Monday, April 20, 2009

The Art of Letters

In this age of email and instant messaging, we sometimes forget it wasn't all that long ago letter writing was the only means of written communication. Words were carefully chosen, penmanship mattered, and the thoughts expressed were personal, written down for all eternity....

When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? When was the last time you wrote one?

I know, I know, I sound absolutely ancient here....

But there's a lot to be said for doing things the old fashioned way on occasion, don't you think?

For one thing, letters leave a tangible record for future generations. Given the test of time, emails, memos and blogs pale in comparison to letters, journals and diaries. The letter shown above is from Robert Browning to Elizabeth Barrett....so romantic. It's part of an anthology of love letters John presented me with a few years ago on Valentine's Day. Here's another page, this one from Sir Richard Steele (Dublin born English writer) to Mary Scurlock, penned in August, 1707. A declaration of love, the letter closes: "Dear Molly, I am tenderly, passionately, faithfully Thine, Richd Steele".

Sorry, but no one writes emails like that. ;)

Letter writing also forces us to slow down, to organize our thoughts, to use language as it was meant to be used, without abbreviations and acronyms. (Don't even get me started on "Ur" and "2 go"!) We may save a few seconds with this kind of communication, but we lose something far more precious.

This is all by way of telling you I've had letter writing on my mind for some time now...

I've mentioned the desire to create a large stationary chest for storing beautiful writing supplies, and I actually have TWO to share today; one completed, and one a work in progress. The chest you see below was created for a very special collector in New York. She was looking for something in lighter shades, neutrals, ivory and gold, with an old fashioned yet somewhat mystical feel, incorporating stamps and letters, and large enough to hold boxes of notecards....



Such a joy to paint this one! It will be on it's way in a day or two. :)

The next chest is in progress, and may even be completed tomorrow. It's shaping up to be a very elegant witch's stationary chest, and may also include a black cat and a raven, not sure yet. I want to add some hand lettering too - perhaps single words of inspiration like "magic" and "art" and enchantment"...Heres a sneak peek:


Oh - and did I mention I'm including a plumed pen, a bottle of ink, a brass seal and two sticks of sealing wax?! Yep.;)

Unless I receive an offer I can't refuse, look for this one on eBay very soon!

That's about all for now. I'm off to the kitchen throw a quiche in the oven, slice some strawberries for dessert, and pop an old movie in the dvd player ("The Philadlephia Story", with Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart)...

There's a lot to be said for "old fashioned". ;)

♥ ~ Carolee

12 comments:

suziart said...

I love it!!! So true!! What an awesome thing to have..those letters! Love the boxes, I also feel that life is becoming too obsessed with digital worlds instead of our hands. A shame...texting and the like is taking something so wonderful from us, the hand written letter. Have you noticed that in vintage writings that the penmanship is delightful??

Marbella Designs said...

What a lovely post. I would love to write letters once in awhile; I'm just awful with the written word!

Monkey-Cats Studio said...

Oh, do I understand this post. I do not text message and refuse to because of all of the abbreviations and acronyms, which are a whole language of their own.
The boxes are gorgeous and perfect for the writer of letters! My mother would wholeheartedly approve!

Micki said...

I love to write letters and still do, I have a few 'penpals' over the world and we email and phone each other but we also write letters,postcards and send little random things through the post, I just love getting letters like that in the post.

Micki x

Creepy_Creations said...

I like what you wrote about letters, it's so true!! I really love the first box, it is wonderful! I can't wait to see the second one done!! Nice work!!

Jamie

*retro-rudolphs* said...

Carolee, I loved reading this post! I think the last hand written letter I can remember receiving was in the 90's from my Nana.

These two pieces are charming!! I can't wait to see the work in progress completed.

Lori

CraBBy GaBBy said...

My heart skipped a beat..so beautifully put...
the piece itself is timeless :)
Heidi

Samantha said...

Oh, yes ~ it's wonderful to hear someone singing the joys of the old-fashioned ways, like the art of letter writing.

I often write my blog posts in my writing notebook first, just to get the experience of that slow process of working by hand and toying with words carefully. I think it changes the way you write.

I love your witches chests and your art. Thanks for stopping by my blog coz it means that I've found yours!

Bright Blessings.

Sarah (PrplCrab) said...

When I was away in germany I wrote and received a ton of letters and they are something I will cherish forever. I love this box - the vintage mixed with whimsical. Great job :)

Designs By CK said...

WOW ~ What a beautiful and CREATIVE WIP piece. LOVE IT!

Chris (-:

Halloween Fanatic said...

Is this the EHAG key???

Carolee said...

Nope - as far as I know it will be more prominent, and on the first page of someone's blog...I'm not even sure who it is - must check it out! Good luck!!

~ Carolee