Hearty Greetings

Review by Sarah Williams

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Also, when snowflakes melt on your skin, remember you are warm blooded. Your heart is beating. Stop to listen.
 
Laura Beyer, the artist behind Hearty Greetings, gave me a present at the opening of the Art Book Review’s “On the Road: Detroit.” We’d never met before but moments after our first handshake, she says “I have something for you.” She places in my hands a kraft paper-bound notebook with “3 x 4” (it’s size in inches) letterpressed on the cover in a friendly melon color. This intention, thoughtfulness, hospitality is at the heart of Hearty Greetings, each opening with a warm note written as if to an old friend hitting, a reverberating cord of earnestness, poetry, and intimacy.
 
With publishing dates timed with the turn of a season, the issues, and especially the introductory notes, succeed in embodying the seasonal change of their production. Hearty Greetings—Late Autumn is the crisp Fall air that reaches for a woolen sweater, Late Summer is that popsicle on the porch in the early dusk of a closing August. Beauty, excitement, birth and death, all in the same turn of a changing season, a new issue. In this, there is a nostalgia (even if only imaginary for licking stamps and lazy days, charged with anticipation before school starts in September, or a particular whiff of crumpled leaves mixed with cinnamon cookies that makes you write a letter to your best friend from college now far away, or your cousin who you barely see even at Christmas.
 
I opened up the Blue Moon edition from Late Summer 2012, Laura’s voice rings through: “This Summer, coming to a close, already? Heavens.” Like a friend saying, “has it really been that long since we spoke?” Over the course of this issue, a moon created through a circle die-cut that starts on the cover, waxes and wanes as each page turns, adding and removing a differently patterned crescent sliver. Each issue is a different size, shape, color, composition, but they all house pages culled from the submissions of friends, family, and collaborators held together by thoughtful, touches from the artist’s hand–a gold seal, a colorful ribbon of hand-tied binding, a tiny box taped at the sides that houses one issue, or an introduction signed with what appears to be a blue colored pencil.
 
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And whether they’re rooted in nostalgia, or that mixed with a desire to show someone the warmth of a handmade package, many of us have had or still have relationships where we write letters, make things for each other, send them in the mail. Opening a Hearty Greetings inspires that same flutter of excitement in your stomach upon opening your mailbox to find a specially marked letter with cutouts and drawings. You feel loved, like someone cared enough to make this just for you. A thing to be held and flipped through, read once now, again later, put in a drawer and rediscovered when you’re sorting through things whilst packing for a move, but always cherished.
 
Hearty Greetings is a personal note, a checking in, a postcard to say I am thinking about you.
 

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