Etsy and eBay are my go-to sources for really personal gifts, and I’m leaning on them even more since our move from Brooklyn. (Not that I am complaining, new shop after new shop in our neighborhood was proving dangerous, and I’m more than happy with the trade off that is living in a small rural town with pretty Berkshire mountain views.)
When a holiday or party approaches,
I haunt both sites, spending hours searching for something highly personal such as the ashtray I bought my dad, stamped with the name Egyptian Gardens, from a club with belly dancing floor shows and Greek music that my parents loved in the ‘60s, and a vintage baby book I found for my best friend/cousin’s shower that could serve as a Mad Men prop. For our first Christmas, I presented Patrick with a bunch of letterpress image cuts.
As a present, this last one was tough to pull off because I really didn’t know much about letterpress at the time. What made a cut a good find and what made one trashed? Things were further complicated by the fact that he had all sorts of automated alerts to any and all letterpress stuff; I was petrified that he would be the one to drive the cost of an item up, trying to outbid me and my created-for-the-occasion’s-need-for-secrecy bidder name.
This bride is one of my favorite wins. The cut is a little rough on the edge but I think that adds a little something to it. I know that the gold standard of the trade is an even impression, but the evidence of wear is the charm for me, a legacy of past impressions, a hint at the object’s history and, in this case, the brides who might have seen it in a local ad, or the newspapermen who might have dropped it in a rush to get the page ready by deadline.
We’d love to hear about your favorite old finds, or your speculation on where this image might have been used!