Greetings from celebrities

Adele sparked a media frenzy when she went on a greeting card buying spree in John Lewis’ Peter Jones store recently. Meanwhile, a whole host of other celebs, from Jennifer Aniston and Tom Hiddleston, to Hugh Bonneville and Mary Berry, have vocalised about their love of making cards, while other famous faces, from Barack Obama to Alan Shearer, have not held back on their involvement on the greeting card front. PG gets the celebrity scoop by sharing some famous faces’ views on the role greeting cards play in modern life.

Some do it for business, others for pleasure and many for good causes… from top music stars, TV stars, comedians or even politicians, so many big names are in the ‘celebrity card club’ – which is all good news for the card trade.

The press lapped up the news when Adele recently bought up John Lewis’ Peter Jones store’s entire stock of Tache Craft’s Famous Faces cards featuring her visage. Tache’s ‘You Had Me at Hello…’ design featuring Lionel Richie hit just the right note for him too; he loved it so much he tweeted and Facebooked it, wishing his followers a “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Linda Barker recognises the close link between surface pattern trends on homewares and greeting cards.
Linda Barker recognises the close link between surface pattern trends on homewares and greeting cards.

Meanwhile, still within the music world, having majored in design, female diva Diana Ross made no secret recently that she had thoroughly enjoyed crafting romantic bird-themed Valentine’s Days cards with home guru Martha Stewart, and fellow songstress Taylor Swift also admitted that she adores making cards, saying in a press release, “My idea of a great song is a song that says how I feel better than I could. I feel the same way about greeting cards. I’ve always been fascinated by feelings and how we express them to each other.”

Craft reviver/interior designer, Linda Barker, has also come clean about how she loves a good card-making session. “For me, cards are small moments of pure pleasure and joy; little gems that can translate an emotion so quickly,” she explains. “I like funny cards most of all; ones that make me openly laugh out loud.” While she does make her own cards occasionally, Linda most often buys them, “Often stockpiling them if more than one catches my eye. Once I’ve stepped into a card shop, it’s difficult to leave in a hurry!”

Another ‘home crafter’ Kirstie Allsopp’s inspiring, bold and original style is reflected in her cards, which exude her passion for pattern. “There is nothing nicer than a handmade card with a personalised handwritten message. It shows that real thought has gone into the occasion or celebration. Moreover, they are easy to tailor-make to individual tastes.”

Kirstie Allsopp has championed greeting cards, both on the crafting front as well as on the retail side, as evidenced by her licensing programme, which included being published by Cardmix.
Kirstie Allsopp has championed greeting cards, both on the crafting front as well as on the retail side, as evidenced by her licensing programme, which included being published by Cardmix.

Other high-profile names, such as Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Tracey Emin and Eddie Izzard have seen their designs launch onto greeting cards in recent years, as has musician/author Suzi Quatro. She personally designed a self-drawn collection, which has been close to her heart for many years. “I have always drawn pictures of kids, since falling in love with Walter Keane pictures as a young girl. I am very proud of my Christmas card collection, which I started creating in 1981. It became a personal family statement. I know a lot of people who have kept my cards through the years.”

When it comes to Christmas and bringing good tidings, stars love sending cards. Through their inventive cards, and social media, we’ve seen Ellen DeGeneres spoofing Kim Kardashian’s infamous over-the-top annual offering, Kelly Clarkson’s epic Game of Thrones-themed Christmas card and a scantily-clad Liz Hurley posing in a bikini and Santa hat with a snow-covered-mountain backdrop. Even Joan Collins has released a classy Christmas card featuring her glamorous self.

Gary Barlow, Joanna Lumley, Twiggy, Ewan McGregor… they’re all dab hands at designing, with impressive charity card creations on their CVs. Whether it’s a self-portrait design by Benedict Cumberbatch, an elaborate work of art by Aled Jones or a mini masterpiece by Ricky Gervais, a whole host of warm-hearted big names have shown off their creative talents in the name of charity. Sir Michael Parkinson, Frank Lampard and Katherine Jenkins have also showcased their star-studded creative skills.

Sir Cliff Richard doesn’t hold back on his views, having his own sound card (published by Danilo). “I love it! It means that I become part of many people’s birthday celebrations and I consider that a great privilege. Even though the internet makes it easy to contact friends and family, I still have a soft spot for cards… and I do like receiving them,” enthuses Sir Cliff. “It’s always good to feel that someone has taken the time to choose and buy a card, hand write a message and post it to you.”

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch raised £2,649 for charity after designing his card design on behalf of Coram, the children’s charity. The card was sold at auction as part of a campaign launched by crafting company Stampin’ Up UK.
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch raised £2,649 for charity after designing his card design on behalf of Coram, the children’s charity. The card was sold at auction as part of a campaign launched by crafting company Stampin’ Up UK.

Fashionable Fearne Cotton injected her cool in to her cute ‘love’-themed charity cards, while Jane Seymour’s talents as a watercolour and sketch artist led to a series of greeting cards to support her charities. Sir Ian McKellen, Rita Ora, Alan Titchmarsh and Louis Smith have all designed doodle charity cards, while bespoke cards designed by Richard E Grant, Lorraine Kelly and Sir Chris Hoy have all gone under the charity hammer. Fans clamoured to get their hands on Little Mix’s limited-edition charity Christmas cards and Ronan Keating made a chart-topping charity ecard, featuring his hand-drawn snowman and Christmas tree design.

Even Hollywood’s got in on the act, with Eva Longoria, Jennifer Garner and Kate Beckinsale all creating exclusive designs for good causes. Julianne Moore helped create a line of limited-edition Valentine’s Day cards, while Rosie O’Donnell opened an online shop to sell her own cards, all in the name of charity.

“I’m an ardent practitioner of handwritten cards,” says actress-turned-bestselling author, Carol Drinkwater. “I love to make my own cards out of photographs, cut-outs and bits of flowers and vegetation from the garden. I get a huge thrill secreting messages and little cards in my husband’s luggage when he’s off travelling. These are placed to be found as the suitcase is unpacked: buried in socks, inside the fold of a shirt etc.”

Actress turned author Carol Drinkwater is a big fan of the handwritten greeting card.
Actress turned author Carol Drinkwater is a big fan of the handwritten greeting card.

Carol reveals that she receives dozens and dozens of e-greeting cards from readers and fans. “They always give me a lift but, for me, there is nothing to replace the discovery of a card in the letterbox and the thrill of opening it, reading it, standing it on a table to pick up and browse on-and-off throughout the days to come,” says Carol.

Linda Barker has no problem summing up the potency of greeting cards. “A handwritten message on a card is a thoughtful communication, which I find particularly touching in our fast-paced, digital age,” she says. “If it’s posted to me, then so much the better because I know it’s been sent with an intention of kindness and love,” adds Linda.

So, famous faces agree on the emotional power of sending and receiving greeting cards and the intimate handwritten note remains ever important, offering a special, personal gift which many want to keep forever… how celebrity cool is that?

This article first appeared in the July issue of Progressive Greetings magazine

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