november featured artist

William Mitchell

"Christmas 1980"  My first holiday card was a silkscreen depicting a road I had traveled the previous winter while working as a waiter in Rye, NH.

"Winter Forest 2002"  The 5-color silkscreen was selected in 2003 to be the Official Christmas Card for the University of New Hampshire.

2019 James Mullen and Bill Mitchell at the State University of New York College at Oneonta celebrating the opening of "The Artist's Card: Selections from the James Mullen Collection."

Celebrating 40 years of

Creating Handmade Holiday Cards

by William Mitchell

Sometime in December of 1979 I received in the mail a small envelope from my former printmaking professor from the State University of New York at Oneonta, James Mullen. Upon opening it, I found a beautiful limited edition handmade print as a holiday card. Mullen’s applied talent in sharing his art and holiday wishes so impressed me that I started to make plans to do the same the following year.

Sending holiday cards with seasonal greetings has a long history.  Mary Savig in her book Handmade Holiday Cards from the 20th Century (Smithsonian books, September 2013) writes, “With the holidays come greetings in the form of the holiday card…for some it’s a family snapshot…for others a pretty card with a quick signature and a brief hopeful wish for peace, love and happiness…for the more creatively inclined it is a craft project shared with the people they hold most dear.”

Through the years, I followed this holiday tradition by creating my own special piece of art for those dear to me. Most of these cards I have created have been silkscreened, as the printmaking process is the one I enjoy the most. Winter landscapes, traveling scenes and typical holiday imagery illustrate most of these prints. Today I see this large body of work as a type of timeline for fami
ly events and remembered moments in my life.

James Mullen, who inspired this tradition, continues to send me his handprinted cards and we remain close. Mullen’s own holiday card journey began in 1955 as a class project for his college professor Andrew Case. In asking Mullen what his card making means to him, he writes, "Each year I look forward to the creation of my artist's seasonal greeting card, my annual opportunity to create my most personal and unique greeting and to connect with artist's cards from other artists through their own very personal greeting." In 2004 Mullen donated a large number of his holiday card collection from artist friends and former students to the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Yuletide Wishes Collection. In 2019 I was happy to have cards included in a show of his large collection of handmade holiday cards at the Mullen-Martin Gallery of Art at The State University of New York at Oneonta.

Once again, shortly after Thanksgiving of this year, I will start planning my next handmade print. I can think of no better way of wishing dear friends and family peace on earth and all the best for the future year!

Visit https://www.mitchellserigraphprints.com/seasonal-greetings.html to view more of Mitchell’s Handmade Holiday cards.

Artwork copyright William Mitchell

Born in Holyoke, MA, and raised in Catskill, NY, printmaker William Mitchell moved to New Hampshire in 1983 and began creating silkscreens of the New Hampshire landscape. When Mitchell depicts New Hampshire mountains, the resulting image is both familiar and brand new. Mitchells brightly colored prints portray places of special beauty and meaning to him. The scenic beauty of New Hampshire amazes me. How the rolling of a blue sky touches our rolling mountains to create a vibrant world. I hope that people take an appreciation and an interest in the preservation of our natural world from my art.” Mitchell, a former high school art teacher, lives in Dover, NH with his wife Mary.

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