Holiday cards brought back to life by Vineyard artists
Photo by Lynn Christoffers
With the rise of email, e-cards, and social media, the number of Christmas cards sent yearly started to decline in 2005 and has dropped a few percentage points every year since, according to a December 2010 article in the Chicago Tribune.
And, though technology has enabled us to stay connected with friends and family on a regular basis, there's something special about finding a conspicuously unofficial envelope tucked in with the pile of bills and catalogs in one's mailbox.
Janet Morris of Oak Bluffs has kept up her tradition of mailing Christmas cards. She sends out about 30 every year, though she says that she only receives a handful in return. "I feel it's a connection that I can make with the people that I care about and I get a lot of pleasure out of doing it," she says. "It reminds me of the people I have in my life."
If you want to send something really special that reflects your love of the Vineyard, there are a number of outlets that feature Island-made cards by a variety of local artists and photographers.
A trip to the Artisans Festival (November 25, 26, and December 10) will give you the opportunity to shop the selection of three local artists, Lisa Vanderhoop, Dan Waters, and Ingrid Goff-Maidoff, all with very different styles.
Ms. Vanderhoop has expanded on her Vineyard Seadog Calendar business to include a line of cards. Her Holiday collection features beautiful color photographs of dogs in water settings with appropriately doggie greetings. "Tis better to give than retrieve" says one, a beach scene with a sandy-snouted lab pup proudly bearing a piece of driftwood.
Poet/artist/printmaker Dan Waters' cards have been popular on the Vineyard for years. He creates wonderfully detailed images of animals and other nature themes with linoleum block prints and pairs them with clever bits of verse. For the holidays, Mr. Waters has created a clever series of angels — one baking stars into cookies, a mermaid frolicking with jellyfish, and a few others. Yellow birds singing in a tree against a midnight blue background features the greeting "Let heaven and nature sing."
Ingrid Goff-Maidoff makes art cards using Japanese and other handmade printed papers with inspirational sayings or collages. Some cards feature her own poems and some have quotes she loves. Each is one of a kind. She also sells cards wrapped up with a pretty pendant necklace, cameos, and other curios that make lovely little gift/card combinations. As well as the Artisans Festival, Ms. Goff-Maidoff's cards can be found at Night Heron Gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven.
Kennedy Studios, also on Main Street, features racks and racks of cards, with a selection by local artists, including gallery proprietor Uta Kirchlechner. She offers photo cards of Island images including a Holiday series featuring striking Vineyard light displays and decorations.
The Beach House carries cards by two Island artists. Colorful photo cards by Barbara Reynolds feature flowers and vegetables from her garden. Cards by Liza Coogan display her charming watercolors of Island scenes, and she has created a set of Island Christmas images that are sold as a set of eight.
The Secret Garden in Oak Bluffs has a good selection of blank cards with Island images and they also sell three different Vineyard Christmas cards. From artist Dana Gaines there are two images – a lighthouse decorated with a wreath, and a map of the Vineyard wrapped in a big bow. They also carry a card with a fanciful painting by Jacob Knight that was a cover illustration for Yankee Magazine. Proceeds from this card benefit the Friends of Oak Bluffs.
Made Here on the Vineyard, at the top of Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, carries a full rack of cards by local artists. Their collection includes Vineyard photos as well as watercolors and whimsical drawings. Storeowner Phil Tucker sells his own photo cards and has a series with Holiday greetings.
The striking images by photographer Alison Shaw have always been popular with locals and tourists alike. She sells cards in sets of images including a black and white series and a set highlighting gorgeous Vineyard skies. A crashing wave under a full moon, and sailboat rigging against a spectacular sunset are two stunners. The cards can be purchased individually and are available through the artist's website, alisonshaw.com.
Artists Astrea Young and Leslie Myers will be hosting a trunk show at State Road Restaurant in December. Ms. Myers will sell her jewelry and both women will offer cards. Ms. Young's collage cards feature lovely inspirational images including flowers, birds, and butterflies, along with photos and works of art. Ms. Myers has two lines of photo cards. She does landscapes and other images, and has also created a series of flowers from the State Road gardens using a digital and oil paint enhancement process. The State Road series is for sale at the restaurant and both artists sell on etsy.com.
Many of the artists who are involved with the annual Holiday Gift Show at Featherstone offer handmade cards — some blank, some with seasonal messages. You can shop the show, which features a variety of hand-crafted gifts and artwork, from November 19 to December 18 from 12 noon to 4 pm daily.
Chilmark Chocolates on State Road in Chilmark (open Thursdays through Sundays, 11:30 am to 5:30 pm through December 18) features handmade cards by some of their current and former employees. There are photos of flowers by Elain Christensen and paintings by Helen Blasi. Alex Campbell offers hand-colored original drawings of angels. On the back he has written a little about the importance of angels in his life. Mr. Campbell was in a car accident that left him with severe brain damage when he was three years old. Both his father and his brother were killed in the accident, which was caused by a drunk driver. Mr. Campbell donates 5 percent of the proceeds from his cards to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The mini bio on the back of the cards says, in part, "I have had many guardian angels along the way. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do."