Friday, December 24, 2010

That time of year!

We want to wish everyone a very Happy and Merry Christmas! Here's to hoping it's a wonderful day and very much full of joy!

~The Ladies of Ars de Carta

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Long Day

Well, this week seems to be turning into a sort of tangential week, somewhat like my life. I had three or post ideas sitting there, waiting to be written, but none of them worked out. The clay and typewriters post was benched by equipment malfunctions, the thank you note post just sounded pompous and dry, and the post about clay and typewriters and hands? It fizzled before I even wrote the first sentence. I'm stuck slightly high and dry, but I still want to post something...
I think this is what they call a post-finals slump. Everything just starts to shut down, leaving you in a rut. So, I think I may well leave this post at that, and let the lovely M share some more with all of you, and try and come up with something brilliant and witty for my next post--the slump should wear off in a few days.
I'll see you all then.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bookbinding, but not exactly what I meant...

I know I promised this post several days ago and that I've been desperately slow about getting to it.  Forgive, forgive!  It's finals week and I've been up to my ears in a crazy bookbinding project for class.  I thought I'd be talking about paper and technique and the value of such a skill but I have something better to talk about instead.  Tonight was my bookbinding final, which in the world of art classes, consists of a pizza party and impromptu showcase.  I got to display my entire semesters worth of work for my professor, along with my fellow students.  There were some amazing things. 
But the highlight of the night was the look on my professor, Mark's, face.  He was flabbergasted.  Literally speechless.  And I was thrilled.  And though I know I sound like I'm bragging, it's not pride I'm feeling.  If I could pick a mentor, I'd pick Mark.  He gets me.  He didn't tell me like everyone else that I was crazy for spending upwards of sixty hours handwriting, illuminating, and gold leafing a manuscript style poetry anthology.  In fact he understood completely why I'd undertaken such a huge task. And he was pleased.  He knows the satisfaction of working with your hands.  He felt the resonance of a job undertaken and well done.  So, while my back is killing me, I think I have carpal tunnel, and I am mentally exhausted and emotionally drained, it was entirely worth it.  I poured everything I had into something good and I did it well.  There is no better feeling than that.  Not one.  In fact, I think I may do it again.  Later.  After I've slept for...who knows, just wake me in time for Christmas.  Real post on bookbinding to come at a later date.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My turn.

I'm A. This whole thing was my crazy idea, though M didn't put up much of a struggle at the dragging along part of it.

And about me? Well I'm an artist, as the name applies (specifically a potter), a writer, a photographer, and a lot of things in between. And I'm a scientist. It's an awesome combination. My plan in life is to end up a small town doctor, living in the mountains and just enjoying life.

I'm another one of the barefoot types, even in the winter and at the barn, and like M, I have a tendency to sleep on the floor. I think it's the random little things like that that make it possible for M and I to be friends... just random enough that things get entertaining...

Just a warning--I'm a terrible speller. If it weren't for spell check and the red lines, some of my work would be unreadable. I love the smell of campfires and raku firings, and of sweat and leather and sweet horseflesh. I'm from a rural farming area, and some of that seems to always carry over into the rest of life.

I tend to ramble on when I write, so please, bear with me on that. But I love talking, ad it's a running joke that give me twenty minutes with someone and I can find something we can talk about.

I think I've said what I need to now... M and I, while good friends, are dramatically different as well--but like I said, that's what makes this so fun.

I think we missed a step...

Whoops...Perhaps A and I ought to introduce ourselves before we get too carried away.  My apologies.  Hi, how are you?  My name is M.  I'm a fourth year English student at Brigham Young University.  No, I have never waited for a missionary.  No, we do not pray at the beginning of every class.  No, I do not have horns.  Yes, I do think BYU lives up to most of its cliches.  And yes, as A is a student at the rival university, we are a little amazed that we're friends.  I want to be a librarian and a book conservationist when I grow up, or una bibliotecaria as I finally learned to say in Spanish the other day.  Maybe my language classes are good for something after all.  Who knew?  Anyway, I like frozen yogurt, reading picture books instead of my assigned texts, hiking, playing devil's advocate, and sleeping on the floor.  I do not like wearing shoes, eating my vegetables (except carrots, LOVE carrots), making phone calls, or being asked about my love life.  I hate Twilight.  I want a pet burro and three pygmy goats. (named Potpie, Pim, Bugger, and Nina respectively) I need to hike across Europe.  I hope to survive my finals.  And I love that now you kind of know who I am without literally knowing who I am.  Muahahaha!

Disclaimer:  Please don't hold me to my English major status, there are more important things in life than perfect grammar and punctuation.  Post on that topic at a later date.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Typecast I

I am an anachronism. I am an artisan. And frankly, I am a little embarrassed to post following what M put up yesterday. She far outclasses me when it comes to words.

Yet, thinking about what M wrote, I came up with a word. Maybe not my favorite word--that would be an impossible task--but a word that is part of why we are embarking on this journey. Ephemera. Loosely defined as something of no lasting significance that somehow manages to hold on. In a way, I think that it describes the Art of the Letter. A letter itself isn't meant to last forever. They tend to be created of organic materials that may not stand the test of time. But even then, the words on the paper live on within us. They can haunt us, like the waters haunted Maclean. Those words have been a reason for change, for war, and for so many glorious things--love and peace and celebration. Who among us doesn't remember the rush of getting something like that college acceptance letter in the mail, a welcome relief after the months of angusihed waiting. Or at Christmastime, when Grandma and Grandpa would send their annual card, and you just knew that there would be a surprise inside. That is the legacy of the letter.

While the legacy of the letter lives on, we fear that the art behind it is becoming lost. Children today have little concept of what it is to sit down at a desk or a typewriter, crisp sheet of paper before them, and pour out your soul for someone else. We want to revive that. Bring the joy of hearing words from a friend far away back into our lives. Tell another we love them in more than 3 words, in a way more lasting than fleeting breath. it is why we do what we do, why our pens and typewriters work overtime.

I hope my ramblings here today inspire you. We love our art, and want to share that love.


Written on my 1955 Smith Corona Silent-Super.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 Charlotte would say

Friend here. I've been pondering the question of where to begin and I settled on the traditional: from the beginning. By the raise of hands, who's seen Eat, Pray, Love? ... Okay, that was useless. Oh well, useless doesn't necessarily mean worthless. Anyway, there is a bit in the movie where the main character and some friends are deciding what their 'words' are. I laughed quietly to myself and thought: "I thought of that first!" Well, perhaps not first, but definitely before either the book or the movie. But the question is an interesting one: what is your word? How about just favorite words? And yes this has something to do with the premise of this blog, hold on, I'm getting to that. But really, what are they? Shatter? Silk? Ember? Alizarin and polyester and taut and cream? Those are favorites. My word? Ibidem. Ibidem. Ibidem. I love to say it. Ih-bee-dem. It is an adverb from the Latin and means 'in the same place,' as in the same book, chapter, etc. and is used in reference to making a reference. Cheeky, yes? In the same place. And how did we get to this place. Well, I'll tell you. We are here for the writing of letters, yes? And letters are meant to communicate. We communicate via language, which is made up of words. But really, language just represents ideas and pictures and essences. Which is what your word is: an essence. Which is what you want to write. So simple. So complicated. So wonderful. What's your word?


Welcome to the Art of the Letter.

A few months ago, one friend said to another, "Wouldn't it be neat if we wrote a blog about all the things we love? Letters and notes and pens and paper and ephemera and maybe even typewriters." And lucky for me, my friend said yes.

That was the birth of the idea for the Art of the Letter. We've been talking about it, planning, but just never got it off the ground. Until now. Today, I'm feeling bold, and I want to share the feeling and kick things off.

Like I said above, this is going to be all about the things we love. Letters and notes and ephemera and the sheer joy of writing. We want to share that with a world that sometimes loses track of how cool these things can be.

So, I leave it now to M to continue where I've started from. Once again, welcome, and we hope you enjoy.