Artfully Composed

Rediscovering the lost art of letter writing with a helping hand from Minnesota stationery brands

I moved recently and rediscovered a shoebox of old letters I’ve hung on to forever. Most of them dated back more than a decade, and there have been few additions to the stack in recent years—what with our tendency to communicate primarily via text and email. There’s something so precious about these handwritten letters and cards that I can never bear to part with them, despite my increasing desire to limit my possessions.  

As letters become rarer, it’s even more important to make them count. Fortunately, the Twin Cities is home to a bevy of fantastic stationery brands, including Modern Lore, Vandalia Street Press, Brown Ink, and Yours Madly. Unlike run-of-the-mill Hallmark greeting cards, these handmade cards are keepsake-worthy, incorporating modern design, witty wordplay, and substantial card stock.

Fans of the written word profess that handwriting can bring a sense of balance and satisfaction through both the act of writing and its physical result. Admittedly, my handwriting’s a little rusty these days, deployed only when the check comes after a meal. Fortunately, calligraphy classes have sprung up around the country to come to our aid (Minneapolis creative workshop LAB offers one on a near-monthly basis). But if you’d rather leave the writing to the professionals, you can always hire out a scribe.

Photo by 2nd Truth Photography

Minnesota Stationery
Photos by TJ Turner, Calligraphy by Athena Pelton.

Clockwise from far left: “XO” note cards, $14 for set of 6 @ Vandalia Street Press; “Radiant” card, $4 @ Yours Madly; “Martini,” “Palm tree,” and “Laurel” letterpress cards, $4 each @ Brown Ink; “Moon” card, $4.50 @ Modern Lore; Fruit letterpress note cards, $14 for set of 6 @ Vandalia Street Press; and “Egg” card, $4.50 @ Modern Lore

Paper Trail

After 42 years of business at the Galleria in Edina, women’s clothing store Epitome and its adjoining stationery and gift shop, Epitome Papers, recently closed. But not for long—two of the shop’s longtime customers, Dana Townsend and Alexandra Masui, have revived the stationery and gift outpost in downtown Excelsior. They’ve retained the original store’s core stationery and gift vendors—as well as both its stationery buyer and in-house graphic designer—and added a selection of baby gifts and pet accessories. •

Minnesota Stationery

Rifle Paper Co. note pad, $9, and assorted cards, $18 for set of 8 @ Epitome Papers