Embellished Envelopes

July 29, 2014

Painted envelopes by Mikisaburo Izui, interned at Minidoka

Painted envelopes by Mikisaburo Izui, interned at Minidoka

My decorated envelopes

My decorated envelopes

I was inspired to embellish a couple of plain envelopes with little watercolor sketches after seeing a display of envelopes by Mikisaburo Izui at the Bellevue Arts Museum.  The envelopes were included in an exhibit of arts and crafts created by Japanese Americans in the internment camps of 1942 – 1946.  The exhibit is called“The Art of Gaman.”  The concept of Gaman is “to endure the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.”

I am drawn to the Japanese way of imbuing a sense of grace and beauty in everyday, ordinary things.  It takes time and attentiveness and a calm mind, I think, to live in this way.  The exhibit at the Bellevue Arts Museum shows that this sensibility did not break under the unfair and harsh conditions of the internment camps.  The art created during this time was remarkable and inspiring.

On those now rare occasions when I mail a handwritten letter, I plan to take just a little extra time to embellish the envelope with a watercolor sketch.  My small attempt to add a grace note to someone’s day.




11 Responses to “Embellished Envelopes”

  1. Lynne Says:

    What a beautiful and inspiring post and idea. Thank you!

  2. Sandy bessingpas Says:

    What a pleasure it will be to receive one of these in my mailbox

  3. shoreacres Says:

    So beautiful! My mother had a friend who tatted little birds and flowers and added those to her stationery. There still are a few knocking around. I think my aunt has them. I had a few, and gave them as a birthday gift to an older friend who used to tat before her eyesight gave out.

    Your embellishments are better for envelopes, though. The tatting would be torn off in the mail.

  4. Margaret Says:

    Don’t forget to write to me! I am hoping we can get to the Bellevue Museum sometime.

  5. Lina Menezes Says:

    Hello Rosemary…I do love your blog and all the beautiful quotations and your paintings. I have a dear friend , we have been friends since we were 4 years old…[we are both now 65], and she has always drawn on her envelopes to me, and has made envelopes from magazine adverts etc which she has been drawn to, and excited her sense of beauty. Your special gift to me today is about Gaman, as I go through a difficult stage of living. Thank you Lina Menezes

    • Rosemary Says:

      Thank you for writing. I, too, am intrigued by the concept of gaman, which I had not heard of before. It is an inspirational point of view to remember during difficult times. Best wishes.

  6. Elisa Says:

    OOOOOOOOOOO I would like going to the mailbox just to get the envelope!!!

  7. Shirley Says:

    I agree with Sandy

  8. Gretchen Says:

    They’re lovely! What a beautiful thing to send to someone.

  9. Mary Kendall Says:

    This is entirely new to me. How lucky your correspondents are to receive a letter in the mail from you!

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