More Quarantine Letters (Amsterdam Posthumuswinkel)

by Yaska Sahara

I wrote a blog about how I’d gotten into writing letters recently and it did really well! It was more of a quick update and a fun little thing to share. But so many people told me how beautiful they thought it was. I have also come a long way in my lettering skill since. I’ve noticed that in quarantine, a skill can improve drastically in a matter of days since there isn’t much else to do. When you find something entertaining, you get more into it than you knew you could. 

The engagement with the post encouraged me even more. Despite being very busy with exams and final papers at the moment, this hobby is really worth continuing. I will definitely be sending more of these things in the days to come. I went out and bought brush pens, some more stamps and envelopes and got to work from my local post office. But I still wasn’t satisfied…

Since April 28th, shops in the Netherlands are opening, reduced hours, limited people in the store. But it’s something. Getting into lettering, I found an account on Instagram (@rippels_paperlover) with beautiful wax seals, which I now wanted as well. This account led me to a shop in Amsterdam called the posthumus winkel. I decided to upgrade my kit and take a good walk. (I write about quarantine Amsterdam walks here)

It was nice to spend a good while looking at all the stamps, quills and envelopes, soaking in new surroundings….

I went crazy asking questions. Despite not being an essential service, this lovely shop is open again and the shopkeeper told me a surprising number of people like myself were visiting, taking up this hobby to stay connected creatively. She was kind enough to talk to me about different kinds of wax and stamps and to talk about her experience of the postal service here which I was not too familiar with. She told me I can design my envelopes as much as I want as long as they’re flat. This was a massive relief because up until now I’d been merely hoping that some of my more extravagant numbers got to their destinations.

I bought a wax seal and a stamp with my initials YS. The wax is flexible, a slight upgrade from traditional wax. It ensures it’s not broken in the mail. All it takes is a candle, spoon, a little wax, your stamp and some patience and concentration. I am so proud of these and love them. Watch me get crazier and spend more exorbitant amounts on these things as I get more and more bored and more into my hobby. (I’m pretending it’s ok since I’m not spending much going out anymore.)

Part of me feels bad to the people who received my earlier, less refined letters but they played a part in my lettering journey and I plan to send more letters and cards in the future regardless. Fun holiday cards and letters to commemorate occasions are incoming!

Sending these letters has given me so much joy! It’s really fun to see them as an extension of me that can travel, because it’s somewhat true but also dramatic and poetic and a way to have fun with it. Like how initially and my letters are scruffy and less experienced but have since become savvier and appear more dignified. I hope this encourages others to take these things up. Even if you don’t have an obsession with making them look extravagant or if you can’t handwrite very well, even a typed letter, note, a virtual card or package of some sort… these small things show you care, give you something to do and allow you to feel the joy of giving great gifts!

Another joy I got to feel was the joy of recieving. I didn’t really expect people to send me letters or packages back because it was a pleasure to send them and most people thanked me via call and/or message. That already made me more than content. But still, recieving and letter and a care package made me so pleased! I got to be on the reciving end of things, it gave me a joy I didn’t know I craved, which is often one of the best kinds!

It’s a fun, beautiful, creative cycle.

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