In an age where we show love more on our smartphones, tablets or computers than on pen and paper or even in person, I’ve taken an even greater interest in snail mail than ever before. I love crafting letters to faraway friends more than I like knitting or baking. There’s something about carving out a sliver of your day to share some love, positive energy or even joy with someone least expecting it that adds a bit of light to my day. My love of snail mail came in extra handy this fall as my partner Kaleigh has been at Officer Candidate School for the U.S. Coast Guard and hand written letters are one of our primary means of communication. I've spent much of the fall hunting down pretty cards to send her. So, I’ve selected a few of my favorite artists, small business owners and talented friends to share their thoughts on snail mail, and show you a bit of their work. They all make cards that you too could send to your friends. : )
Pretty Bird Paper
Mollie Thompson is a friend of dear friends based in Seattle, WA who’s work you can find online at prettybirdpaper.com. Based on her talents and portfolio you’d be surprised to hear she’s only officially been in business since 2016! She believes inspiration comes to those who seek it, so it’s a state of mind more than anything. It can be sitting in the morning light with a cup of tea, walking through a farmers market and seeing all the passions other people are pouring their hearts into, or getting myself to a place of natural beauty that takes my breath away. Mollie feels that, “Snail mail is kind of a fun gift we have these days, because for the most part, we don’t need it! It’s no secret that getting a handwritten letter just makes you feel loved. Writing a letter necessarily means stopping for at least a moment the thoughts about your own problems, to-do list, and schedule, and focusing that energy on doing something kind for another person. That’s healthy for the sender and happy for the receiver. There is no way that’s not going to make a couple days!! If people took the time every day to send that kind of love others’ way I can’t see the world not being a way more loving place. It’s the smallest beam of sunshine, but a very real beam.
Little Truths Studio
Lori Roberts of Little Truths Studio started her business in 2014 as a side job as she still worked full time in the healthcare field. It has grown slowly, steadily and organically over the last few years and she was lucky enough to quit her day job last December. You can find her painted and hand lettered works at www.littletruthsstudio.com. Lori finds her inspiration in curiosity, wonder, current events, poetry, and nature. I love the way she captures little every day moments, like kitchen sinks, wood stoves, and cabins in the woods. She feels that, “Snail mail is a lost art and one worth reviving! Nothing compares the the tangible feeling of holding a little piece of art in your hands, something that captures a feeling, a sentiment.
Twin Ravens Press
Kristen of Twin Ravens Press has been in business for 10 years this November. You can find her beautiful work here: www.twinravenspress.com. (And you've likely seen it at stationary shops across the country). As a very process-driven person, she says that she tends to find inspiration in the various technical aspects of the letterpress process. She also says, “I’m particularly drawn to simple, colorful imagery, patterns, cute aesthetics, and ironic humor” Her feelings on snail mail, “In a world of increasingly abundant digital technology and communication I think the act of handwriting a letter or card is more important than ever. Handwriting a physical card is akin to making someone you love a home-cooked meal vs. ordering them take-out. Both get them fed, but the care and time that goes in to the home-cooked meal (or handwritten card) in my mind is more demonstrative of a person’s care, dedication, and love, than ordering pizza (or just sending an email).”
Adventure artist Sarah Uhl is a well known name in the outdoor industry and her work can be purchased in larger art prints as well as cards. You can find her work on her website here: www.sarahuhl.com/shop and she also loves collaborating on unique projects or commissioned requests. Sarah finds inspiration for her art in a multitude of places. “I have always felt like I’m so in love with the world that I can barely contain it. It’s true. I am constantly finding magic and beauty in the world and most often it’s in the natural world. It’s in the woods or the alpine, it's in the changing weather, it’s in the early morning and late afternoon, and it’s in the blood sweat and tears it takes to get to the top of a mountain or into bottom of the next valley over. I do everything I can to work hard and play hard… and sometimes the playing hard is actually resting or finding peace in the natural world. They two complement each other and keep me in balance… and that is how I keep honest and keep creating.” Letter writing has always been a part of Sarah’s life, “I regularly correspond with my grandmother and a number of girlfriends through snail mail. My grandmother always writes the day’s weather conditions on the top left corner of a letter so I do the same in all the letters I write as well."
Maine based artist Hannah Rosengren has the most darling hand drawn cards and prints in her shop which you can find at shophannahrosengren.com. Hannah has been running her online shop for four years now. She finds inspiration in Scandinavian folk art, vintage botanical illustration and the nature she finds in her coastal surroundings here in Southern Maine. I've saved a few of her cards that I plan on framing and hanging in our home in Kodiak, AK. On snail mail Hannah feels, “I love snail mail! There is something about sending and receiving hand-notes that feels so much sincerer to me than a text or an email.”
My college classmate Rosie started up her business Homestead Press in her kitchen in 2015 and started screen printing cards in her garage shortly thereafter. You can find her hand cut cards here: http://erbullock.wixsite.com/homesteadpress. Rosie says she finds her inspiration from home. “The times I feel happiest or most inspired are often the smallest, most private moments that glue a day together – waking up to the sound of rain on the roof, family dinner at my sister’s house, the way my dog follows me from one room to another, eating a particularly good burger, or the way it feels to kiss my partner.” You can see these slivers in the delicate cuts in her cards - each showing the hard work and kind hand that made them. When I asked Rosie why she loves snail mail she told me, “In a box in my parent’s closet lies letters my parents wrote to each other when they themselves were in their early twenties. Those letters capture their own voices and their own changing, growing worlds. Letters capture a moment or period of time much in the way photos do. And, much like photos, we can save letters in a way that we can’t save emails, or texts.” She finds that, “The personality of snail mail is made up in the details, the handwriting, the stamps, the coffee rings or food stains on the paper, and of course the thrills and woes written in the letter itself. All these details are wonderfully personal and immediate, they are a window into a moment and into a life.”
Take a minute today and send a letter to a friend you haven't been in touch with in a while and support some of these lovely artists! I guarantee it will make their days.