My photo for me, art and photography.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Making Your Own Cards

I like making cards for my friends. I seem to make rather a lot because we all use any excuse we can to celebrate something. This year was a double, because Chinese New Year coincided with Valentines day.

I worked in a card shop for Xmas, Valentines and Mothers day, and I have to confess I detested every second of it; and the only thing that tortured my soul more than the job itself was the cards. They are all so putrid; with stupid twee little poems inside, cliché pictures of cute wikkle kitties and teddy bears (urgh), insipid inscriptions..  and the ones that try to be ‘dirty’ or ‘cool’.. the ‘happy birfday m8’ type things that make my hackles rise.  On top of that they are all ludicrously overpriced for what they are: pieces of paper folded in half. The average price of a card from that place being £3.00 - £5.00. We even sold some absolutely absurd things that were 3ft high, lit up and played music and belly-danced (ok belly-dancing was an exaggeration)..but lets not forget the novelty of the fact that it came in a BOX ( everyone say ‘oooh’)…

At a price of £25 per card.

This is something I really don’t understand. You get a card, you read it, it sits on the shelf for maybe a week and, unless it really means something special to you- like if you’ve been having a rough time and someone’s sent you a card to say ‘hang in there’ and offer extended words of encouragement of their own- lets face it, it’s going to go in the bin. So that’s £3-£25  just thrown away. What could possibly be more special than having  a 21st birthday card with a poem saying

‘Congratulations to a special daughter for today is just for you

Hoping you have a wonderful time and enjoy everything you do’.

I mean…. Wow. That would absolutely knock your socks off wouldn’t it. Totally bring a lump to your throat and a tear of joy to your eye. You’d treasure those words for the rest of your life, especially because they were penned by an anonymous underpaid stranger you’ll never know and printed by the million.

It’s the laziness of some people that beats me. For example, Christmas cards: To Nan, Nanna, Nana, Nanny, Nannie, Grandma, Granny, Gran, Grandmother… There are umpteen variations of the same design cards for the same person. How about you take one with a nice picture and get off your lazy arse and write 'Dear [Gran/Grandma/etc] in it? I mean, surely 99% of the population can’t be so illiterate that they only know how to write their own names at the bottom of a card.

In my parents desk, there is a drawer full of random crap – paper and envelopes and general stationary paraphernalia, and every card I’ve ever made for them. Yet not one single card I bought for them. I think that says everything.

‘But I’m not artistic’ I hear you say. So what? You don’t need to be Gainsborough to make a card. You can do something utterly unique with a sheet of printer paper, some glue, a pair of scissors, an old newspaper or magazine, and a little tiny bit of imagination.

For example, this is a card I made for one of my friends, combining Valentines Day with Chinese new year, and focussing on Paris- the true love of her life. Inside, I wrote down a list of ‘10 things that make you awesome’. It took all of 15 minutes to do (excluding 5 minutes of Googling how to write a Chinese New Year greeting in Chinese), and she’s still got it standing on her desk  5 months later.

 Suzy's Card


So I guess the moral of the story is to take a little time to be original. If you can’t even be bothered to write the name of the person you’re sending it to, and opt for a pre-printed ‘coolest Gran’ card, it, in my opinion, shows how little you can be bothered with  that person.  If you don’t make your own, at least get something blank inside and take 5 minutes out of your life to write your own message. You don’t have to be Shakespeare – just the fact that you bothered to write more than your name at the bottom will mean the recipient will appreciate, value and treasure it far more than any mass-produced, overpriced, highly disposable piece of pre-printed tat.


Richard said...

Thank you for your time and effort in producing a really enjoyable blog with a lot of interesting ideas!

Tash said...

thank you! I'm really glad you enjoyed it!