Wednesday, May 6, 2009

International Girl aerogrammes: my latest fancy

Arabic birds aerogramme outside before folding

I warn you all, I'm going to kvell about these International Girl aerogrammes for quite a while, with a lot of photos here and probably more in the future. These things are AWESOME.

Really do check out their website, because before I get into all the practical considerations of why they're great stuff, I should mention how much I support their mission. (Yeah, they're a little on the pricey side. I debated for a while, and had to wait for the appropriate time in the budget to buy them.) In the "our cause" section of their website, they note how not only does the aerogramme "celebrate the timeless art of letter writing," they go on to state most eloquently how each design has an international theme "with the aim of increasing awareness of different languages and cultures across the globe." Of course they're environmentally friendly, being 100% recycled (a little more on that in a moment), but the part that really gets me is that they are created in support of The Slow Arts, an approach to life. "We believe that happiness and kindness come through slowing down and taking time: savoring the moment and being aware." Hear, hear! That is so much a reason why I write letters, and maybe why we all write letters.

But on to the practical with more pretty pictures. You can see what the inside writing space of the aerogramme looks like in yesterday's post. The top photo of today is the aerogramme design side, before folding into an envelope.

(For those of you who are wondering, the International Girl site offers a great explanation of "What is an aerogramme?": "a letter that folds up into its own envelope.")

Arabic birds aerogramme, folded back

Here we have the back, once it's folded, with a space for return address. I assume the arabic writing says the same.

Arabic birds aerogramme, folded front

That's the front, with the pretty design. I used a kind of weirdo Star Wars stamp, but don't let that mar the overall beauty.

International girl aerogrammes packaging

Here's the pretty packaging - all the aerogrammes are in a tablet inside, and you tear them out one by one.

Spread your words and fly

I love this so much: writing suggestions. Tee hee. Their slogan is "spread your words and fly." Delightful.

Okay, this is a long post, so thanks to those of you serious readers who've hung in there with me. My big concern when I bought these was how they would hold up to fountain pens and fountain pen ink, because I prefer to write all my letters with fountain pens (unless they're on black paper, and then I'll reach for the metallic gel pens). I was a little worried about the high recycled content, because that often means there will be a lot of feathering and bleed-through. However, these have been a fantastic surprise in that they take fountain pen ink beautifully. The top photo was taken AFTER the letter had already been written on the other side - clearly no bleed-through at all, and you can see for yourself that there's no feathering on the ink. (That green ink is Noodler's Eternal Hunter Green, for those who are wondering.) The paper has a lovely feel, with a little bit of a laid surface, but it takes even my extra-fine Japanese nibs without any feedback, AND the ink dries very quickly on it. This has become some of my favorite letter-writing paper in its own right.

I also have the Chinese sun and clouds design, which is just as lovely, so I'm sure to feature some photos of that in future posts. (It is lined with a fairly narrow rule, while these of the Arabic Birds are blank/unlined.)

If you're looking for some great letter-writing stationery that supports a good cause, I just can't recommend this highly enough.

One question remains: why is the company called "International Girl?" My inner feminist digs the concept, but it does seem a bit mysterious.

9 May 2009 UPDATE: if you read the comments below, you'll see info from Jaki of the International Girl Aerogrammes, and she gives an explanation for why they're called International Girl and a confirmation that indeed the translations in other languages are exact, and some more fun back story on the company. Thanks, Jaki!