The Pleasures of Making + Receiving Handmade Letters

Every time I receive a hand-written letter in the mail, I feel like I am about to open a very special gift. Given their rarity, hand-written letters ARE a gift. Created by the writer, uniqueness is built-in, as is this message: I was fully present when I made this for you, and took the time to do it because I care about you. A handwritten-note’s effect is usually WAY more than the effort it took to make it, both personally and professionally.

Isabel Rower card 3 sally

The majority of my personal collection is made up of artwork from friends and LETTERS, whose very personal hand-wroughtness makes them artworks in my mind. Sometimes they are a mix of the two, like the condolence note (above) Isabel Rower made me, and the letter her father Holton sent me MANY years ago from Sweden. He attached a feather to a piece of cardboard on one side…

Holton Rower/Sally Schneider

Holton Rower/Sally Schneider

…on the other, with brush and paint, he inadvertently wrote the nickname — “Golly” — that I would come to think of as my true name.

Holton Rower/Sally Schneider

Holton Rower/Sally Schneider

For some serious, handwritten or illustrated letter inspiration, check out the Smithsonian’s 178 Hand-Illustrated Letters. We what Gio Ponti did with simple ink:

Archives of American Art

Archives of American Art

And we’ve always loved Andy Warhol’s stationary; the letterhead was said to have been hand written by his mother and then printed to make his stationary and business card:

Warhol Stationary

Handwritten thank you notes are also a great tool for getting work, or entrée to someone you want to talk to. Improvised Life’s assistant Mira Keras‘ charming handmade thank you note, written in quirky handwriting and stamped with a colorful circus stamp made me know that she REALLY wanted the job. She got it!

She shared her formula for the charming handwriting: quill pen and ink.

Mira Keras

Mira Keras

She recommends Speedball 6-Nib Calligraphy Lettering Set and Higgins Black Magic Drawing Ink

Higgins Black Magic Ink

They make the act of letter writing a pleasure for the recipient AND the writer.

No comments yet.

Leave A Comment

subscribing = loving

If the Improvised Life is a source of creativity, inspiration, ideas and change in your daily life, please consider becoming a Friend with Benefits. A little bit goes a long way towards helping us publish fresh AD-FREE content each day.