The LOUIE Awards, Part II –
Awards, Celebrations, and Winners

After admiring the event design, mingling, and enjoying a cocktail or two, everyone sat down to a lovely dinner and a festive Awards Ceremony.

The night began in great spirits with comedian David Crowe, who made me laugh enough to completely forget to take any pictures. (Sorry, David!)

After David’s routine, 25th Anniversary LOUIE Awards Chair, Monika Brandrup-Thomas, of Up With Paper, LLC, took the stage, and the Awards ceremony was underway!

Monika Brandrup-Thomas of Up With Paper, LLC and 25th Anniversary LOUIE Awards Chair

Monika Brandrup-Thomas of Up With Paper, LLC and 25th Anniversary LOUIE Awards Chair

The Awards presenters were comprised of stationery rock stars from all areas of the industry, and included executives from corporations such as Hallmark and American Greetings; Editors of go-to industry publications; and GCA executives and board members; as well as many other game-changers in the world of greeting cards and stationery.

Here are just a few of the folks who handed out awards to delighted winners…

Susan January - GCA President and Steve Doyal - GCA Vice President

Susan January, of Leanin’ Tree and GCA President, and Steve Doyal, of Hallmark Cards, Inc., and GCA Vice President, presenting at the LOUIE Awards

Sarah Schwartz and George White presenting

Sarah Schwartz, “Stationery Trends” Editor, and George White of Up With Paper, LLC and GCA Postal Affairs Committee Chair, presenting

One–well, two, really–of the highlights of the ceremony were the Lifetime Achievement Awards. In honor of this year’s LOUIEs theme, “The Artist & The Card,” two iconic greeting and stationery artists were honored for their phenomenal contributions to the industry.

The first artist to receive the award was Marjolein Bastin. Guests unfamiliar with her life and history were treated to a brief filmed retrospective and interview with Ms. Bastin, who credits her parents with instilling in her the love of nature that is the fundamental theme of her work.

Marjolein Bastin accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award

Marjolein Bastin accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award

If you’re thinking “She looks like a lovely lady,” well, then, you’re right. Ms. Bastin was absolutely delightful. She delivered a happy, beautiful acceptance speech–in a non-native tongue–to a rapt audience. Bastin spoke of the joy she finds in her work, and what a privilege it has been to be able to spread that joy. She thanked the Dutch publication, Libelle, for whom she’s been illustrating for over thirty years. She also thanked Hallmark for their support of her work over the past two decades. She likened herself to a small beetle with a little gift to give, and said when Hallmark contacted her, it was as if the little beetle had been given wings to fly and share its “little gift” with the whole world.

The second Lifetime Achievement Award recipient was Mary Engelbreit. Her acceptance speech was fun and interesting, with an edge of wry humor (much like her work). Ms. Engelbreit spoke of her first two jobs: one, working in an art supply store, where she learned from other artists and explored how to use the materials; the other, as one member of a two-person ad agency, where she learned the business side of the industry. She said those two jobs gave her the tools she needed to create the career she now has. Engelbreit also thanked her husband, Phil Delano, for–even during the lean times–never suggesting that she stop what she was doing to get a “real” job. (As you can imagine, this tribute, made in a room of people who have probably all run up against the “real job” challenge, was met with a rousing round of applause.)

Mary Engelbreit accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award

Mary Engelbreit accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award

(Later that evening, I was delighted to have the chance to introduce myself to Ms. Engelbreit and let her know that ever since I received one of her calendars for Christmas when I was twelve years old, she’s been one of the influences that put me on the path to my own career.)

As the ceremony wound down to its conclusion, only two awards remained to be announced: the Cards of the Year Awards (one in the “Above $3.50” category, and one in the “$3.50 & Below” category).

Patti Stracher, GCA Executive Vice President and NSS Director, and Brandrup-Thomas had the honor of bestowing the Card of the Year – $3.50 and Below Award to Leslie Kolk of oh my word for her clever and hilarious “holy sheet” card (which I somehow managed NOT to get a picture of, dagnabbit…I’ll try to remedy the lack of image, soon).

Leslie Kolk of oh my word wins Card of the Year Award - $3.50 and Below

Patti Stracher of the GCA, Monika Brandrup-Thomas of Up With Paper, LLC, present Leslie Kolk of oh my word with the Card of the Year Award – $3.50 and Below

The winner of the Card of the Year – Above $3.50 was–for the second year in a row–Maginating. Brad Woods accepted his award for his sweet “Good as Gold” card, and gave a brief, but charming speech about what a wonderful industry it is to work in, and the powerful, positive force greeting cards have.

Brad Woods of Maginating wins Card of the Year Award - Above $3.50

Monika Brandrup-Thomas and Patti Stracher congratulate Brad Woods of Maginating on his Card of the Year Award – Above $3.50

After the final awards were handed out, people gathered to celebrate, dance, and be photographed with their awards.

Up With Paper Team with LOUIE Award

The Up With Paper team, with their LOUIE for Everyday Boxed Notes – Above $2.50, from L-R: Jamie Reed, Amanda Smith, Yevgeniya Yeretskaya, Annita Wilson, George White, Heather Russell, Katie Scheid, and Monika Brandrup-Thomas (Missing from photo: Aaron Borchetta)

Brad Woods of Maginating with LOUIEs

Brad Woods of Maginating, with two of his three LOUIEs, including his Card of the Year LOUIE for his “Good as Gold” card–which can be seen on the right

And, after all of the centerpieces were folded up, and the tables cleared, it was time to head out on the town, and then maybe–just maybe–get a little sleep for another day packed with gorgeous greetings and stunning stationery at the NSS, which I’ll start coverage of in my next post (which will go up after the long holiday weekend).

For a list of all of the amazing LOUIE Award winners, visit this Stationery Trends article.