By Krisztina Kun
With letter writing fast becoming an outdated craft, lonely letter writing aficionados in Vancouver have gotten together and created a support group. The Regional Assembly of Text, a relatively new artist-run storefront and gallery, hosts a monthly letter-writing club in Vancouver’s east end. On the first Thursday of each month, locals can make free use of ancient typewriters, stickers and stamps, an assortment of paper, envelopes, pens and markers, get warmed up with tea and cookies, and finally pen that letter to grandpa Joe. I did, a few months ago. And I learned the secret to writing lots of letters in one sitting; the prettier you make the package, the less you have to say. You don’t even need to have anyone to write to, as organizers Rebecca Dolen and Brandy Fedoruk collect addresses of out-oftowners who’d like to participate in the club, but can’t actually make it to the “meetings”. So if you feel like writing to a stranger, that option is available. And most importantly, they have stamps available for purchase, because there’s nothing worse than finding a pile of stale letters on your desk a few months later.
Dolen and Fedoruk, owners and operators of The Regional Assembly, met at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design where they were both studying printmaking and sculpture. After collaborating and curating a series of book shows out of their house, they started making plans to open a space that could act as a studio, storefront and gallery. After a year of gathering supplies, the two artists opened The Regional Assembly of Text, a small store on Main Street dedicated to all things text, in the late summer of 2005. The tiny space is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood, full of beautiful screenprinted art, cute one inch buttons, handmade cards, wrapping paper and all sorts of charming artsy DIY knick knacks. They even boast a tiny “lowercase gallery” space underneath a staircase that has tiny art shows.
Along with the popular letter-writing club, The Regional Assembly of Text also organizes a “little book of the month club” wherein members receive one little book or zine in the mail every month for a year. Past titles include: “make the most of TOAST,” “172 things to do in order to increase your level of accomplishment” and the beloved “them crows, those rats and that cat”. Dolen and Fedoruk are the sole authors of the little books and Fedoruk admits, “making these little books is one of our favourite things to do.”
If you’re in the area and you’re into arts and crafts and typography, you should definitely check out the Regional Assembly, it’s one of East Van’s best-kept secrets.