Hi guys! I wanted to tell you about my sustainable letter writing sets that I'm starting to sell now. I love these things and it seems, so do you, because they keep selling out, which is amazing for a small business like mine. Thank you so much for your support!
As always, I'm going for a zero-waste set first and foremost. I don't think anything can be zero waste entirely, because of the cost of making the items in the first place, but I aim to get as close to it for the end consumer as possible. This means using recycled items that can also be recycled. And since paper is both recycled and infinitely recyclable (unlike plastic, which gets recycled down, so at some point you will be entirely unable to use it and it will just go into the ground), this is where I normally head first.
What makes them sustainable?
I started with one of my printers: A Local Printer has a fantastic green ethos and offer almost everything they print with a recycled printer option and eco-inks (which I think means they're plant based, but don't worry, this doesn't take away from the quality of the print at all). When I found their stationery options, printed on 100% recycled paper, I knew that's where I wanted to begin. Part of my drive for sustainability also means that I try to use as little packaging as possible, so the best way I've found to package these (I thought) is with a recycled paper belly band, also provided by A Local Printer, which uses minimal paper and is also 100% recycled. (A Local Printer also mostly post without plastic, although I do randomly get the occasional plastic wrap around the outside of my post.) Other than this, the only other packaging I use is either a 100% recycled brown paper bag from Eco Craft (for the standard letter set), or a Kraft, un-dyed box (for the gift set) from Tiny Box Co. On top of this, all of my cards and envelopes are also made of recycled paper and sourced from Eco Craft. My empty ink tanks are recycled with Recycle 4 Charity. If you're going for the gift set, then the stickers you get are both recycled and recyclable (Eco Craft again), and the pen you get is hand-turned my a craftsman from Lewes, Brighton and made out of offcuts. This also means that every pen is slightly different.
What designs do I have?
So far I have three designs. After sales of the first one demonstrated a desire for the sets, I created two more. The first and original set is called the British Wildlife Sustainable Letter Writing Set. It features my original pen and ink drawings with gouache flourishes. Simple, clean and combining vintage and contemporary features, I really love how this one came out. It also includes 4 of my cards, which you can also buy separately if you fancy.
The next set was born out of some experiments I did attempting to combine two of my artistic loves: pen and ink and gouache. I pulled in folk art elements for these, using the books Creature Garden and Imagine A Forest for inspiration. This is some of my favourite work to date and I loved making the images that went on this set. You can see some of the originals on this page. It's definitely a style I will be exploring in the future. The cards on this set are exclusively available with the set and cannot be bought separately. I named this set the Folky Wildlife Sustainable Letter Writing Set.
The third (but not the final set) I've brought out (just yesterday, in fact!) is my Animal Stamps Sustainable Letter Writing Set. If you were following me on Instagram (@howellillustration) in October, you will have seen me taking part in #inktober2020, which requires you to draw something every day in response to prompts given for the whole of October. Read more about that here. The format I chose for my drawings was postage stamps. Tiny little pen and ink drawings combined with gouache paint that created mini world often smaller than a 2p piece. And these drawings have formed the basis for my newest letter set:
What's coming next?
I'm intending to finish 'signs of winter' and yep, you guessed it 'signs of summer' shortly too. These will be deconstructed from the print and used to frame new letter sets. Each letter set will contain two sheets of summer, spring, winter and autumn paper. Neat huh?
I'm also thinking about making a huge bumper set with everything in - but we'll see how that goes!
Hope you liked my walk-through of my sustainable letter sets! I'm so proud of these and so excited that they seem so popular :). I hope you like them.
Thanks for reading!