Notecards: Sierra Club—Hummingbirds; Sierra Club—Sea Turtles; Wolf Kahn—The Seasons; Gorey Cats; Dard Hunter Thank You Notes. Pomegranate. $14.95 each (Hummingbirds, Turtles, Kahn, Gorey); $8.95 (Hunter).
Anytime may be the right time to send someone a note on an attractive card, but the simple reality is that this form of communication is increasingly rare nowadays. We tend to send cards for special occasions when we send them at all – for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and so on. Get a little creative with some of the cards from Pomegranate, though, and you can easily come up with a whole new set of occasions for which it is appropriate to send something special. There are, for example, the Sierra Club cards that Pomegranate offers. They are perfect for Earth Day, although that is, if anything, a little bit obvious. How about hummingbird cards to mark the arrival of spring, or summer, or the first hummingbird sighting in your area? Sierra Club—Hummingbirds includes 20 cards (five each of four designs) and 20 envelopes. Most people know the ruby-throated hummingbird, but these cards provide gorgeous views of three other types: the purple-throated mountain gem (which gets two very different-looking cards), the broad-tailed, and the white-necked Jacobin. The cards, blank inside and printed on heavy stock, help reinforce the Sierra Club’s environmental message: a portion of the proceeds is used to further the Sierra Club’s aims.
Or how about cards with sea turtles to mark turtle nesting season, celebrate the start of summer (when many families take beach vacations), or even take note of the anniversary of the BP oil spill, which (happily) seems not to have caused the damage to these turtles that so many feared it would? Sierra Club—Turtles includes four views of the green sea turtle: a hatchling zipping across the sand on its way to the water, two adults on a beach, and two different cards showing individual turtles swimming gracefully underwater. The photographs are lovely, and sea turtles have become a well-known environmental symbol, so sending these cards to like-minded environmentalists, or just to people who appreciate the animals’ beauty of form and color, seems a natural thing to do. Just come up with the right occasion.
How about sending cards to mark the changing of the seasons? The Wolf Kahn cards from Pomegranate would be ideal. Kahn’s cards overstate the colors of nature – nothing is quite that purple or orange – and for that very reason can make wonderful “happy spring” or “happy autumn” offerings. The four designs in this Pomegranate box are not directly attached to specific seasons, so you can let your imagination roam as you decide which would be appropriate to send at what time. “Silvery Trees” seems like a winter scene; “Green Grove” could stand for spring; “Invented Foliage” might be summer; and “Glow III,” dense with brilliant autumnal orange, could be fall. But this is only one way to view the scenes. Part of the fun of sending these cards would come from deciding which one fits your particular definition of each season.
Then…let’s see…how about something for National Cartoonists Day (May 5), or to celebrate friends’ cats’ birthdays, or as birthday cards for someone who just happens to love felines? Gorey Cats fills the bill for these occasions, and Edward Gorey fans can surely think of others (maybe sending something for Gorey’s birthday, February 22). Unlike his more mysterious and dark works, the four examples in Gorey Cats are humorous without being scary – although they are certainly odd enough to show who drew them. All feature Gorey’s favorite cat, wearing a horizontally striped shirt. “Cutting a Rug” is a dance pose (and maybe the cat’s claws are actually cutting the rug on which he stands, too?); “Flower Fancier” has the cat floating, hanging Mary-Poppins-like from an umbrella, toward a large flower; “Rock Island” has the cat perched horizontally on, well, a big rock; and “Picture Purrfect” is a pose within an ornate frame. All the Gorey Cats cards are delightful – you just have to come up with the right reasons to send them.
One reason we do still send cards – well, some of the time, anyway – is to thank people for a pleasant evening, a nice dinner, or any sort of good time. It is true that we, as a society, don’t do this nearly as much as we used to, but the tradition is one of those niceties of socializing that, thank goodness, have not disappeared entirely. Using sufficiently attractive thank-you cards may even help it continue (one can always hope). One example among many from Pomegranate: Dard Hunter Thank You Notes, 10 small notecards with appropriately sized envelopes, feature a 1908 Hunter design from a booklet called The American House. The cards are simple and elegant, showing two symmetrically drawn, stylized flowers connected by a dotted line that parts at one point to contain the words “Thank You.” The inside is blank, so you can write a few words of your own to complement the art and compliment the person to whom you are sending the card – a lovely gesture made more attractive when it comes in the form of notecards as good-looking as these.