Discover the new personalised Irish stationery that we’re buying everyone for Christmas …
Mundy Walsh is one of those creative, capable people who managed to come up with something new during the depths of lockdown. She has worked as a writer, editor and artistic director and lived in Italy for over twelve years, in Tuscany, Umbria and Rome. Now based between Kilkenny and Val D’Orcia in Tuscany – talk about living the dream – she recently started a small, carefully considered new concept called Achara (“dear friend”), a collection of modern stationery.
Walsh is designing and making everything by hand. “I am a letter-writer, and during Covid I really wanted to find colourful, vibrant writing paper and couldn’t find it anywhere. So I started making it myself and things took off from there.” This is a refreshing take on stationery: colour combinations are joyful and attention-grabbing. Choose from notes (in packs of nine), note cards (packs of five) or sheets of writing paper. You can have them personalised – with initials, a name or even a quote – and they come with complementary two-tone envelopes (or mix and match).
“I’m starting small and will build it up over time (fingers crossed),” says Walsh. “I’m hoping that people will see the attraction of having a tangible, beautiful object to send, receive and keep; to mark occasions big and small. I suppose I see writing paper like vinyls in a world of Spotify.” It’s a modern twist on the old-school art of taking time to be in touch.
When I was at school, there was a shop in town dedicated to stationery – a kind of glorious technicolour Benetton for paper and envelopes in every conceivable shade, that you could buy singly or in a stack. At a time before emails and texts, writing letters was an art form, and sometimes it’s a forgotten pleasure to sit down, really think of someone and put down considered words. Also, I think thank-you letters or cards are a really beautiful and classy thing, and show your appreciation so much better than a hasty text.
Pictured are Achara’s summer notes and cards, but keep an eye on the website for the autumn collection, too. I’m drawn to the clashing magenta and emerald set, and the raspberry and chocolate, but there’s also bright and cheerful lemon yellow and sherbert pink – imagine receiving that through your letterbox in the morning, rather than the usual bills.
Everything is carefully (and sustainably) sourced. Prices are around €30 for sets of five notecards, or nine notes. Walsh is donating 5 per cent of profits to the Irish Bee Conservation Project, and a tree is planted with Crann for every 50 sets sold. Everything is made to order, so get organised if you’re choosing Christmas gifts. And it does make the most perfect gift – thoughtful, considered, unique and personal. I feel like a pen from The Pen Place in Dun Laoghaire would be the perfect accompaniment, or a bottle of colourful ink (this shop has every shade, from violet and magenta to Earl Grey).
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