Words by t.e.l.l. New England & Of Note Stationers
Photos by Jenn Bakos & Ashley Herrin
In the winter of 2015 we visited the then studio space of Of Note Stationers in Boston, Massachusetts. Co-founded and operated by Isabel Bonenfant and Kate Kellman, Of Note began as a way to shine a light on the hand-written note, something that had all but disappeared in this digital age of emojis and social media. There’s something so beautiful and special about receiving a hand-written note in the mail — there’s care and time spent in writing them —there’s value in the personal nature that makes receiving letters (and writing letters) so special. And so, a suit of minimalistic yet type-centric note cards was born – an attempt to connect people with a simple ‘Remember this…’
Since then, Of Note Stationers has grown. They outgrew their city space and moved to a new studio located in Amherst, Massachusetts. Their line of cards and product offerings has grown immensely in size, too. But their goal remains the same; connect people through the handwritten word.
This past spring Kate and Isabel reached out to us after we announced the issue theme. The Flora Issue resonated with them, and their newly released line of illustrative cards inspired by wildflowers of New England. We were more than happy to visit the duo again and to see their growth through their new space and in their new line of cards.
At Of Note it is our goal to inspire you to share your thoughts, however large or small, with the handwritten word. We are energized by finding nuanced ways to express gratitude, wishes of support and encouragement, and appreciation for the world around us.
For the first year or so we kept our designs typographic, illuminating the power of the words themselves. In the second year we were ready to give life to an idea that had been ruminating. On weekend trips to thrift stores and used book stores we had slowly been sourcing a collection of vintage books with beautiful botanical illustrations. Initially the buying was out of fascination, but it quickly became something we hoped to include in our work.
In the winter of 2016 we carved out time and space to create and we hit the books. It was important to us to celebrate the flora of Massachusetts, our home state, so we selected flowers that can be found here. While our typography errs on the small side, we wanted our flowers to be expansive. We remained delicate in our presentation, but let the illustrations become the focal point. At first we weren’t sure if we’d include phrases on these cards, but as the illustrations became a reality we liked the way they gave voice to sentiments we hadn’t yet produced. (We particularly love the conversation the flowers seem to be having on our “you are exactly where you need to be” card.)
As we move through spring and into summer, we hope these illustrations give you pause and a nudge to revel in the bounty of regrowth this time of year brings. Take a blanket and a pen and paper outside; sit quietly, listen, and look. What do you appreciate in this moment? With whom can you share that appreciation? Perhaps you can convey it with words, or maybe something from your surroundings. We love to pick flowers to press between the pages of a book and send to a friend in the mail.
However you choose to get outside and engage with Mother Nature, we hope you will enjoy it.