but this week I finally picked up a copy of his Art Before Breakfast. Merry Christmas to me!

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I haven’t had time to do much more then leaf through the pages, but I’m already excited. I’m going to make art. Bad art. Good art. Right art. Wrong art. Quick art. Slow art. Art.

About a year ago, a friend sent me a copy of Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal. She bought a copy for herself and the plan was for us to wreck our journals simultaneously, then mail them to each other to see who was the most destructive. We have similar personalities and the idea of wrecking something, especially a book, does not come easily. My book remains pristine, and, last time I checked, hers was in the same condition.

Wreck This Journal

Ah, perfectionism. What a cruel master.

2017 is the year to let loose. I will wreck this book. I will mail it to Teresa in all of its destroyed glory. I will.

Lest anyone think that my perfectionism means that our house is in pristine order, I say, “HAHAHAHA!”

That stationery corner

Our dining room is in relatively good shape, except for this piece of real estate. Ouch. You can tell by the boxes that I’ve tried to get a grip on things, but then the going gets tough and my will to continue dries up. I’m vowing, publicly, to sort, organize, and store all of the pens, pencils, and notebooks you see here. I also vow to use them.

There is much work to be done, but it’s fun work. Making art, letting loose, organizing and using my stationery treasures.

It’s about damn time.

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A footnote about the art school experience: Decades after that unfortunate summer class, I returned to the Adult Community Art Classes to take a bookmaking/printmaking class and had the time of my life. Even though I was the “scientist” in a class full of artists, I had a blast making books because there is measuring and right angles. The professor, who remains a good friend, never told me that I was doing things wrong. She let me be as precise as I wanted to be while encouraging me to let loose. She was everything that summer instructor was not. I love you, Lisa.

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A few of my handmade books

You know you’ve gone off the deep end when…

your pens match your socks.

Bombs Socks and ACME Crayon Pens

So off the deep end I go. I also have a pink pair of the same socks and a pink pen, but that pair is in the wash so you’ll just have to imagine how great they look together. This was not a planned thing, but rather one of those fun surprises that can pop up in a day. An ad for Bombas (“Bee better”) recently popped up in my Facebook feed, and rather than zipping right by, I gave the ad a look and wound up ordering a 4-pack of socks. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bombas, they’re a company with a mission. The ad notes that “Socks are the  number one most requested item at homeless shelters.” You can read the full story here. Minutes after reading their ad and browsing their website, I ordered a 4-pack of the Bright socks right from my phone, before even getting out of bed. For every pair purchased, another pair is donated to a homeless shelter. What a great mission, and, I hoped, good socks.

Now I’m normally all about muted colors, with a wardrobe full of taupe, but as I browsed their site, I knew I had to order the Brights because THEY WOULD MATCH MY ACME CRAYON PENS. Because pens matching socks is a thing, right? Oh, it isn’t?!

The socks arrived last week and I’m super happy with them. They’re nicely cushioned, the colors are great, and I feel good about helping someone in need get their own pair of fresh new socks. I’m already planning to order some of the Merino wool socks (taupe!) for work and sport socks for the gym.

I’ve always been someone who likes matching their fountain pen ink to their pen. (I recently put some Sailor Waka Uguisu…a mossy looking green…into an orange pen and that almost gave me hives.) But who knew that I’d become someone who enjoys matching their socks to their pens.

There is, it seems, no end to the madness.

There are no affiliate links in this post, and I have not been compensated in any way for my endorsement of Bombas. I do, though, hope you’ll check them out, and maybe order a pair or two. Or four. Read more about them here.