Every year I think to myself that I really ought to make my own Christmas cards, and every year (with the exception of one or two one-offs) I have failed. It’s always a matter of time, and the closer to Christmas it gets, the busier life becomes, and the less time to put plans into action. Well not this year – I’ve actually been and gone and done it! As you might gather, I’m feeling quite proud of myself… ;)
A problem I always had is the slight wastefulness of Christmas cards. It’s obviously a lovely sentiment to send & receive cards to/from the people who are important to you, and perhaps don’t see as often as you would like. But then the card is just discarded, after Christmas has passed. So I was determined to come up with something that was a card, but also something more, something that might last a little beyond the holiday season.
My first solution is probably the obvious one: a card that is also a zine – something to read & savour, and possibly store to bring out again in future years. I started off with very vague ideas about the content of this card-zine that was beginning to form in my mind, but as I investigated potential content – and found all of the schmaltz & kitsch & cutesy sentiment that I definitely wanted to avoid – I discovered a theme that wanted to be explored & A Seasonal Celebration of Trees was born. I also discovered in the process that poet Robert Frost (who is one of the star features) had a tradition of sending out a single poem in illustrated booklet-form to his friends and family each year – so I feel I’m in good company. ;) The zine (card) is full of vintage illustrations, and various homages, in various forms to the fir, the pine, the evergreens that have come to be synonymous with the festive season. There is a poignant poem by James Merrill, who was dying at the time of its writing; and a wonderful verse-fable by Henry Van Dyke which brings the collection to a more upbeat end. Together, the prose and the images create a really soulful whole, which (for me) exemplifies the spirit of the season. Click here for store listings, further info & additional pics.
I was on a roll by the time I finished the zine & wanted to make some simpler cards to complement it. Simple doesn’t really seem to come naturally to me… I still couldn’t get past the single-use, throwaway card concept, so once I found some text & illustrations I was happy with, I grew the idea a little. The Evergreen Greetings are so-called because they a) feature evergreen trees, and b) will hopefully themselves last beyond a single festive season. Each card can be upcycled in the New Year, in two ways. The front of the card has the reverse printed to be re-used (re-sent) as a postcard, and the back of the card can be cut in half to make a bookmark. One of the insert greeting pages (printed on lokta paper) is entirely blank and so can also be easily recycled in crafty ways, by creative types.
I surprised myself in the production of this series of cards in that they predominantly feature poetry. I’m generally not a huge fan of poetry, excepting haiku, yet on this occasion, it was poets & poetry that found the words to express what I wanted to say. Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost is an understated, quietly precipitous poem; but Christina Rossetti’s Bring Me Holly, Bold and Jolly makes a wonderfully boisterous contrast, full of holiday spirit.
Click here for store listings, further info & additional pics.
That’s not quite all…
Before I became inspired by the celebration of trees, I was also working on a Yuletide edition of Enchanted Times Mini. For the front cover, I adapted some Little Matchgirl artwork by Heather Cuff (previously appearing in a Special Edition, earlier in the year) as Fast-As-You-Can Courier Company postage stamps. For the back cover, I added a scroll of ‘yuletide felicitations’ so that it can be given as a gift or card. The inner pages contain a seasonal front page story about the FAYC couriers’ bonus package, courtesy of campaigning by the Gingerbread Benevolent Fund, and aiming to reduce instances of the dreaded soggy Biscuit Syndrome. An introduction to the Fast-As-You-Can Weight Loss Plan (including gingerbread recipe) is also included, plus ads for Fast-As-You-Can CoCo Cocoa, and Light of my Life Matches. The Yuletide edition is now available – but only in the E.T.Printworks store – as a single copy, or in a set of 3, with envelopes & postmark envelope seals..