Hearts and Heritage

February brings with it not only chilly weather but also the quite frankly bonkers behaviour of Saint Valentine’s Day when sending sweets or anonymous romantic greetings to someone we think is hot is deemed to be an acceptable thing to do by some people!

But who is St Valentine and where did this custom come from? As it turns out there isn’t a straightforward answer as to what lies at Valentine’s heart. It seems that there may have been not only one but two St Valentines who both happened to have been early Christian martyrs and both lost their heads on the same date of 14th February (not in the same year might I add!). All sounds a bit grim when compared to the cute cupids and sugary sentiments of romantic love that we associate with Valentine’s Day today. But if you delve a bit deeper into the myths, legends and folk traditions, a heritage associated with such disparate things as bee keeping and epilepsy emerges – quite a surprise when you thought you were dealing with a fluffy teddy bear and heart shaped chocolates.

Heritage also lies at Osity’s heart. The printer’s workshop that inspires Osity’s designs belonged to my dad, an old school printer who at age 15 (back in 1959) began learning a craft that hadn’t changed for several hundred years. Letterpress printing was just how it was done back then. It has been such a privilege to have been taught these traditional skills that have been passed down through so many generations. What started out as the only means of conveying words on a page to a wide audience has been superseded by faster methods of printing, but this doesn’t mean that that the craft is dead or on its way out. These skills have been and are being passed on to new generations who are reinventing it for our modern times.

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