Designing cards has become a passion of mine over the past two years. I love the thrill of searching for interesting papers and the challenge of thinking of new ideas for designs. But my favorite part of making cards is being able to share them with the people I love.
As a child I can remember standing next to my mom as she opened the mailbox, itching to see if we would receive anything special that day. I would always hope for a brightly colored envelope amongst the mix of official letters and junk mail. Whether it was a birthday card, a holiday card, or a party invite, finding cards in our mailbox was the highlight of my afternoon.
I equally enjoyed sending cards of my own in the mail. I would spend hours in the department stores picking out the cutest Lisa Frank and Sanrio stationery and stickers...and gel pens were always at the top of my Christmas List.
However, not much time passed before email became the next best thing. Pretty, colorful cards were replaced by detached and less thoughtful emails. My Hello Kitty stationery eventually found its way to the bottom of my desk drawers.
A few years later, I was looking for a thank you card in the store for my supervisor. He had taken time out of his hectic schedule to guide me through a complex industry and offer me wisdom from his many years in the field. I wanted to show my appreciation, so I spent an afternoon trying to find him a card.
First, I tried the most convenient option: a local drug store in Manhattan. I picked out a few cards that looked decent and read them, but was disappointed with the cliche messages written inside. I had already spent 20 minutes searching for a card, with no luck. I decided to check out the selection at a nearby bookstore. I browsed through the different cards one by one, and in the end had a few in my hand to choose from. But, looking at the cards I had selected again, they all looked the same. They didn't give me the same excitement and thrill I remembered as a child.
After work that day, I stopped at a well-known gift shop to give one last shot at finding a card for my supervisor. I figured I could at least find a small gift if I couldn't find a card that was special enough. I wandered around a bit when I spotted handmade papers on display. I had never seen such delicate and unique papers before: Japanese rice papers, Nepalese papyrus, hand-embroidered sheets...slowly my childhood memories of collecting pretty stationery came back. Remembering how much cards meant to me, I decided to use these beautiful papers to make my own card for my supervisor. That way, the gesture would be much greater because I took the time to personalize a card.
After that summer, I started collecting handmade papers. I often wander around the streets of New York City, looking in store windows to find something special. I love going to ethnic neighborhoods to search for paper- it feels like I'm discovering hidden treasures! When I make cards with these papers and send them to my friends and family, they are always surprised to find something in the mail other than the routine bills and advertisements. Those cards make them feel loved, and they bring back the little girl in me.