Review by Sarah Williams
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.
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.