A Dexter woman is looking for help with spreading some positive vibes
For the past 10 years every March, Andrea Ciske has carried on a project aiming to bring some positivity through the written and mailed word.
Called “Positivity. Done with Paper & Pen,” Ciske said she started this project with the beliefs that “everyone likes getting snail mail,” and that there's a positive vibration for the sender and recipient both, “when someone takes the time to send a card.”
“So the project is to get people writing notes of encouragement, sympathy or thanks,” she said. “This year my project turns 10!”
Ciske, a Dexter Township resident, has a small greeting card business called aciskedesign. The seed for her business and this project took root in her childhood.
She said fell in love with graphic design in the paper goods aisle at the grocery store when she was 12.
“I loved seeing the designs and color combinations on the Kleenex boxes. I would wonder, 'Who gets to do this?' My life path took me in another direction, however, and I was an elementary school teacher for 14 years,” she said. “A move out of state ended up being the impetus for me leaving teaching.”
She got an Associate's degree in graphic design while living in Kalamazoo and the idea of greeting cards stayed in the back of her mind. And then another move brought her and her husband to Dexter in 2004. She said she finally decided that if she didn't try having her own stationery business she would regret it so she took the plunge and started in 2008.
“My work reflects my love for simplicity, color and positive-negative spaces,” she said. “I love a good quote and typography, so you'll find that in my work as well.”
Bringing positivity to the community has played an important for aciskedesign, she said they have made annual donations to Alpha House from the beginning, and have recently added Faith In Action and the Dexter District Library's summer reading program to the list of giving.
The idea for the project comes from her own experience.
“Every summer my family would pack up the car and spend several weeks at a camp in northern Indiana,” she said. “My father was in education and this was his summer work. Throughout the years I made many friends that when we returned home at the end of the summer we would write each other throughout the school year. It was exciting to get something in the mail that was just for me and catching up with friends was fun. I've also loved stationery for as long as I can remember so the two things just went hand in hand. There are other stories that I could relay but suffice it to say, I think everyone loves getting a card or note in the mail so I started this project to promote connection.”
“And it's that happiness, that positivity, that I want to utilize. Collectively,” she said. “So once a year, on one designated day, I encourage people to send snail mail to anyone and everyone they can! Messages of thanks, appreciation, love, sympathy or encouragement. Any note of positivity, big or small, will do. Just think of all that collective positive energy being sent out into the world on that day!”
The day this year is March 21.
“People often think writing a note or letter is going to take a lot of time or be difficult, and it really doesn't have to be,” she said. “You don't need a fancy pen or fancy stationery. Most people already have the supplies they need on hand. I think the best thing to tell someone that wants to write a note is to simply be themselves and write from the heart. Genuinely thinking about the reason you're writing and the person you're writing to is key. Whatever you write will be just the thing!”
It’s her hope that people in the community will join her on March 21, to help spread some collective positivity.
To learn more about the project or to connect with Ciske, go to www.aciskedesign.etsy.com or www.instagram.com/aciskedesign/