A Sedate Type-In & Letter Writing Social

September 24, 2013 § 6 Comments

Chestertown’s first Type-In & Letter Writing Social was a rousing event.  The second iteration was a more subdued affair with fewer participants, but no less enthusiasm.  The thing is, people love the nostalgia of being reminded about and the novelty of being introduced to typewriters and letter writing.  As with our first event, the age range of participants spanned about eight decades.

Here is a quick look into the morning:

To encourage those who hadn't written a letter recently, I put together some ideas for getting started and some guidance on postage rates.  (You can download PDFs of these pages from Scribbling Glue's Downloadables page.)

To encourage those who hadn’t written a letter recently, I put together some ideas for getting started and some guidance on postage rates.
(You can download PDFs of these pages from Scribbling Glue’s Downloadables page.)

Underwood

Four typewriters ready and waiting to compose.

Typewriter Tips

Lindsay made a tip sheet for each typewriter, explaining its particular quirks of typography and operation.
(“Note: R to L” is a note to herself about which way to wind the ribbon to ensure smooth sailing in case it needed to be replaced mid-event.  Isn’t she clever?)

Typists

At several different points, all four typewriters were clattering away together. The youngest typist in this photo really got into the process and produced a lengthy note to send to a friend.

Mailart sisters

Three sisters and their mom making art and envelopes together.

Stamped & Sealed

Stamped, sealed, and ready to send.

More to come about the Chestertown Book Festival and what I found there…

Envelopes: Prepped to Seal, Stamp, and Send

September 19, 2013 § 2 Comments

It’s almost time!

This type-in and letter-writing social is a creative collaboration between Thread Lock Press, typewriter-enthusiast and letterpress printer, and Scribbling Glue, letter-writing champion and envelope-pusher. They are out to reintroduce people to old techniques for creating new and improbable connections.

– event mission statement for Chestertown’s Type-In and Letter Writing Social, Round 2

In anticipation, Lindsay and I got together this week to finish prepping envelopes.  Due to the time and space constraints that come along with presenting this event at the Chestertown Book Festival, we decided to pre-cut handmade envelopes so people can assemble and embellish without having to start completely from scratch.  The result of our flurry of cutting is that we have 70+ envelopes just waiting to be filled with literary musings and bookish thoughts by Book Festival attendees who find the sound of clattering typewriters sufficiently distracting to wander away from the Bookmakers and Writers Exhibition Hall long enough to record their own thoughts to be sealed, stamped, and sent.

From animals and trains to sunsets and fairy tales, there will be a wide variety of envelopes available.

From animals, trains, and nuns to sunsets, fairy tales, and airplanes, a wide variety of envelopes will be available to suit different moods and strike proper tones.

 

We hope to see you there!

 

 

Type-In & Letter Writing Social, Round Two

August 27, 2013 § 6 Comments

As you may recall, last December Lindsay of Thread Lock Press and I teamed up to bring about our town’s very first Type-In and Letter Writing Social.  As a result of that lovely evening, we were invited to present a similar program at the 2013 Chestertown Book Festival.

CBF poster 2013

Did you see?  We’re featured on the poster!  Official and exciting, isn’t it?

Due to logistical factors, this program will be a bit scaled back and more focused than our first event, but there will be typewriters, envelope-making materials, and plenty of good cheer.

Success: A Type-In & Letter Writing Social Retrospective

December 9, 2012 § 5 Comments

It finally happened.  The day arrived.  We set up the typewriters and the stationery and supplies for cutting and gluing, then we watched it all unfold.

underwood

It is nothing but the truth to say that the Type-In & Letter Writing Social organized and hosted by Thread Lock Press and Scribbling Glue was a huge success.   The typewriters were in constant use and the mailart table was always full.  Over the course of 3 hours, there were 70+ people who stopped by and walked away with typewritten and handmade creations!

If you couldn’t make it (or you did make it and want to relive the great vibe of the evening), here’s a brief photo overview.

readytoletterwrite

Checking out the mailart supplies.

The first wave of typists.

The first wave of typists.

ribbon

A Royal gets a fresh red ribbon.

Cutting, gluing, writing, and creating.

Cutting, gluing, writing, and creating.

A new set of typists.

A new round of typists.

2mailartists

Best friends creating together.

youngtypist

First time with a typewriter.

Another question for Lindsay!

Quick! Where’s the typewriter expert?

 

Every time a typewriter was free, a new typist sat right down.

Every time a typist finished, a new one slid into the seat.

And, yes, the evening even included a visit from Santa.

And, yes, the evening even included a visit from Santa.

There were, I think, eight or nine typewriters that made an appearance during the evening.  They were nostalgic for some, novelty for others, and enjoyed by all.

What I enjoyed most was the scope of the event.  The youngest participant was 2 (and the youngest in attendance, who has not quite developed the fine motor skills to write or type, was 4 months old), the oldest were in their 70s and 80s.  Some people came on purpose, others just happened to wander into Evergrain Bread Company as part of their 1st Friday circuit and stayed to make something.  Out of town friends and family of mine made the trip to Chestertown just so they could be a part of the fun–I’m so very fortunate to have such fantastic people in my life!  People showed up as individuals and couples and families.  A man typed a birthday letter to his mother who was turning 94 the next day.  A girl wrote to a friend from school.  A woman typed letters to two of her oldest friends–the three used to work together as typists.  A little boy created a tremendously be-stamped and colorful card when left to his own devices with a glue stick (I missed a photo op with that one!).  I love thinking about all the letters and cards and poems and thoughts that were created and are now going to be sent and shared; the event is over, but its impact is going to continue as colorful envelopes make their way through the mail and are opened on the other end.  This was definitely a happening that lived up to Scribbling Glue’s mission to celebrate how “handwritten letters, jotted notes, and scrawled miscellany add to the forces of good at work in the world.”

I have an inkling that this was not a one-time event.

Oh! And I also have an inkling from the Letter Writers Alliance:

File under: things that made my day

File under: this made my day 

Hooray for being a part of the creative and fun-loving community of letter writers!

Donovan and Kathy of LWA, thank you for introducing me to the idea of letter writing socials!

Huge thanks are also due to Doug and Kelly at Evergrain who gave an enthusiastic go-ahead when asked about holding this event at the bakery.

And, hey, Lindsay, creative collaboration rocks!  I’m so glad we made this happen.

In which there is an unexpected overnight guest and the creative process refuses to be rushed

November 18, 2012 § 2 Comments

We had an unexpected overnight guest this weekend.

Hildegard, Patron Saint of Writers and Unexpected Overnight Guest

We had known Hildegard and Lindsay were coming over to make things, but Lindsay and I underestimated the amount of time that would be needed to complete our project.  After six hours of typing, cutting, gluing, and creating, Lindsay headed home around midnight promising to return the next day.  Not wanting Hildegard to feel lonely, I introduced her to a new friend.

Despite the generation gap, they had no trouble finding common interests to discuss.

After a while, they were joined by a couple more friends.

Everyone enjoyed the bedtime stories.

Then it was time to get comfy…

The youngest member of the group was already in sleep mode.

…and tucked in for the night.

Ahhh…a well earned rest after a full evening of making stuff.

And what, you ask, were we doing that exhausted Hildegard and required ten hours of diligent work over the course of two days?

Well, at various times, it looked like this:

And this:

Eventually, it resulted in this:

Tomorrow some lucky letter carrier will start these on their way to spread the word about the fast-approaching letter-writing social and type-in:

Won’t you join us, too?  If you do, you’ll have the fun of putting together your own super-special, totally unique, custom created typed-and-handwritten masterpiece.  (Added bonus: experiencing Evergrain Bakery will make your taste buds happy.)

Matching-Optional Stationery & Envelopes

November 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

A couple weeks ago, I got together with Lindsay, of Goose Hill and Thread Lock Press fame, to print stationery that she designed for our upcoming Type-In and Letter Writing Social.  It was my first time using a printing press and I had a blast!  This is partly because Lindsay did all the challenging parts and I got to do the fun bit, but also because it’s really neat to try a new way of being creative.

I could spend this post telling you all I learned about the process of printing.  However, since I have the option of referring you to a thorough and concise outline of all the steps involved, I will instead simply share some photos and recommend that you direct any questions about what you see to Journeyman Printer Lindsay. She’s much more well-versed than I am and knows all the proper vocabulary while I’m still at the “it’s a metal thingy” stage of understanding.

The chase (one of many metal thingys involved) is filled and locked!  We’re almost ready to print.

Even application of ink is key.  (Are you admiring Lindsay’s printer’s apron?  If you’re in the market for one, check out Thread Lock Press on Etsy.)

Was it really that exciting?  Yes.  Am I often silly?  Definitely.

My first attempt was a success!

We went on to print a stack of stationery in a variety of sizes.

Stationery, of course, needs to be paired with envelopes, so we will include an envelope-making station as one of the activities at the Type-In & Letter-Writing Social.  I brought stationery samples home with me in order to create templates for making envelopes that will fit the stationery.

In a world where Pinterest exists, it’s easy to feel that plain cardboard just won’t cut it.  However, after a failed attempt making a more aesthetically pleasing template, I decided that I was cool with plain.  They are more utilitarian than beautiful, but they’re a means to an end and what they help to create will be lovely.

Voila! Template + page from a picture book with a damaged spine + scissors + tape = envelope of the perfect size!

I realize that the bright and shiny envelope does not exactly match the elegant stationery printed on quality paper, but it was what I had handy at the time.  And, hey, who said things always have to match?  However, those who feel the need for more decorum and coordination of their letter-writing materials should not be scared off by my jumping-june-bugs-kissing-katydids envelope.  There will be an assortment of materials available for making envelopes and other mailart on December 7th; I’ll endeavor to include some more refined options. ;)

The Swift Completion of Their Appointed Rounds

October 29, 2012 § 4 Comments

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

~modified quotation from Book 8, Paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus

There is no official USPS motto, but these words of tribute, inscribed on the New York City Post Office on 8th Street, are often invoked in description of the dedication letter carriers bring to their work.  Despite warnings that Hurricane Sandy might disrupt mail service on the East Coast of the United States, the unofficial motto held true today!

Hooray for the USPS!  Despite the looming hurricane, the mail was not only delivered, but arrived early at my house today.

Because there was a package for me, the letter carrier brought the mail to the porch where I met him and told him that he deserved extra gold stars for his work today.  I wished him a safe rest of the day and came inside dancing with glee because the package was from the Letter Writers Alliance!  I’d ordered it, so I knew what was inside, but opening it was still a treat.

Cheerful packaging…

…covering a lovely brown paper package tied up with string.

With a message for me…

…and a really neat artistamp designed by Donovan. (Visit the LWA’s blog to learn more about postal camels or to learn how you can join the LWA ranks.)

After admiring the packaging, I peeked inside where I found one thing to share…

One more detail in place for the upcoming Type In & Letter Writing Social. Sweet.

Join us on December 7th and you might find yourself putting together a letter with these very same goodies. So much fun!

…and one thing all for me.

I’ve had my eye on this since I became a member of the LWA over a year ago. Having reached Scribbling Glue’s first blogiversary, I celebrated by indulging myself.

I’ve put it to the test and give it full marks for a satisfying cup of tea while letter writing.

And now I will go back to letter writing and making things while I wait out the rest of Hurricane Sandy.  At present, the wind is really picking up, but all is well and the power is still on.  I’m counting myself very fortunate so far.

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