We recently returned from a trip to “the city”. Living in a rather remote area, these brief visits are highly treasured. My visual appetite is fed by lush gardens, distinctive architecture, and a diversity of cultural experiences. My search for unique artistic elements requires a budget, but is always satiated. It rather reminds me of childhood days when a dime or nickel was granted for penny candy—so many wonderful choices, such delightful agony.
On this trip, I stumbled upon the most exquisite handmade paper and ribbon. It is currently strewn across my studio, paired with an array of objects and images for future artistic projects; but there are also snippets that have found their way into my recent giftwrapping. They seemed too beautiful not to immediately share.
When opportunity and time allows, I adore wrapping packages, endeavoring to bring as much delight with the wrapping as the gift itself-- lovely papers and ribbons, odd trinkets and attachments. I think this passion began long ago.
When I was a young girl, I would occasionally accompany my mother on shopping trips to the men’s department store in our small town. Its dim, hushed atmosphere exuded a certain elegance. Its burnished wooden floors and antique glass cases were so unlike the brightly lit, chrome furnishings in the pharmacy nearby. While the pharmacy thrilled me with its soda fountain favorites, this store called to my budding sense of beauty with its giftwrapping station. I had never seen gifts so finely wrapped, enveloped in smooth white paper, tailored with crisp square corners and embellished with long strips of colored satin ribbon- how lovely, I thought, how beautiful. Duly inspired by each visit, I would try to duplicate what I had seen with the crinkled papers we recycled for each holiday; but it would be many years before I could craft a somewhat suitable corner or learn that creased paper could be restored with an iron.
Sometimes, the recipients of my gifts will say they are too pretty to open; but I soundlessly reply, “No, they are not”. My gifts are only intended to provide a brief moment of beauty for the recipient. That’s how I often experience beauty, as a fleeting instant of a silently quelled rapture, a quiet flash of unspoken love.