March 20, 2023 •
Letter from the editor: An evolution in paper
How does progress — true progress — unfold?
I am speaking of the process through which what was once a radical idea slowly becomes accepted, and then commonplace. This sort of cultural osmosis is out of any one individual’s hands; only a collective consensus pushes it forward. In the past, these “radical” ideas concerned women voting, or alcohol’s legality.
While those who thirst for change want it overnight, realistically change takes time. And while many conversations occur in public forums, many occur one on one, and thus in our beloved stationery domain. Take menopause for example; this fundamental female phase of life has gone from being suffered in private to being discussed, no holds barred, everywhere from podcasts to the TODAY show.
Recently, actress Naomi Watts released the Stripes range of products, designed “to make change, inspire individual confidence, and help generations prepare for and navigate menopause.” Included are six greeting cards designed in collaboration with Emily McDowell.
Speaking of cards, enough menopause offerings are springing up to impact not just private conversations, but how we perceive it ourselves. The honest laughs and pure connections these cards generate undo generations of embarrassment and shame. Thus, I deemed our current cover a winner when not all Stationery Trends staffers were comfortable with it. Change, after all, is not always pleasant, but without it we cannot move forward.
Meanwhile, our current cultural evolution goes beyond menopause. This year’s crop of Designers to Watch includes several outliers pushing the proverbial envelope. Jan Golden of Age-Friendly Vibes seeks to make the Over the Hill category obsolete, while Naomi Dable of Naomi Paper Co. is redefining the Christian domain of product into something more artful and authentic. Meanwhile, Libby Llanso of Seedlings has created the first no-waste calendar — quite the feat! — and Paper Epiphanies’ Victoria Venturi has established herself as a modern Medici by bringing in monthly artists in residence for her Portland shop.
So not only is stationery essential to any kind of progress, progress is not married to age, gender, skin color or any other defining quality. We can and are advancing the conversation in myriad ways, and any one of us, regardless of our circumstances, can help drive it.
So, what change do you wish to tackle today?
Until next issue,