I’ve had envelopes on my mind, along with the cards somehow for the ask/say whatever this bookish thing ends up to be, so I’ve been meaning to go check out the Be Enveloped! exhibit at San Francisco Center for the Book. Finally got there now that it’s about to close, and I’m glad I did. It’s a fun celebration of an everyday object most of us take for granted, if we even use them at all anymore. However, as one of the accompanying texts mentioned, envelopes were a DIY affair until the mid-19th century. The exhibit includes information on the envelope as a functional item, how they are made, the different sizes, etc. There are also some pictures from Golden West Envelope, a company that makes envelopes in Oakland. Who knew? That would be super neat to see the process.
Other displays focused on the envelope as container and carrier of meaning, with a variety of hand decorated envelopes, machine printed envelopes for advertising/branding or first day issue stamps, and a selection from the Smithsonian of historical envelopes. In addition, there were envelope related items including stamps featuring envelopes, letter openers, and sealing wax – from Atelier Gargoyle, in Half Moon Bay. Another who knew? That there were still people making sealing wax, and in Half Moon Bay, of all places!
Lots to look at and enjoy, without being totally overwhelming. All very nicely displayed. There’s also a great companion booklet, Unfolding the Envelope, which includes a variety of ruminations on the topic.