Letter to Magdalena, from Hermine. Photos by Magdalena Nowak, via her blog.
Hermine Van Dijck is a Belgian artist living in a little village near Antwerp. Besides working as a textile designer and pursuing her love of weaving, Hermine writes notes.
Hermine is interested in all forms of communication. She loves the play between fast modes of messaging – email and blogging – and the slower, more traditional, correspondence of letters and notes. Out of this fascination, came two, on-going projects which have taken Hermine’s words to the world.
The first is her letters project, in which Hermine invited her blog readers to send letters to her. Often included with these notes are small tokens, which Hermine shares on her Letters to Treasure blog. Then Hermine, in turn, sends a message back.
For the second Words For Strangers project, Hermine sends out a package of inspirational notes to her various pen pals. These they then leave anonymously all around their home towns throughout the world. But before they walk away, they snap a shot, so Hermine can see where her words wound up.
I find these two projects to be both intriguing and moving. In the letters project, it is so interesting to see what people include with their notes. These items are like tiny snapshots of the senders’ lives, little glimpses into their world, and as such they become like small gifts of the self. It is also fascinating to see how much care people take in their letters – decorating the envelopes and wrapping their objects in special papers. It is as if the part they want to share with Hermine is the best part of themselves.
For Words for Strangers, it is just fun to think about people all over the world discovering notes from Hermine and her cohorts. I like envisioning how these missives might brighten the day of a complete stranger, who would likely never know where they came from. I can imagine that knowing that someone out there left a note so that he or she could find it, might make this stranger feel part of something larger – perhaps some unconditional, benevolent force. And that, in the end, that might be the greatest gift of all.
Letter from Jaime, USA
Words For Strangers, Hong Kong. Photo by Koey Li.
Words For Strangers, Lisbon. Photo by Ciclograma.