A New Spin on “Handwritten Letters”

Illustrator and letterer Mary Kate McDevitt wants to send you a handwritten letter.  And by that, she means a handwritten letter, as in “A” or “Q.”  Each day for a year, she will hand illustrate a letter and mail it to folks who request one, in the order the requests are received.  I have a feeling this will fill up quickly, so if you’re interested, put in your request now!

You can read more about Mary Kate on her lovely illustration and lettering blog.

Mail Art by Riitta Ikonen

Check out this seriously awesome mail art sent over the last several years by Finnish artist Riitta Ikonen to Margaret Huber, an art professor at the University of Brighton.  Fishing line and hooks, metal pipes, pieces of bark…not only are these enjoyable as pieces of art; it’s fun to think of the dedicated postal workers who got them where they were going!

The copper pipe with the address etched on it seems particularly difficult to decipher! And check out this hair mail:


Photo copyright Riitta Ikonen

Hat tip to It’s Nice That blog for pointing me to these beauties.

A letter no one should have to write

Fan that I am of letter writing, there’s one I wish no one would ever have to write: a suicide note.

September 10th is National Suicide Prevention Day.

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. One suicide occurrs every 15.2 minutes.

Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among 15- to 24-years-olds.

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are 3.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.  As The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention program for LGBT teens, says, “It gets better.”

I found out about National Suicide Prevention Day through PostSecret. PostSecret is a mail art project begun by Frank Warren who, over several years now, has received hundreds of thousands of postcards from strangers sharing their secrets.  Warren has published books of the postcards and now travels around speaking to audiences about the importance of sharing secrets. He’s also raising awareness about suicide prevention. Frank is convinced that sharing secrets is good for you.  And I think he’s right.

You can share a secret, too.  Make and send your postcard to:

13345 Copper Ridge Road
Germantown, MD  20874

For those of you who want to share a secret, but not buy a stamp (I can’t imagine there are many of those types reading this blog, but just in case!): PostSecret also now has a smart phone app. It’s the most popular app in Apple’s store right now. Guess we all have secrets.

So, share your secrets, get them off your chest, and ask for help if you need it.  Saving snail mail is not just about keeping the post office alive.  It’s about us connecting with one another, and maybe keeping us alive, too.

Economy got you down? Mail art to the rescue!

If the economy has you down and you feel like expressing yourself through art, as a lover of snail mail, you may want to participate in this Canadian mail art project.

Entry rules and information are here.

It’s not a juried exhibition, all submissions will be displayed.  For those of you who can’t get to British Columbia, the exhibition will be online for a year.

At the end, you’ll get a swap–they’ll send you someone else’s piece!  Express yourself, send something via snail mail, and get a fun surprise at some point in the future.  It’s a win-win!


Snail mail your email…

Want to send a letter through the mail?  Haven’t got the time, envelope, or stamp?  Never fear.  An artist named Ivan Cash has offered to snail mail your email for free! Send him an email with 100 words or less and he’ll handwrite it and mail it out for you.

Oh, wait, his website: http://snailmailmyemail.org suggests that too many people want to take the easy way out.  Over a thousand folks sent a request on July 19th alone! I think he may have underestimated how much people value a personalized snail mail and free stuff!

You can see the photostream of his Snail Mail My Email project here.

While Ivan is re-evaluating the way forward for his mail art project, you can just send some notes the old-fashioned way. It takes a bit more time, but I have a feeling it will mean more to the recipients if they get them in your handwriting!


Silliness from the Sky

This afternoon I was out on my deck reading a great article in Esopus on Ray Johnson, the father of mail art, when from the sky fell a cute little albino caterpillar. 

I snapped a few pics and mentioned to Kris that this caterpillar was a bit “over the top,” like a drag queen of the caterpillar world.  Kris said, “it looks like Phyllis Diller”…and Phyllis Diller Caterpillar was born.
See for yourself.

(Phyllis pic from castproductions.com)

Having just enjoyed this video (warning, adult language not appropriate for work or children) from Jenny Lawson at The Bloggess about the importance of being silly and sharing the fun, I thought the picture was worth sharing with you.  Hope you’re all having great weekends.  Now go outside and play!

P.S. Hat tip to Melissa at Viva Snail Mail for pointing me to the Esopus article on Ray Johnson.  The magazine is amazing and the pull-out recreations of some of Johnson’s mail art are worth the price alone.

Lazy Sunday

I got back yesterday from a four-day trip to New Orleans. I’ll soon finish a fun post about my trip and the stationery shop I went to while down there, but not today.

I’ve spent today listening to the roar of the 13-year cicadas, lounging on the couch and deck, and reading an awesome book about mail art called Good Mail Day by mail artists and bloggers Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Giligan Wheeler.  It’s a lazy day for me, so reading about other people’s creativity is all I’m capable of at this point.  But I’m “filling the well” for the next time I return to my craft table!

Sometimes it’s easy for me to feel bad about not doing something “productive” every moment of every day.  But I’m coming to realize that enjoying (or cursing…do you hear me cicadas?!) the sounds of nature, reading and viewing inspiring works of art, calling family members on the phone, and laying on the couch and letting my mind wander is actually filling me up with ideas that I can use in future artistic endeavors. 

No artist or creative person operates in a vacuum.  We need inspiration.  While I was in New Orleans, I adopted a slower pace, taking time to sponge up the inspirational sights and sounds and tastes around me. I’m continuing that process here in the more mundane surroundings of my own home.  I’m finding normally unremarkable items teeming with possibility. 

So if you’re feeling lazy, I encourage you to give into it; languish over the smell of your favorite perfume, stare at a texture until it comes alive, let your mind wander, and smile at the sun.  I hope it’s as good for you as it’s been for me.

More soon.


Camera mail

I just heard about “camera mail” where folks have been sending disposable cameras attached to post cards through the mail and asking the people who move the mail from sender to recipient to snap photos of the process.

You can check out one man’s photographic results of his camera mail experiment.  They show the inner workings of the postal service.  They don’t look all that different from the stamps in my last post. Check out those piles of mail!

For those of you so inclined, here are some tips on sending camera mail.

For folks looking for other fun things to do with a disposable camera, here are 20 ideas (which is where I found out about camera mail in the first place).  Enjoy!

Post cards from Carolyn Sewell

I was over at Doodler’s Anonymous (I do love everything pen and ink…) and ran across this posting of Carolyn Sewell’s work on post cards.

Her illustrations are awesome, and I fell in love with her many “mom and dad” addressed envelopes.  They are part of a year-long project she did for her parents’ anniversary.  She sent them a year’s worth of postcards…you can see the results here: http://www.postcardstomyparents.com/. Her Flickr stream of them is amazing.

She’s keeping the postal workers busy!

Wow!  Such inspiration. Hope you enjoy.