Andrew: I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that between the two of us, Dearie is definitely, without a doubt the more creative one. One of the ways in which she uses her creativity to care for me is through cards! I’m always amazed at the amount of effort that goes into her cards and the varied styles that she uses. She could even set up her own card shop! Here are some of her most recent card ‘styles’:
Jazzy: Backup career calling. Set up shop on Etsy.
(Andrew’s note: Dearie was also the one who took all these shots, so you can see that the shots are more thoughtfully composed, with quirky inclusions that I would normally not do. I’d just take a picture where the card fills the whole frame, hence reinforcing my very first point. Heh.)
‘Style’ #1: World’s Smallest Postal Service
Andrew: Technically this isn’t a ‘style’ of my Dearie’s own creation but it is definitely reflective of her resourcefulness in finding innovative ways to surprise me! There’s no way I’m leaving this note out of the series. This note was sent from www.worldssmallestpostalservice.com. As you can see, the note is really very small and requires a magnifying glass to view it. So cute! It was a surprise note indeed to encourage me through an arduous Term 3.
In the note, Dearie included one of her favourite poems, “It is Here” by Harold Pinter:
It is Here (for A)
What sound was that?
I turn away, into the shaking room.
What was that sound that came in on the dark?
What is this maze of light it leaves us in?
What is this stance we take,
to turn away and then turn back?
What did we hear?
It is the breath we took when we first met.
Listen. It is here.
Jazzy: The card is approximately the size of a thumb and comes with a magnifying glass to help you read the very fine print! This miniature card seems eminently DIY-able though, so I may just pirate this idea sometime in the future.
And isn’t the Pinter poem amazing? It achieves such command and power through its directness and simplicity (note to self: watch, learn and reduce post length).
Style #2: Drawing
Andrew: This was a Teachers’ Day card to encourage me as I had a particularly bad Teachers’ Day this year (don’t ask – but one of my students’ well-wishes included the word ‘woodblock’). I’m not sure though that the use of woodblock as toilet roll and a chair should be of encouragement to me since I’m not quite sure if there’s some hidden irony in the card. Nonetheless, I loved this card a lot because of its timeliness.
Jazzy: I thought I’d play with the negative connotation of ‘woodblock’ and turn the idea on its head. The full quote is, “You may be a woodblock [turn over to next page], but you’re my woodblock.”
Style #3: Stenciling and shading
Backdrop: Card propped up on Andrew’s laptop case, next to his black bedhead
Andrew: This was my favourite card of all! It was a card to celebrate the end of term, along with organic snacks to sustain me through prelim marking. I was actually there to witness Dearie’s artistic process, though unfortunately I fell asleep 15 minutes into watching it (which kind of says something about how “interesting” the process was). Of course, when I woke up, I was delightfully surprised to see the mosaic of lab apparatus. Due to my “woodblocked-ness” (see above), the more subtle design elements had to be highlighted to me by Dearie as she told me how she had carefully selected certain apparatus to form the “border” and how she had to orientate the various apparatus to ‘fill up the spaces’.
Jazzy: I found an old-school chemistry stencil in my Dad’s stationery drawer and used that to construct the various line drawings in this “We Made It” card. This is my favourite style of card design because all it requires is a black marker to render something very complex, geometric and abstract from simple ideas and even simpler tools.
It took almost an hour (during which Andrew napped fitfully on the sofa whilst I slaved away) to fill it up in black ink because all I had was a Pilot G2 pen to color with!
Style 4: Mixed media (a term we picked up from our favourite reality TV show, Work of Art!)
Materials used: cotton wool, plaster, sandpaper, masking tape
Backdrop: Andrew’s post-op medication, on his bedsheets
Andrew: This card was to comfort me after my wisdom tooth operation yesterday. Jasmine came all the way down to Wisma to help a groggy me make my way back home. Of course, along the way she did some shopping too. This card was the best ‘medicine’ of all. 🙂
Jazzy: In all fairness, I bought Andrew a cold Milo and left him to read SuperFreakonomics at Food Republic for 15 minutes whilst I tried on a couple of clothes at Southaven.
The layers of masking tape revealing yet concealing a red backdrop on the front plays with the notion of the role of bandages in the healing process. I deliberately made the layers imperfect, scrunched-up and asymmetrical, inspired by the dishevelled dresses from the very cool design duo at Rodarte:
Jazzy: I used a pen knife to etch out the word, “love”, on this paper doily. It was harder than expected because the paper was so flimsy that it would tear if I exerted the slightest bit of pressure on the knife tip.
Andrew: And this card came today, one day after my wisdom tooth operation, along with two sticks of honey (amaretto and mango flavoured) to suit my liquid diet requirements. On the card was a verse to encourage us through this transition period of changing churches. It was the message in this card that really touched me as I saw how Dearie really cared for me. Awww… Thanks Dearie! You’re the most creative and sweetest girlfriend ever 🙂