I have a small but growing collection of vintage souvenir postcard folders. Some have never been used, but I actually prefer the ones that have been addressed and stamped. It’s somehow sweeter to know they were sent to a loved one.
At first it was the kitschy Americana that originally drew me to them. But it’s the overly saturated coloring that makes each of these feel special, like tiny paintings.
Warning: Print Geek Alert
Color photography was not as advanced as printing techniques for the first half of the twentieth century. Black and white photographs required coloring in the printing process. New colorants, more like dyes than inks, were being experimented with in the late 1920’s. Their watery quality meant they absorbed into the paper too quickly and were slow to dry… making images blurry,
Printer Curt Teich & Co in Chicago, discovered that embossing the paper with a linen texture before printing created more surface area, and new heat set inks meant faster drying times. This meant that the dyes were set on the linen surface quickly before they had a chance to absorb into the paper. This is what gives these such vibrant colors.
Teich developed a technique called Art-Colortone. This a five-color printing process on a linen-finish stock from a black and white photo. In addition to printing with the usual CYMK colors, a lighter cyan was sometimes used to give the images extra punch. Just look at those skies!
The photograph-based cards also employed handwork by artists who brought them into production. Perhaps it’s this touch of the human hand that makes them feel like tiny paintings to me.
Artists often remind us of our humanity during a crisis, and these COVID-19 based Loteria images by San Antonio artist Rafael Gonzales Jr. offer a funny and very cool slice of Texas cuulture.
Pandemic Loteria is available for purchase at Feliz Modern. You better act fast, the first press run of these sold out quickly. There are so many great items in this shop, I’m following them on Instagram so I remember them for holiday gifts.
Miranda Guillory is the artist/owner of The Paper Quillory where she creates beautiful and playful works of art with strips of colorful paper and glue.
Miranda loves playing with paper and exploring its many possibilities. Quilling is the art of creating filagree from rolled bits of paper and has been around since the Renaissance, when nuns and monks would roll gold-gilded paper remnants trimmed during the bookmaking process. They would use them to decorate religious objects as an alternative to gold filigree.
Miranda lives with her husband David near downtown Elgin.
1. Why did you move to Elgin?
Our rent was going up and up in Austin so we started looking to put all that money towards something we could own. We quickly learned that we wouldn’t be able to afford to buy in Austin. We looked for months in just about every town on the outskirts of our emerald city, looking for something that we could feel really good about, our forever home. We finally found it in Elgin. My husband and I moved here almost 6 years ago and haven’t looked back.
We love the small town atmosphere and the burgeoning creative scene.
2. What compels you to spend time creating?
Oh, I just have to. I get this anxious need to make something. Anything. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for quilling and I’ll just stare at all of my art supplies, maybe skim through some art books, until I find something manageable for the moment. I’m not very good at sitting still and have to at least be moving my hands. I find very few things more satisfying than creating something beautiful out of nothing.
I also have a tendency to feel my emotions pretty intensely and I find paper quilling, specifically, to be a very meditative process. It’s surprisingly time consuming and I’ll get lost in it for hours, feeling grounded and peaceful once I’m finished.
3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.
I’ve learned that just because something I create isn’t my favorite, doesn’t mean it wont be someone else’s. I used to trash a piece if I didn’t like where it was headed half-way through. I thought that everything I put out into the world had to be, in my mind, a masterpiece. Over time I’ve discovered that some of my least favorite works might make someone else smile, or feel seen.
I’ve learned that I’m no use to anyone if I don’t take care of myself. When I’m stressed or burnt out, when I feel unhealthy, when I don’t take care of my head and heart, I can’t REALLY show up for my work or my relationships. It’s hard to put yourself first. I wasn’t raised that way. I’ve had to learn what those little things are that feed my soul and I’ve had to learn to put them in my schedule. I’ve had to learn that it isn’t selfish. When I take care of me, I’m better equipped to take care of the people I love and to take on the world (or at least my little corner of it).
Most recently, I’ve learned how much I need to be physically around my family and friends. I am an introvert. I LOVE being home. It’s my safe space and all my favorite things are here. I like going out but I’ve always kind of had to pump myself up for it. Now that I’ve been forced to stay home I am desperate to see people face to face. I miss hugging, high fives, and giving back-scratches. I have often said that I need to be home or I need to be alone. Turns out I also need to be around people.
4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?
I’m usually working on a few projects at a time. Right now I’m doing a commissioned paper quilling of a vulva. I’m also playing around with a sunflower design. And I just about always have a breast or two in the works.
Currently on my nightstand: The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover by Kinky Friedman, Gorey’s Worlds by Erin Monroe, and The Show Won’t Go On The Most shocking, Bizarre, and Historic Deaths of Performers Onstage by Jeff Abraham and Burt Kearns.
Watching just about everything on Netflix and Hulu currently have to offer. Just finished Letterkenny, Ozark, and Baskets (I HIGHLY recommend this one).
I’m listening to a lot more KUTX lately. They seem to be playing all their best stuff now that more people have time to listen. We recently got a puppy, so I took up running again and LCD Soundsystem has been helping me through that.
Lately, I’ve been thinking of my favorite page in TheGashlycrumb Tinies.
Edward Gorey’s The Doubtful Guest, and Dr. Seuss’s similar tale of a puzzling and disruptive visitor, The Cat in the Hat, seem like a timely read these days.
While scrolling through my saved articles I found this article from The Atlantic I’d saved about a biography of Edward Gorey, Mark Dery’s Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey.
The article claims that Wes Anderson, Lemony Snickets, and even Morrissey have Gorey to thank for their sweet, dark, and humorous language and imagery.
This would explain my affection for all of the above.
You can buy this book on Amazon or why not order online from your local, or not so local independent book store? Like Powell’s or Book People
I cannot believe I started this blog 15 years ago today.
Bean & Noodle started as a Typepad blog in 2005 and is now a blog + online shop for my letterpress cards and silverware.
There are many reasons people blog. Some people blog in hopes of landing a fat book deal. Others blog about specific subjects and somehow become regarded as experts in the field. Some may actually have the expertise to back it, some just have experiences to share and a voice that makes people listen. Artists, designers and stylists blog because it’s a super user friendly way to show their work instead of a website.
Why did I start blogging?
Mine is a more personal reason. I started blogging to share my life with the women in my family… most importantly, at that time, my mother who I met in 2004. My sister and I were reunited with our mother who had given us up for adoption in the 1970s. We had spent the three years prior to adoption with an amazing foster family, with whom we have always remained in contact. We had not seen my mother since I was almost 5, and my sister was almost 2. When my sister found her, we traveled to New Jersey to visit her for a week. We knew she’d been a musician and artist (my parents were folk musicians in the 1960s… I was born in ’65, my sister in ’67). We discovered that she had been a weaver.
This struck a chord with me as I had always been drawn to textiles and had no idea why. My sister shares our mother’s love and talent for photography. I taught myself to knit when I returned home and have been knitting almost daily since. I feel I am tapping into some genetic memory every time I pick up my needles and yarn to knit.
I won’t go into much more detail, because this story belongs to my sister as much as it belongs to me. I mention it only to shed a little light on why it was so important for me to embark on, what seemed to me the ultimate narcissistic endeavour. I mean who really gives a shit if I finally finished my alpaca shawl and that after a long, crappy day only the comfort of a simple roast chicken and mashed potatoes would feel like a hug?
I can count on one hand the number of people who do.
Facebook and Instagram lured me away from here for a while, but this past year I have found I like sharing here more than ever. I’m no writer, but I like to write and share things that I find funny, beautiful, or helpful. It’s also fun to look back at older posts. If you follow the link at the end of this post to my first ever blog posts…. you’ll find I still blog about knitting, cooking, and digging in the dirt.
Today I realize the real reason I started blogging was to show Toni that I have a good life. I am happy, have a wonderful husband, dogs and cats, that I am creating stuff all the time. That her decision did not destroy our lives.
And I pray every day that it did not destroy hers.