In a digital era with smartphones in our pockets and keyboards at our fingertips, there is something undoubtedly alluring about handwritten words. That irresistible appeal has inspired Etsy sellers, who are harnessing the inherent beauty and meaning of handwriting in a variety of powerful and sentimental creations.
Handwriting tells of a time and place, of a person; it holds a romance and a gravitas, whether it’s a love letter, a generations-old recipe, or simply a forgotten to-do list, discovered in a library book or the pocket of a vintage coat. It is intimate, like stumbling upon a secret. “Handwriting has a personality, like fingerprints,” says Etsy seller Karen Hazarian of K Pepper Jewelry. “No two person’s handwriting is alike.”
For Etsy seller Kendra Rousseau of Soulful Simplicity, her creative connection to handwriting began in a very personal way. “When my father passed away, I found myself not wanting to throw away anything that he had written,” she says. “The ability to take those notes and wood burn them into pieces that are beautiful or functional gives me a way to continue to feel his love and presence.”
Edi Royer, who etches notes into cutting boards, frames, and scrapbooks, notes that incorporating handwriting into a custom piece lets customers honor family histories. She says, “I love nothing more than engraving a grandmother’s recipe for her grandchildren to cherish for years to come.” The uniqueness of handwriting can be used to celebrate the present as well. “My most fun piece was a very large brooch [I made] for a lady who turned 100 years old,” says Hazarian. “It had signatures from each family member.”
While today handwriting tells stories of people’s pasts, it’s difficult to know if it will continue to do so in the future. As digital means of communication take over, handwriting must become an act of consciousness to endure. “I have to hope that even 50 years down the line people will still take the time to leave that special note tucked away in a lunch box or scribble sentiments on a birthday card,” says Caroline Gargiulo, who makes charming jewelry with handwritten details. “Writing is beginning to be viewed as an art form now more than ever.”