Thursday, October 24, 2013

Christmas Cards

So it's definitely heating up for Christmas Season 2013!  And trees4thewood is getting back to its roots with handmade keepsake Christmas cards.  I've never been a fan of the sort of Christmas card that is mass produced, cheap printed cardboard with an impersonal, off-the-rack greeting inside.  I don't know about you, but I always find it a terrible anti-climax to get a personal letter in the mail (!!! not a bill - hooray!!!) only to find it has "to Grace" and "from so-and-so" acting as parentheses around a generic printed greeting.  Don't get me wrong - I'm still grateful that so-and-so thought of me ... and that its not a bill ... but it seems almost like a waste of a postage stamp.  

Trees4thewood began when I first made some simple lino print Christmas cards for family and friends back in 2011.  I like the idea of sending something more meaningful than the aforementioned cheap chinese import.  Lino prints are a simple form of intaglio printing, making an image able to be reproduced but still retaining its "original" status.  Each lino print card I produce is indiviually hand printed (without a press), assembled and hand painted for colour.  I find the repetitive process really meditative and calming!  

And there is something immensely satisfying about multiples. As a cut flower grower (my family and I run a native cut flower farm in Tasmania called Swallows Nest Farm) I have the same experience.  Buckets and buckets of flowers, all colour co-ordinated, make a visually satisfying display.  It is one of the aspects that I really enjoy about making keepsake cards.

In an era when old fashioned card writing is becoming ... well ... old fashioned, I think that sending a card can be so much more meaningful than it used to be.  I just love the idea that these cards may end up being used as bookmarks, or put in the back of a sock draw, only to be rediscovered and enjoyed years later.  I love the idea that people put them in little frames.  I imagine in the future they are taken out and the message they contained is rediscovered and remembered.  I love the idea that they accompany peoples declarations and thoughts of love.  It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling!  I think if you want to let someone know you are thinking of them, it's worth doing it on a card that is worth keeping.  

This years new design is based on a Scarlet Robin, an Australian native bird that is a resident on our property.  It is such a strikingly coloured bird with crisp black and white parts highlighted with scarlet red that fades down to pink and soft grey.  When they flit about,  you catch splashes of bright white and intense red.  I decided the best way to express the intensity of colour was to create a card where everything but the bird was neutral.  The 2013 Christmas robin is printed on recycled kraft paper which takes the ink well and has a lovely rich natural tone.  The card is 275 gsm recycled kraft card.  The envelopes are kraft paper too, but ribbed which I particularly like.  I think the little fellow looks suitably festive!

I also have some of the 2012 Christmas card design available again.  They were based on a the Tasmanian Waratah, a flower endemic to Tasmania and one we grow commercially on our flower farm.  They are such a stunning flower that blooms in spring in the lead up to Christmas.  The come with green envelopes in A6 size.  You can find them in single cards or packs of 5.  

I also have some smaller cards which were really popular last year - the Merry Robin design.  They don't fold, but have a fancy die-cut edge.  They can be used as special gift tags, but are still large enough to send through the post.  The come with kraft envelopes.

All trees4thewood Christmas cards use 100% recycled card.  The waratah and merry robin designs are printed on the pages of old books, sourced from my local op shop.  Old book paper is often made with a higher rag content and makes printing on it a treat - not to mention that I love the "patterned" look that the printed words create as a background.  

If you are considering posting Christmas cards this year, can I suggest you look for an alternative to the cheap mass produced pieces of cardboard that are everywhere.  Seek out some locally made or designed cards.  There are plenty available online, or at your local maker's market.  It's worth sending something really special!