This past Friday, Detroit News columnist, Marney Rich Keenan, wrote in her column that not only do we not send handwritten letters any longer; but now children are not even being taught handwriting in school. Apparently, learning how to print neatly will be enough, and then students will move on to learn keyboarding. Handwriting will be reduced to rudimentary printing, and cursive writing will be a lost art.
Ms. Keenan's article, Individuality is lost as art of handwriting dies, brings up a lot of hot issues for me, and it is well worth reading. I hope you'll take the time to read it. As a calligrapher, it makes me even more concerned than I already was, that ours is an art that may be in peril; and how do we bring calligraphy to today's youth? If they don't even know how to write in cursive, will they have any interest in the tedious work of learning to write with a REALLY old fashioned pen that has to be dipped in ink? It would be infinitely easier to just find a pleasing font, and layout whatever information needs to be conveyed on the computer, but it would no doubt be lifeless and boring (at least in my opinion).
I think like a lot of things, sending and receiving a hand written letter will become even more cherished, because it is so uncommon and so special. Recall how sociologists worried that the computer would isolate us even more than we already were at the time? (I'm thinking that was around the time of the Y2K scare). And now, we seem even more connected than ever, through blogs, emails, text messages and the like. Likewise, the DIY movement has been seen as an antidote to sitting and looking at sterile computer screens all day... we like to use our hands to produce things. We like to make things. And some of us like making cards.
So, in an effort to let Ms. Keenan know the art of letter writing is not dead, I made her a card and made the envelope, and did my best to make it pretty. It went in Saturday's mail and I hope she gets a kick out of receiving not only a handwritten letter, but a handmade one to boot!
This is a simple watercolor piece I cut up and glued to the front of a 4x6" vellum cardstock. There's a kind of a shadow on the upper left front of the card, which is a stamp image done with Pearl-Ex Interference Gold, so it doesn't show up well on a scanner.
If you like making cards and sending letters, take the time to write to someone you've been thinking about lately, and let them know they've been on your mind. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to receive a handwritten letter in return. And if you can't think of anyone to write to, email me and we can be pen pals!
Here are some links to some mail art sites that you might find interesting:
Now, GO MAKE SOMETHING!!! :D