Prints & Recreation

Happy Galentine’s Day, dear readers! (Please tell me you totally got the Leslie Knope reference here.) Aaaaanyway all this romantic hullabaloo has me thinking about a Valentine making kit I had when I was young. It was filled with scraps of (fake) Victorian ephemera, little photos, pieces of lace and doilies and plastic rhinestones with adhesive on the back (way to be authentic, kit-makers).

This little seed has had me pondering ephemera and the ephemeral… after all, that is what I spend my life making these days. Ephemera traditionally refers to printed paper material—things that don’t last. Ephemeral essentially means temporary, but in an age of instant messages, facebook photo albums and email, almost everything stays digital—it’s the printed material that we hold on to and treasure. We only print the truly special photographs, or the important documents we cannot afford to lose in a cluttered inbox. Hand written notes get tucked away into secret hiding spaces to be pulled out when we need to feel a connection perfectly typed words can’t provide.

This is really just a long-winded way of saying now that the ephemera I make might be treasured years into the future, I totally overthink what I’m designing. Is it timeless? Will it feel classic or dated a decade from now? Does that matter? After all, we make Valentines with aesthetics that went extinct more than a century ago, we collect antique dishware and glorify the ‘60s and ‘70s, even though we wouldn’t be caught dead in Technicolor bell bottoms.

And maybe that’s part of the point—to capture a bit of the time period and remind us of what we thought was cool, even thought it’s not any more. (And who knows, if you wait long enough, it probably will be again! See: shoulder pads, neon, bow ties, mustaches…)

And so (here’s the part where I stop rambling and get to the point), with my new collection launching next week, I tried to design for how I’m feeling now, in early 2015, and not worry so much whether I’ll like these designs three years from now. And it feels like it worked. There’s a feeling of exuberance that my stationery hasn’t had up till this point. Letting go has released a sort of joy, which translates to the page, and is a good reminder for life. So while I’m still saving for retirement, I’m also trying to keep my mind in the present and live like life is ephemeral, because it is.

Good afternoon, y’alright?

I’ve been spending a lot of time on the phone with Bermudian customer service representatives and government officials lately. One thing I’ve learned from all this interaction with local is if you don’t wish them good morning or good afternoon and allow them to do the same, you’re not getting anywhere. In fact, last week when I was one of five people waiting in the Customs office, a man walked in and greeted each one of us individually.

The common greeting when you see someone you know here is “Are you alright?” which often gets sort of mushed together into one word (“y’alright?”). I haven’t quite adopted the phrase yet, but I’ve started to fall in love with the idea of slowing down, saying “hi” and checking in with those you encounter. As someone who has admitted to a personal mantra of ‘efficiency’ in times past, slowing down—”wasting” time—is quite the challenge.

One of my goals for my time here is to practice mindfulness with more intention. So my first mindfulness challenge—for me and you both—is to adopt a little island attitude into daily interactions. Ask your coworker how they are before launching into whatever you need to get done. Easier yet—put down your phone/book/mental to-do list while walking down the street and smile at a stranger!

© Kristin Joiner
© Kristin Joiner