stationery … enfin, ca y est!

October 27, 2008 § 7 Comments

I have always marveled at those who make things, useful things, beautiful things, well crafted things.
So many are talented at it without seemingly batting an eye. They card and spin their wool to make sweaters, they chop and shape their wood to make furniture, they gather the roots and stems and stuff to make their own paper.

Others create art/crafts which, although not from the “root” materials, they know how to use the materials, bring them together to affect just the right thing – just the right scarf, the right painting, the right pottery, the right handmade book.

And then there are those (of us) who buy everything to join it together to remake something that, in truth, already exists! Like those that buy candy molds and then buy slabs of chocolate, melt it down and pour it into the molds.  It is true that it is making something, but then again, it really isn’t. It’s faux chocolate (unless they use really really good chocolate), using plastic molds that also came from the store. (Fess up; you’ve tasted some of that melted-and-poured-in-the-mold chocolate and wondered why they bothered. Sorry – I’m a snob about my coffee and my chocolate.)

So there are (at least) three ways to do it, make something, create a wonderful craft:
1) Totally from scratch (and you’d better have a patron – you are likley an artist and can’t do anything but your art);
2: Use a (natural) material to make something completely else.  (How anyone can see a gorgeous skein of yard in its own right and turn it into a turtleneck is far beyond me! Remarkable!) 
3: Buy everything in the world and then sort of juggle those purchases into making something that …might have been less expensive to buy as an already finished product (as with the “faux” chocolate makers) to begin with! (not that there’s anything wrong with that – the joy is in the making.)

I would like to be part of group #1.
But, no.
I have joined group #3, above, the buy-all-the-stuff crafters who then decorate it.
It’s true. It’s true. (I turn and blow my nose into my tissue for faux pitiful sob effect.)

Here’s the thing.
Recently, I made stationery.
But no, I didn’t really.
I bought the cardstock. It was even pre-folded.
I bought the envelopes.
I bought some geegaws and some froufrous with which to decorate both of the above.

I did not craft my own paper, make my own inks or dyes nor even create my own stencils.

So, after spending a certain small exorbitant amount, and laying everything out on the table, along with all the little tools I’ve collected in terms of playing with paper (exacto knife, bone paper creaser, brads, glue dots, stamps, ink, piles of varied paper and textures – in short, everything but a plan), I got to work.

I sat at the table and cut and pasted and glued (nope, this was not kindergarten class – this was in my own darn dining room) and I thought and hummed and frittered and cut and angled papers and “stuff” and tore some of the designs apart and laid them out again (as though I had something really complex going on!) and, well, certain pieces just didn’t turn out to be either that original or that exciting … but, one presses on, hoping to hit on something terrific (as with writing, BTW).

I had high expectations. I was working with favorite colors of the person who would be recipient of this finely crafted gift of stationery.
Oh yes, this was the best part of the plan – custom colors!
Their initials imprinted on the paper by my own little hand (yes, with a smudge or two) using the newest in acrylic stamps! 
And, ribbons!
And awesome fabric button brads!
The works!!!

HM walked silently past the table from time to time. “Very nice,” he would say.
He used his kind voice.

And so, I came up with this.

Yes, I could have purchased something. Or, better yet, had the custom color stationery imprinted by a pro. It would have been fabulous, and beautifully packaged as well.

I guess I just wanted to do it myself. To push a little; to see what would happen. To have several hours at the table and when anyone in the house shouted “What are you doing?” I could shout back “I’m doing art.” Is that the  expression? doing art? (sounds sexy). performing art? (no, this was not a performing art). Creating art? Yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket.

And you know what? I am willing to bet that a lot of writers long to, hope to create something visual besides being a writer who puts words on paper.  It would be nice to have something hanging up, or something that moved, performed, was obvious.  We trudge along in print of one sort or another all the time and would like to be able to pull an artful rabbit out of an artful hat every now and then. (And there are plenty of writers who do, who are multi-talented.)

Thus, we knock, often vehemently, on the door of the visual muse (I don’t know which one she is, but surely there is one representing “active” art, one to be experienced without reading.)
I have knocked and will likely knock again, in spurts perhaps, but arts (and crafts) can be like that.

In the meantime, there is this pile of stationery now to be wrapped in tissue, boxed and mailed to the friend.
I can’t help but think that the blue ribbon tying the notecards and envelopes together is my favorite part! (sort of like an excellent ending to a short story?)


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§ 7 Responses to stationery … enfin, ca y est!

  • laylou says:

    Mel is going to love them! They look great =) Bravo and job well done, I say.

    Also enjoyed the post about Snarl and the horses. Kind of funny.

  • shoreacres says:

    The proof to your point is sitting here at my elbow. I have a poem (a poem!) I’m going to post later this week, together with the little story of how it came to be.

    But my poem was so beautiful – to me – that it needed something more. So I found the photo, and chose the font, and arranged the text artfully on the photo, and then framed it in my little cyber-frame shop.

    And now it’s printed and I’m thinking, I really should go buy some photo stock to print it on.

    I’d show you, but then you wouldn’t have the story to go with it. So in a couple of days go peek at my bit of artsy-craftsy!

  • nik says:

    Even thought you’re a Cat3 I still think it’s beautiful.

  • oh says:

    Laylou, you know better than anyone if it’s something Mel would like. Mailing it tonight, enfin!

    Linda, Can’t wait to see your piece!

    Nik, thank you! (I’m still working the project; I have tons of paper) Who knows? maybe holiday cards are next?

  • anno says:

    Beautiful! You done great! And, yes, I know what you mean about the need to get out of the ethereal world of words and print. That’s one reason I like to cook (my forays into other media having had far less satisfying results).

  • Jeanie says:

    Oh, my dear friend. Do not, repeat, do NOT sell yourself short! It isn’t the materials. So you buy the geegaws and glue them on. Who doesn’t? But what you did here was pick glorious color, combine them with unique shapes with movement, grace and style, put on just the right touches to make them personal and professional — not too little, not too much.

    Yes, I think we “do” art. And I think what you did is wonderful. I never think to play with shapes, but you are inspiring me! Someone will be lucky indeed!

  • oh says:

    Big thanks, Anno and Jeanie – and the stationery is mailed! All the paper and accessories is waiting on the dining room table as I head to my nanowrimo file.

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