Local paper products and other handmade goods are reviving the lost art of letter writing and handlettering. In a day and age when communication moves at 4G speed and products are mass-produced, there is something special about receiving made-by-hand goods. Here’s a look at several talented people in Hawai‘i who are creating local, handmade paper products:
“They’re perfectly imperfect,” says owner Nicole Ferrara. From the floral prints to the fishes in the sea, each quirky hand-drawn card is inspired by life in the Pacific. “Not only do our cards have fun and bright and cheery prints that really make you think of Hawai‘i and the tropics,” says Ferrara, “but they also help put a smile on people’s faces when you go to the mailbox or open a gift.” nicomade.com
“I try to keep it pretty simple,” says owner Andrew Mau, who carves his designs into rubber stamps and uses permanent ink to create a simple, patterned card. “I’m not trying to make a cheeky greeting card as much as I am trying to make that one really basic card you always have in your drawer.” mau-house.com
Passion Fruits Design
Passion Fruits Design owner Tram Nguyen designed her first line of cards after being inspired by “the beauty of the things in this world, from flowers and nature to people in all walks of life,” she says. Nguyen uses watercolor, pen and ink, and digital methods to create her paper products. @passionfruitsdesign
“I really couldn’t find nice, non-touristy cards that weren’t printed on some plastic-y paper or that didn’t have a dolphin on it,” says UH Mānoa design professor and Island Penman founder Chae Ho Lee. He sketches every letter before translating it to the computer. Then, each card is printed by a company on Maui that does printing with a letterpress. “The machine creates different impressions on the paper depending on how much ink you put, so there’s a uniqueness to every card.” islandpenman.com
Bradley and Lily Fine Stationery
After designing a card for her son’s birth announcement, Bradley and Lily Fine Stationery founder and South Shore Paperie owner Stacey Nomura began getting requests from friends for things like wedding invitations. With business growing, Nomura and her husband purchased an antique letterpress and named the company after their son and daughter. “Everything I saw growing up [in California] was really classic and tailored,” she says. “Here, it’s fun and bright and colorful. So I like to mix the two together.” bradleyandlily.com
Everything Is Jake!
“It all started when my wife wanted some artwork for our house,” says owner Nick Kuchar. “I started doing these surf-styled travel posters of different locations we’ve been to in Hawai‘i.” He begins by sketching his ideas by hand or digitally using a Wacom Tablet, then he overlays different textures and distresses the prints to give the posters his signature nostalgic look. everythingisjake.com
Miemiko / Co.
“I just want people to feel some kind of joy and also use it to connect with others,” says Cari Nakanishi, whose foray into stationery came after creating invitations for friends. After learning to operate a letterpress, Nakanishi serendipitously received one of her own as a gift. She uses her cast-iron letterpress to create products such as cards and wedding invitations. miemiko.com
“After every party, I found myself trying to smooth out the wrapping paper,” says Wrappily owner Sara Smith, who is based on Maui. Since standard wrapping paper is not recyclable, Smith brainstormed solutions for a more eco-friendly approach and hit upon printing reversible designs on newsprint, which can be recycled up to seven times. She collaborates with local designers to create fresh and contemporary designs. wrappily.com