The Santa Fe Suite

Published on

Ray Hahn

The Santa Fe Suite

The Santa Fe Suite is a modern, four-card set of art postcards by the Charleston, West Virginia, writer, poet, and graphic designer, Colleen Anderson.

So many collectors tell me they like history. I do too, but I wonder how thoroughly others examine the objects they deem historical. Age matters. It’s a difference among us that is more than skin deep. No single collector mirrors another. And it is nearing a time when the opinions and attitudes we harbor toward modern cards deserves a re-examination.  

As you read about the Santa Fe Suite, keep an open mind and enjoy the images for the fresh creative spirit they embody and how the related quotes enjoin our ever rooted historical preconceptions.

Ms. Anderson comments on her work:

I came to West Virginia as a VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) volunteer in 1970, and was lucky enough to spend my 15 months of service working with Cabin Creek Quilts, a cooperative of 125 low-income quilters.

Although I never became an expert quilter, I was fascinated and inspired by the geometry and beauty of quilt-making as well as by the strength, creativity, and wit of the (mostly) women who created these functional works of art.

Instead of fabric, I turned to paper. Whenever and wherever I travel, I look for beautiful handmade papers. I enjoy putting them together in the same way that I imagine the Cabin Creek ladies enjoyed choosing patterns and colors for their creations.

I’m also an origami enthusiast.

Colleen comments on the cards:

I try to spend some time in Santa Fe every year. For me, it’s a place
of magic, mystery, and beauty on an awesome scale. I love walking
in Santa Fe, poking my head into galleries and shops, stopping for
coffee and sopapillas, filling my senses with the warmth of the
Southwestern sun on adobe surfaces.

Colleen claims her inspirations for the paper collages she creates comes from Appalachian quilters, Asian art, and the American southwest. It seems that when a piece is finished it is easily paired with a literary quote.

The cards are presented here in full size for your enjoyment and delight. Stay awhile. Read, read again, and again. Look at the images. Look harder. What do you see? Gather, digest, and remember. There is a world full of joy in these images. Recall the one you like best and address it to your soul.


Imagination takes humility, love, and great courage.
– Carson McCullers


The soul should always stand ajar; ready to
welcome the ecstatic experience.
– Emily Dickinson


The most beautiful thing we can experience
is the mysterious.
– Albert Einstein


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you imagined.
– Henry David Thoreau

These cards are the intersection of art and literature. No modern artist melds the two in a better way.

From your editor: After nearly forty years of collecting postcards, I am still unsure if the way I collect is the correct way. I imagine this prompts you to ask, “… is there a correct way?” I respect the older cards for the historical record they present, I’m slowly changing my mind about linens and post-world war chromes, but the jury is out on modern cards.

I sit behind this keyboard for nearly three full days per week and create or edit articles for postcardhistory.net and I am having a delightful time. If I had a chance to go to work editing a website named modernpostcard.net, I would give it a moment’s thought, then my reply would be an instant, immediate, and emphatic, “No, thank you!”

My collection expands at a weekly-rate. I add new cards every week, but like all of you this virus has curtailed nearly everything. Postcard collecting included. Since last March (2020) the cancellation of postcard fairs (in the UK and elsewhere) and shows here at home has caused me to alter my routine.

One of the ways I am changing is exploring the several boxes of modern cards under my desk to find cards worthy of adding to my collection. I took a close look at the Santa Fe Suite and joyfully added them to my album of moderns.

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I think of opening your delightful and informative piece as a mini-staycation and this is often sandwiched into my day’s tasks. It always gets me wondering whether I have some cards similar to cards you show us. National PostCard Week is very soon, so I’d better get cracking on mine !

Love your Santa Fe suite postcards! And your article. Mostly, I love the really old postcards. But, like you, I have discovered some magical “modern” postcards.

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