Sunday, March 16, 2008

Red Letter Day(s)

Last week, I was in postal heaven! I received so many wonderful letters and treats in the mail that left me ohhhing and ahhhing. Our new neighbors even asked if it was my birthday because of all of the packages that were delivered one day.

Among the packages that arrived were two envelopes filled with vintage goodness. They were part of an ephemera swap that I had joined through Swap-Bot. There were vintage photographs and papers, old advertisements and ticket stubs, postcards and other miscellany. I don't know what it is about ephemera that I love so much but I think it's a combination of nostalgia and inspiration. I try to imagine what was going on in the pictures, how people related to each other and what stories they would share. I especially love looking at old advertisements as they are indicative of the gender roles and division of labour that existed during the time they were being circulated. Of course, I also love the beautiful artwork and the rich styles of clothing that accompany them. Another aspect of ephemera that I love is its tactile nature - touching the weathered pages of a book, feeling the typeset or letterpressed print on the pages, holding the tattered black and white photographs, feeling the superb craftmanship of a book spine or photo album - it's all very pleasing to me.

And what do I do with all this stuff? I often make little goodie packages for my friends who share a love for ephemera or I slip in bits of paper into envelopes of letters that I've written. Sometimes, I'll use the pieces to make cards, adorn packages or paste them into my journal. I consider them to be little treasures and often search for them wherever I go.

One of my favorite blogs is by Marty Weil, a freelance writer and ephemera researcher. It's a wonderful read for ephemera-enthusiasts or anyone who is feeling nostalgic.

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