Mail Art / Postal Art / Correspondence Art: Whatever you call it, and no matter the materials you use (be it stickers, stamps, drawings, paintings, cut and paste, or collage), it's artistic expression delivered by mail. Mail art has a wide and loyal following, you can join in and participate in group mailings and events.
This envelope was part of a class project where an envelope was mailed from one person to another, each adding their own art . . . nothing inside, just art on the outside.
If you're interested in mail art, a good place to start is Good Mail Day by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler of Letter Writers Alliance (LWA). At LWA, you'll find more information about mail art and letter writing than you can imagine—along with the curious and delightful Pigeon Post.
Mail Art is Envel-Art - Marc Swan writes contemporary poetry and mails his submissions to poetry magazines in handcrafted envelopes that he calls "envel-art." Editors, he says, respond with general appreciation and surprise. He was kind enough to share with us a few of his creations. If you're interested in Marc's poetry or envel-art, you can reach him by email.
This short list covers love, longing, friendship, and mystery . . .
If you have others to recommend, let us know!
A Letter to Three Wives
with Anne Sothern, Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell
84, Charing Cross Road (see our post 4/2/15 about the book)
with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins
with Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah
with Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish
Letters to Juliet
with Amanda Seyfried, Gael García Bernal, Vanessa Redgrave, Marcia DeBonis
Mary and Max
animation with voices by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Collette, Eric Bana, Bethany Whitmore
Ask someone you know to tell you something about themselves. A bit of personal history . . . what was your first job . . . how did you get started doing what you do . . . what's your favorite movie, book?
Or tell someone a story. Better yet, exchange and share stories. Kids love stories . . . and adults do, too.
Calendar of Days - 4/27 - Tell a Story Day
ABCs of Letter Writing / K = Kiss
Put S.W.A.K. at the end of a letter or on the outside of an envelope, and your intended's heart may skip a beat. Another way to express your feelings is with x's and o's (for kisses and hugs), as many as you want!
Calendar of Days / Today is Earth Day. If you get a chance, get out among the trees . . . look at the sky . . .
The Pony Express started in 1860 and ended just 18 months later when the telegraph was introduced. Employed with a dangerous and grueling job, Pony Express riders carried mail, newspapers, messages, and small packages across a 1,900-mile trail. Racing from Missouri to California, riders changed mounts every 10-15 miles, covering an average of 70-100 miles a day.
In contrast to our telephones, tweets, and overnight delivery, Pony Express riders cut east-west delivery times in half—from an average of 20 days to just 10 days, a remarkable feat on horseback.
The Pony Express National Historic Trail, highlights landmarks along the trail from California, to Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.
ABCs of Letter Writing / P = Pony Express
Elvis Presley's 1962 hit "Return to Sender" from the movie Girls! Girls! Girls! holds true today. If you get unwanted mail, simply write "Return to Sender" on the unopened envelope or parcel and the Post Office will take it away, no additional postage necessary.
I've had mail returned with the "Return to Sender" stamp when I've used an out-of-date or mislabeled an address. Takes a while, but it does come back.
ABCs of Letter Writing / R = Return to Sender
Today is National High-5 Day - Give a high-5!
When Patrick Henry, Revolutionary War activist and politician, made a call to arms against Britain, he grabbed a letter opener, thrust it toward his chest and delivered his well-known line, "Give me liberty, or give me death." Very effective.
My collection of letter openers comes from antique shops and yard sales, and often feature personal engravings or business logos. A surprising selection (though far less ornate) are available at office supply stores, while stationery stores and boutiques offer a selections with more character, like this one we found at Izola.
The ABCs of Letter Writing / L= Letter Opener
ABCs of Letter Writing / D = Dear
Dear . . . it's the most common of all salutations, in handwritten and printed letters. In emails, things are different. "Hi," and "Hello," are common, though some experts argue "Dear" is still the best way to begin an online correspondence with someone you don't know. What do you think?
Today is licorice day . . . what's your preference, red or black?
Tucked in Drawers and Boxes
Like so many people, I save a lot of the letters and cards I get.
What is it about the cards and letters we receive that makes us want to save them?
I suppose it's because they make us feel a bit closer to one another. My grandfather passed away when I was in my late twenties, and I have one special letter from him. After sending him a copy of my very first poster design, he wrote a letter of encouragement, and it's one of my prized possessions. His handwriting, what he wrote, the stationery he used . . . it all brings him back to me in a tangible way. He was a wonderful role model, a man who carried himself with dignity and honor. And his letter, safely tucked away, is a reminder of that.
Letters of Note
Whether or not you have your own stash of letters, there is a wonderful website where you can read letters people have written about love, their struggles, their interests, troubles and triumphs. Letters of Note includes letters written by celebrities (Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones writing to his aunt about meeting Mick Jagger for the first time) as well as famous and not-so-famous people. It's worth a look.
Do you save the letters you receive? Tell us about it.
The National Postal Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. offers exhibits, collections, and events. Open daily (except for December 25th), the museum is free and open to the public.
Visit online, or in person:
National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
Tel: (202) 633-5555
Z = Zip Code • As we design and develop our stamps, the topic and design for some is coming more easily. So rather than follow the alphabet from A-Z, we'll jump around as inspiration strikes. The Z-stamp is all about the zip code. We decided on 20002 because it's the zip code for the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C.
In 1963, in an effort to streamline delivery across the United States, the zip code was introduced. A massive campaign was launched to encourage people to add the five-digit code to mailing addresses. Mr. Zip was introduced to build awareness, appearing in advertisements, on products, and in comics.
Easy, fast, and efficient, zip codes are now standard procedure, enabling the postal service to route mail directly to processing centers for faster delivery.
THE ABCs of LETTER WRITING / Z = Zip Code