Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tokens of Friendship

Surprise yourself or surprise a friend.  
Maybe ask Santa to give you a year's worth of surprises with our new program 

A Token of Friendship:
A memorial of friendship; something by which the friendship of another person is to be kept in mind; a memento; a souvenir.

In the past many stitched gifts were exchanged as tokens of friendship.  We find needle-books, pin-balls, wallets, pin-keeps, lovely scissor holders and more that were given to commemorate a friendship in some way through history.
Victoria and Albert Museum

In the 19th century we find much symbolism in the tokens of friendship that were exchanged.  The heart and hand were very important to many forms of gifts that were exchanged.  The heart in the hand symbolized the “heart's guidance of the hand's action.”  

Clasped hands denote “Hands in trust forever.”  

A box is a feminine symbol, a receptacle.  A  butterfly symbolizes the flight of the soul.  Color can also play an important part in the symbolism used as a token of friendship, the red rose shows bashfulness or shame; a white rose stand for sadness and in many societies is the color of mourning, while a yellow rose means let us not forget. 

Besides motifs and colors, locks of hair were exchanged and incorporated into many of these tokens.  Hair does not disintegrate and symbolized abiding love as well as deeply felt loss. Thus, the formation of memorial art and jewelry.
Victoria and Albert Museum

Here is a lovely site showing many beautiful examples of "tokens".

Another type of exchange of tokens took place during the Lewis and Clark expedition and should be understood as results of exchanges made in diplomatic and social contexts rather than as products of collecting in an anthropological sense. When Lewis returned to the east in the last days of 1806, his party included Sheheke (Big White), a chief of the Mandan nation. As their route to Washington would take him through central Virginia, Jefferson wrote Lewis before their arrival in the capital, "Perhaps while in our neighborhood, it may be gratifying to him [Sheheke], & not otherwise to yourself to take a ride to Monticello and see in what manner I have arranged the tokens of friendship I have received from his country particularly as well as from other Indian friends: that I am in fact preparing a kind of Indian hall."

Southeast hall at Monticello

Today as a community of needleworkers, we engage in the exchange of tokens of friendship in many of the ways they were given in the past.  To promote friendship and love with those we encounter through our love of this art.  How many of you in your various guilds have held exchanges of pin cushions or needle books, book marks and such.  Or you meet someone as you explore this art form and just send off a token to be shared after sharing a special time in enjoying this art form at a symposium or seminar?  Today, Becky is hard at work on an envelope that will be sent to another member of the Swan Sampler Guild as we share in a mail art exchange, another kind of token of friendship. 

A past mail art letter from Julie

The first year of our Tokens of Friendship program has been so enjoyable and we have received so many favorable comments that we have decided to offer this once again.  We hope you will enjoy the program we have for you this year as we begin our second year of subscriptions to the “Tokens of Friendship”.

Our year long program will bring a lovely packaged token to your door or the door of a friend that you might want to gift a subscription too.  The token will only be available to those who are subscribed to the “Tokens of Friendship” program. These unique special tokens will not be available for sale on our web site or anywhere else. The designs will be created just for those lucky enough to be in the limited edition subscription program. 

With this age of email and Skype video calls, the only mail one seems to receive is in the form of a bill or advertisement. Possibly another request for you to open just one more credit card!  How nice would it be to four times a year find a lovely wrapped surprise token just for you in the mail?  Julie and I love surprises and we also love creating unique items for the company that we all love to have in our needlework smalls collections. So we have decided to combine the two and create this program just for you, so surprise yourself or surprise a friend. Put us on your wish list for someone to surprise you with.  We can keep the surprise on the sly or send a special gift announcement to the recipient. You decide. 

Tokens will be mailed out in the months of February, May, August and November. $88.00 a year for those in the United States, covers the cost of everything, the special token gift-packaged and delivered four times a year.  For those of you outside North America, the cost will be $135.00 and for our friends in Canada the cost will be $120.00

Sign ups will be taken until the 15th of January for the upcoming year. This is a limited edition program and so don’t hesitate, sign up now so you won’t be disappointed when you see the “Tokens of Friendship” that  arrive to your stitching friends doorsteps.

Please indicate if this is for yourself or a friend, please give us your information and the mailing information for the recipient of the gift subscription.  Please let us know if you wish to keep this gift a secret or would like us to send a gift announcement on your behalf.  If you would like to include a special message on the gift announcement, please include that in the comments section.  We also offer a printed gift certificate if you order early enough and would like to offer this to a special someone for the Holidays. 

We thank you for coming along on the Tokens of Friendship program and look forward to surprising you in the months to come.

"No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves." Amelia Earhart

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