What a joy it is to receive a hand-written card! Happily, my delight in getting a card in the mail often inspires me to put pen to paper and send a card myself. Finding the perfect greeting card, with art that captures the mood, makes writing a breeze. At The Century House Gift Shop we stock scores of cards from over 35 suppliers. Many are small mom-and-pop (or friend-and-friend) operations, and most use old-school techniques to create their goods – from block printing to hand-drawn silk screen to letterpress.
Here is a short introduction to a few of our favorite card makers.
Great Arrow Graphics
Great Arrow Graphics, based in Buffalo, New York, published their first greeting card in 1984 in what was once the Pierce-Arrow automobile factory. They collaborate with artists from around the world to make an extensive line of handmade silk-screened cards. Silk screening is an ancient printing technique involving layers of ink being squeegeed through screens onto paper. Precision and a discerning touch are required.
The Elum Designs team describes themselves as “a small but mighty crew of award-winning designers and printmakers who still believe in the power of paper correspondence.” In contrast to silk-screen printing where ink is pushed through screens onto the paper, inked plates are pressed into paper imprinting the design and text. Elum is headquartered in San Diego.
Lark Press, based in Portland, Oregon, is a small shop creating works grand in beauty and craftsmanship. Watercolor and letterpress are among their production techniques.
Lisa Rydin Erickson
Lisa Rydin Erickson, is an artist from Saint Paul, Minnesota, who captures the beauty of the Upper Midwest through her art prints and cards. “I am inspired by Minnesota’s four-season muse,” Erickson says, “to create graphic and botanical images from all the colors that make up life in Minnesota.” Erickson titles many of her works from the scenic parks, towns and lakes from her neck of the woods. It’s a small way, she notes, of honoring the beauty and nature here in the Midwest.
The Century House Gift Shop, has over the years developed a distinct card aesthetic. We favor cards with evocative artwork, minimal text and an occasional dash of irreverence. Most of our vendors are small-batch production studios. Our year-round card categories hit all the standards, from Birthday to Thank You to Sympathy. We also cover all the holidays, plus a few esoteric categories. We are, for example, your pet sympathy card headquarters. Also, our boxed sets are not to be missed. Featured artists include: Charley Harper, Frank Lloyd Wright, Carl Larrson, Elsa Beskow, and Kirsten Sevig; plus Marimekko stationery and postcard sets.
Dear Hancock, our beloved L.A. based card supplier, proclaims, “hand written correspondence is an important part of our culture, a sincere gesture and an art form worth preserving.”
We couldn’t agree more.