15 May 2008

String girls and the philosophy of tangibility

A Walk in the Park
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

I made this card on Earth Day and used that as my inspiration. The card involved repurposing some scraps of old fabric for the dresses and tree and the theme of the card was reverence for nature. How I imagine these two string girls is that they are a Mom and daughter in the park pointing at things they see like flowers and birds.

I recently sent a couple of my string girl cards in the mail (for Mother's Day). I wanted to test them before including them in a craft fair or at my etsy shop. They turn out to have no problem going as regular lettermail, though I did include a protective piece of bristol board so that no mail sorting machines could catch on the twine. While I know that people often give cards in person or along with a present, I want my cards to also be suitable for the mail. I think it's important to keep those ties to loved ones who are far away.

Email is very convenient, but I don't get the same satisfaction either sending or receiving it as I do with a tangible note that I can hold in my hands. While there are environmental reasons to try to cut down on paper usage, there are times where a virtual version can't and shouldn't compare to the real thing. I don't know anyone who displays emails on their mantlepiece, for example. A handmade card makes the thought more special. There are also some situations where a real card is the only appropriate way to express your sentiments (e.g. weddings or condolences). There's something about being able to hold a message in your hands and know that the sender also held it. That sense of continuity and tangibility makes the connection and sentiments more real.