Stefanie MacDonald uses traditional Valentine’s Day cards to tell a non-traditional fairy tale.
“What about the boy who falls in love with Prince Charming? What about the little girl who has a crush on a mermaid?” she asks.
MacDonald is owner and designer of Halifax Paper Hearts, a card design company.
The art launch of “Bestill my Paper Hearts” – a collection of Valentine’s Day cards with an LGBTQ twist – provided an opportunity for everyone to be part of a fairy tale, regardless of sexual orientation.
The launch took place at The Nook on Gottingen street in Halifax’s North End, a coffee shop that also sells beer, baked goods, food and snacks. The exhibit will run throughout the month of February.
Each card had a simple design. Some included photos of “his and his” or “hers and hers” toothbrushes and towels.
Other designs included photos of two princesses living happily ever after.
MacDonald designed the cards, which were printed in Dartmouth.
Kate Stinson, a barista, cook and art curator at The Nook, says the inclusiveness of the cards reflects the atmosphere of the café.
“We get a lot of different people here from all areas of the city,” says Stinson. “People feel welcome here and very comfortable.”
Stinson says this is one of The Nook’s first events that showcases LGBTQ-focused work. She says greeting cards are usually traditional and MacDonald gives them a spin.
“The design was clean and simple and cute and accessible and relatable,” says Stinson.
Hillary Geneau and Alina Dixon had never been to The Nook, but were enticed by the exhibit after seeing an ad on Facebook.
“I like supporting local crafters and artisans,” says Dixon, whose favourite card is a photo of three cats above the words, “the cats said I can keep you.”
Geneau said her favourite card is a photo of two peas in a pod, with the words: “You’re the pea to my pod.”
MacDonald started Halifax Paper Hearts when her aunt got married in October 2014.
She was unable to find a card that reflected her aunt’s LGBTQ relationship and decided to make one.
The result was a photo of two old women with the words, “let’s grow old together.”
The card, as well as its male counterpart, can also be found in the collection.
MacDonald is “hopeless romantic,” she says. “Valentine’s Day is a great time to celebrate love.”