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By MARTHA SMITH
Special to the Standard
NORTH KINGSTOWN â€“ Elizabeth Donovan, community outreach director for the North Kingstown Free Library, has a special tradition: each year she gets out the collection of homemade Christmas cards sheâ€™s made and received over the course of decades and enjoys them all over again.
â€śI love taking them out,â€ť she says. â€śItâ€™s a lot of fun.â€ť
This year she is sharing a sampling of these seasonal greetings â€“ artifacts from a time when people took time to create personal cards for special friends and relatives.
The display, called â€śThe Art of the Christmas Card,â€ť arranged in glass cases on the main floor and in the stairway leading down to the reference area, contains items made by Donovan, her nephew who is a graduate student at the University of Southern California-Berkley, former library director Susan Aylward and several professional artists.
Among them is Linda Greenall, an artist from Carolina, R.I.
â€śShe and I met once,â€ť Donovan explains, â€śbut weâ€™ve exchanged handmade cards every year.â€ť Greenallâ€™s are pen-and-ink drawings created under the name â€śNoahâ€™s Art.â€ť
The unique piece made by Donovanâ€™s nephew Jake Brunkard is a geodesic ball made of sections of vintage Christmas cards. Aylwardâ€™s contributions are multi-faceted fold-out cards in which each section tells a story. The beautiful greetings by Peggy Henderson, a member of the Wickford Art Association, are reproduced from oil paintings.
Among the pieces that have special meaning for Donovan is a colored-pencil card made more than 20 years ago by her stepfather, the artist Ralph Puziello.
Pieces that Donovan created, she notes, â€śreflect where I was living at the time.â€ť Those include a street scene featuring St. Paulâ€™s Episcopal Church and a gingerbread detail from the front entrance of a Victorian home on Pleasant Street.
Besides the selection of othersâ€™ holiday notes â€“ noted artist Will McCarthy has several studies of Father Christmas â€“ there are 31 examples of cards Donovan made over a 40-year span.
The stairwell display includes books on making cards using a number of methods including rubber stamping and nearby is a book inviting visitorsâ€™ comments. So far, they include â€śBeautifulâ€ť, â€śInspiringâ€ť and â€śRemembering the good old days.â€ť
â€śWhen I was putting it up,â€ť Donovan says of the exhibit, â€śquite a few people talked to me.â€ť
â€śThe Art of the Christmas Cardâ€ť will be on display through December.
Martha Smith is an award-winning journalist and author. Retired, she is an independent contractor for SRIN and can be reached at email@example.com.