Sending Valentines

London-20140128-01766They wrote a lovely article about Lefty Smudges in the local paper today.

This is card they are writing about.

If you are in love, if you give heartfelt, thoughtful gifts to the ones you love, then this Valentine is the one for YOUR Valentine.

Words. Paper. Packaging.

Remember those three painters I told you about. Well, one of them talks to me about materials. He speaks to me of the process and the work. He tells me to never be afraid of the ‘work’.

With each project, I begin by daydreaming. I start to let my mind wander and mull. I use whatever theme the project may have to guide me. Words start to form. Images begin to appear. I daydream some more. Then I begin to sketch, and draw. Lines and dots. Every time this is what I begin with, and this is what I come back to. Lines and dots. An sos of sorts? A life line? A circle of life? I draw for days. I watch how the lines are forming and what is forming between the lines.

This time, I began like every other. But this time, I also had paper on my mind. A new kind of paper. One I have never used before. Beautiful paper. I know that this paper can be manipulated and layered. I had that paper in mind as I began to daydream, and sketch, and think of words.

The paper is called Washi. Washi is the name given to traditional handmade Japanese paper. There are three plants used in the making of Washi:  Kozo, Mitsumata, and Gampi. For this project, I have chosen to use Gampi paper.

Did you read that! This paper is said to be ‘the noblest fibre, noted for it’s richness, dignity and longevity’. How beautiful. That is exactly the kind of paper I want to make a Valentine with. That is exactly the kind of paper that will hold the words of love as they should be held – richly, dignified, and forever.

For some reason, only known to me, a Japanese theme has come up in the making of this card. The paper, as I have said, is of Japanese tradition. Well, the binding I am using to hold the card together is also Japanese. A traditional 4-hole Japanese binding stitch.


Did you know that this binding is said to connect to the heart of the person holding it! Holding the card will connect it directly to your heart. That is exactly what we want. To connect directly to the heart. Could it be more perfect.

This has been a process. One that I began in the fall of last year. Gathering all of these facets. Imagining and opening up for all of this inspiration and material to come together. The book binding workshop last November, the idea, long ago, to give a postcard to my painter friend and let him create it, the pages and pages of drawings; the hours of ‘work’. I am not afraid of work. If you put in the time, a card that is as beautiful as the one I am making will be born.

Have I told you of my own personal Valentine list yet? It is up to 37 already. 37 Valentines from Lefty Smudges alone.

On this list are:

my three painters, six profoundly talented artists, all the households in my family (including aunts and cousins), three muses, an old neighbour, my best girlfriends (all 4 of them), a young man that makes me laugh, and many other friends who are beautiful and should know that they are loved.

Is there a one? You ask. One love for Lefty Smudges?

There is.

It is with him in mind that I have designed this card. It is with his love in my heart that I searched for, and found, means of expression.

“Every letter I have ever written has been a love letter”

P.S. I am not afraid of what I do not know, and there is much I do not know – photography is one of them.   Right now the thing I am focusing on is the cards (the art and the correspondence). My etsy page will get better. I promise.