Saturday, June 8, 2013

Letter writing hobby

Lately I've been "into" mail art.

Several months ago I went to a letter writing social and mail art work shop. We invaded a bookshop with our writing supplies and art supplies and went to work. The goal was to hand write letters to people for the first hour. (We could also use the old fashioned manual, antique type writers). Nothing "electronic".

The second part of the workshop was to create designer envelopes. And this includes everything- rubber stamping, paper-folding, washi tape, stickers, coloring, painting-- you name it, it was fair game.

We also learned of the USPS mailing restrictions!

So I tried. What I found interesting was one of the workshop facilitators showed us examples of mail she had received and this stuff was super cool- it looked like no mail I've ever received. Then she showed us a few web sites of people who were looking for fellow lovers of letter writing or mail art. Ah-ha! I've waxed poetic for years about the art of letter writing being a dying art and now I've discovered fellow letter writers? A whole society of letter writers? A guild of letter writers? Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllll, OF COURSE I signed up!!!!

I also went home and did research and, people, mail art is a serious THING. It's an art movement. really. Not kidding! Google Images mail art. Also go read about it here (yes I know it's wiki but it's actually good info!)

And I've received some very amazing pieces of mail art as well as some amazing letters and postcards. With the site you can actually find people who want pen pals and will write back and forth. There are also people who want to exchange just a postcard. Others want to send "trash bombs" which is an envelope of art supplies. Some like notes. Some just want to do a "one off" I'll send you something one time and you send me something once and that's it. I've received paper crafting supplies, recipes, Artist Trading Cards (ATCs), postcards, stationery, tea, and chocolate. I've started corresponding with several people. I write to every single person to writes to me. Sometimes it takes a week or 2 but I respond to everyone no matter what.

I'm also very big into postcards. I pick them up everywhere I go and write to people and mail them off. I read people's profiles and try to send either a postcard that relates to something in their profile or send to people with whom I have something in common. I've found with postcards I"m VERY random in what I say- maybe people think I'm crazy?

Some folks are like me: their letters are the strong point of this experience. Others are killer artists. Some are both- amazing letter writers AND artists! My letter writing is my strong point- I usually generate 3-5 page letters to folks! I do have a tendency to just use homemade envelopes, a few rubber stamps some stickers and some washi tape and call it art. BUT I have sent some "mail art" envelopes.

Remember, I'm not Picasso or VanGogh. I struggle with stick figures. It's the thought that counts, right? The effort?

Those are just some samples. I've sent other stuff, LOTS of other stuff. I've send some mail to readers here (do you recognize your letter up there?), too, because I sent letters to friends and family not just strangers! (I have more examples but it's shows people's addresses and I don't feel like messing with paint to block 'em out right now!)

I've also fallen in love with the Post Office. I adore stamps. I actually dashed to the PO on my lunch hour this week to buy a page of Johnny Cash stamps before they were all sold out so I can do county and music themes letter art! The people who work at the post office either love me or are not my biggest fans. I don't like them to "print" postage on white labels; I want them to give me actual STAMPS to equal what I need. I also like to look through the stamps to pick out different ones I like, taking a few here and there, rather than just 1 sheet of 1 kind. I ask questions about mailing processes and weigh limits. One woman likes to see what I've created and gives me ideas of how to protect my art. Another woman, when she sees me come in, waves me to the front of the line and hands me the stamp book because she knows I'll stand there for 10 minutes pouring over the postage, adding up how much I need of each stamps and finding just the right one. (I like to try and use the postage stamps as part of the art when I can!)

If anyone still reads here and wants a letter (and a feeble attempt at mail art) go ahead and give me your address in my comments. I will NOT publish your address though I already have addresses for many of you!

Write more letters! Use less email! Because a mailbox full of letters and mail art is much better than a box of bills!

Happy Snail Mailing!



Lilith said...

I love getting your mail art letters! They always brighten up my day!

Curley said...

Me too! Makes me happy to get something from you in the mail.

gulo said...

I see my letter!! And Moose in the mail are pretty great :) i promise I will mail something...soon? tough it will likely NOT be art...or well written...but mail none the less!!