Vintage Valentine Workshop
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Westport News)
Fairfield, CT – Valentine, won’t you be mine? That question and other phrases were tipped into clever cards being lovingly created at the Westport Historical Society Saturday afternoon.
A special “Valentine Workshop” held in the lower level Newman Room at the 25 Avery Place facility allowed children and adults ages 4 to 104 to make loved ones handmade one-of-a-kind heirloom quality Valentine cards. Participants could also enjoy a display of vintage cards on loan from George Dragone.
“This is my first experiment in multi-generational programming,” said program leader Elizabeth DuVoll. “Why should kids have all the fun?”
A wide array of materials were spread across three long tables in the basement space, which was decorated with Valentine décor. Materials included old-time, vintage and retro graphics, doilies, glitter, fabric, lettering and even rose petals.
“With any of my programs, I like to give participants a lot of choices of materials rather than dictate a certain approach,” said DuVoll. “It lets them use their imaginations.”
Kids said with other kids, parents and even grandparents, collaboratively working away with glue, scissors, tape and crayons, creating clever collages for their special family members.
“Today, I’m making a nice card for my mom,” said Leora Wong, 11, of Westport. “I like art but I’m not a very good artist. I like to glue stuff down though.”
One of the moms attending, Holly Maybruck, of Westport, had received an email about the program and came with her daughter and another mom with daughters. “We all love to do art activities,” she said, “and because this is vintage, we thought it would be fun for the girls to see – the gimmicks, typefaces and slogans.”
A card example of which DuVoll was particularly fond was one her daughter, then 12 and now in college, made a number of years ago for her. It proclaimed, “I love you more than a hamburger,” and showed a hand-drawn picture of a hamburger.
The message was as punny and corny as the vintage cards belonging to Dragone, which were reportedly just a small sampling of a larger collection of vintage items. “Some of these are very clever for their time, with moving parts and fun messages,” DuVoll said.
As cards took shape, you could see the careful touches put into each – personal, thoughtful and meaningful expressions and images. It was enough to make one exclaim, “Eat your heart out Hallmark!” --- pun intended.