Tag Archives: ornamentation

Over the holidays…

While I was in Ohio for the holidays, I finally had the time to create and mail my holiday cards. I am fortunate to have an extremely awesome step-father who is an artist and stamp collector, and he provided me with tons of old stamps to use for my envelopes (he also told Santa to stash stacks of canceled vintage stamps and postcards in my stocking).

{ My holiday cards. Kind of hard to tell, but they’re cardstock cut into stocking shapes, and then I stamped them and adhered scalloped-edged paper cut-outs and baker’s twine and… a bit much, but fun. 🙂 }

{ Envelopes for my holiday cards, including stamped and handwritten tags plus old postage stamps. }

{ Backside. }

Also, a friend/colleague of mine asked me to hand-letter her wedding program, menu, and place cards for her winter snowflake-themed nuptials. So I had fun creating those as well, although I worried that they ended up a bit too “busy” with all the text. But Catherine said she liked them, so I was happy.

{ Front cover of the wedding program. }

{ Front cover (left) and back cover (right) of wedding program. }

{ Inside of program. }

{ Wedding menu. }

{ Wedding menu. }

{ Place cards, twined up according to table #. }

{ The whole collection. }

I am realizing that these photos aren’t the best quality. Casualty of being away from home.

Hope you all had a very happy holiday and that the new year is off to a stellar start!

Dutch picture book covers

Adoringly observed over at BibliOdyssey, these covers originated from the early 19th to the 20th centuries:

Several more where these came from. Click over to BibliOdyssey HERE, and check out their beautifully extensive archives while you’re at it.


Love the red type of this image, which I just found HERE while flitting around Flickr:


Throwback Thursday: Notgeld, German Emergency Currency

If all money looked this pretty, I’d definitely be more apt to save it.

The images presented below represent a selection from Lliazd’s unbelievably expansive Flickr set of Notgeld, which was German emergency currency used during the post-WWI years. Lliazd’s provides us with an in-depth look into the personal, political, and aesthetic significance of these images on his Flickr page:

walter-muller-notgeld_skaliertAfter 800 years of life in the same region, my wife’s family left Germany. In 1935 Nazism had become unbearable. They were lucky enough to understand the risk it posed for Jews living in Germany and they left. Until then, her family was part of a comfortable and prosperous middle class, involved in the tobacco business in the city of Karlsruhe.

At the end of the First World War her grandfather started collecting Notgeld produced by many German and Austrian towns and companies to make front to deflation first and inflation later with the objective of providing stability to workers and residents. Notgeld (emergency currency) was issued by cities, boroughs, even private companies while there was a shortage of official coins and bills. Nobody would pay in coins while their nominal value was less than the value of the metal. And when inflation went on, the state was just unable to print bills fast enough. Some companies couldn’t pay their workers because the Reichsbank just couldn’t provide enough bills. So they started to print their own money – they even asked the Reichsbank beforehand. As long as the Notgeld was accepted, no real harm was done and it just was a certificate of debt. Often it was even a more stable currency than real money, as sometimes the denomination was a certain amount of gold, dollars, corn, meat, etc.

They made it very pretty on purpose: many people collected the bills, and the debt would never have to be paid. It was printed on all kinds of materials: leather, fabric, porcelain, silk, tin foil. (Read more HERE)

Behold, the beauty of Notgeld:













From my sketchbook…

Some of these are old. Like, from 2002. I’ve never publicly shared the pages of my sketchbook before. Be gentle with me.









The Calligraphy of Marina Marjina

I discovered the unbelievably mind-blowingly beautiful calligraphy and illustration of Marina Marjina the other day via an image on We Love Typography. I might have a new hero.

The following images are taken from Marina’s Flickr stream:













Love the reds.

The beautiful bindings of Sarah Wyman Whitman

These amazing book cover and binding designs are included in The Boston Public Library’s Rare Books and Manuscripts collection, which is made electronically available to the viewing public via their INSANELY GORGEOUS Flickr set (of over 350 images, by the way). You just won’t even believe how beautiful these are: the lettering, the illustrative quality, the ornamentation, the golf leaf… and how sickly pathetic modern hard covers are in comparison.

Information on the revolutionary Sarah Wyman Whitman, as featured on the BPL’s Flickr set:

Sarah Wyman Whitman (1842-1904) pioneered the role of artist-designer in the book industry and in the process revolutionized trade bookbinding. A highly-regarded Boston artist and socialite who gathered around herself a salon comprised of many of the city and region’s best-known writers, she adopted the role of mediator between her author friends and the publisher George Mifflin, whom she knew socially. Her work echoed the Arts and Crafts Movement that viewed art and life as inseparable; she wrote that “all forms of labor are beautiful and sacred because…it all has the stamp of nobility, being essential to the world’s need.” As Betty Smith has noted, Whitman became “the first professional woman artist regularly employed by a Boston publisher to give their mass-produced book covers a sense of simple elegance through line, color, and lettering.”















Illuminated manuscripts make me happy.

Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel

First, it was the illuminated initial that shook me. Next, it was the calligraphy. And, finally, it was the entire freakin’ manuscript. The ornamentation in the margins, the calligraphed epic tale, the parchment, the scriptorium from whence it came… EVERYTHING. But nothing rocked me more than my visit to Mont Saint-Michel, in France, where I had the opportunity to set my eager feet in the scriptorium of that breathtaking monastery.

Afterward, I made a beeline for the gallery and purchased a ton of cards, souvenirs, and 3 separate books on illuminated medieval manuscripts. One love, Mont Saint-Michel.

The following images are borrowed from the brilliant Scholar’s Resource site, which contains images of all varieties of art. But the manuscripts are obviously the coolest. I’m not at all biased.