Postal Present and Cati Captioning Kickoff

January 5, 2016 § 6 Comments

The slightly-dented, rusty-around-the-edges mailbox that came with the house sent many letters off into the world and welcomed quite a few to their final destination. But it reached a point where the door regularly ended up dangling from its one good screw on days when a substitute letter carrier tugged it a little too hard. Even on a good day, the door didn’t shut properly and the rust was spreading.

Given the standing tradition of postal presents, perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover a new mailbox under the tree. But I was genuinely surprised–and delighted.

201512_mailbox_present

Yes, it did come complete with love letters already inside!

It is top of the line, sturdy construction with a door and flag that glide smoothly. It had its inaugural use this morning when I sent off my first batch of letters for the new year.  I can only imagine how impressed the letter carrier must’ve been with the upgrade.

In other news, the Cacti Captioning project is just about to launch into the postal stream.  If you signed up to participate, I’ll be in touch very soon.  If you’re feeling sad because the original post got lost in the whirlwind of the holidays and you didn’t have a chance to sign up–good news!–I still have spaces available for interested letter-writers and artists. If you’d like to join the fun, let me know and I’ll add you to the list of collaborators.

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Seeking Collaborators: Cacti Captioning & Creative Alteration Project

December 20, 2015 § 4 Comments

Quite a while ago, I received a package from a friend.  Inside, I found this book:

saguaro1

It features photographs of saguaro cacti with captions – and space for you to write in your own captions:

saguaro2

“Hey, don’t go! I know what you saw, but it’s not what you think!”

I recently unearthed this book while going through a pile of Things That Have Potential and thought, The time has come for this to be the centerpiece in a collaborative altered book project!

To accomplish this, collaborators are needed!

If you would like to caption, doodle, collage, or otherwise take part in altering this book, please let me know in the comments or contact me privately by January 1, 2016.  I will kick off the new year by contacting all interested parties with details about this round robin art endeavor and together we will create the Cacti Captioning & Creative Alteration Project.

____

On a related note: If the idea of captioning cacti makes you laugh and you’re a fan of quirky romances, you might enjoy the writing and humor of G.G. Andrews, the friend who found this book in the first place.

Listening to Letters & the Penguin Post Office

January 31, 2015 § 2 Comments

I’ve recently discovered two letter-based podcasts and a PBS program featuring one of the world’s most unique post offices.  I found them all interesting and thought you might, too.

Titanic Letters – In 2012, the BBC recorded a podcast series featuring letters written by some of those involved in the Titanic disaster.  Some are written prior to the ship sinking, others in the chaotic aftermath.  Each is read by a different personality.  They’re very poignant.  [Note: You’ll probably want to start at the bottom of the list so that you’re listening chronologically.]

John Adams Letters from the Front – The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of British WWI solider John Adams are collaborating on the creation of this podcast which shares his experiences in the war as told through the letters he wrote home.  This series began in the fall of 2014 and will continue over the next few years with episodes being released 100 years to the month after the letters were written.  Part of what I love about this project is that these hundred-year-old letters that connected a solider to his family are continuing to bring his family together.

Penguin Post Office – This is a recent episode of the PBS show Nature.  Because it is a nature program, the main focus is on the colony of 3,000 gentoo penguins that take up summer residence next at Antarctica’s Port Lockroy, but the Port Lockroy post office is also featured.  If the brutality of nature makes you squeamish, you may want to skip the Nature episode (spoiler alert: not all the penguins survive) and instead watch the Port Lockroy briefing film to learn a little bit about the world’s southern-most post office, which is a major Antarctic tourist attraction.

BYOPOB

October 27, 2013 § 14 Comments

This is Sanzi.

Sanzi
I met her last month at the Chestertown Book Festival.

As you can see, she brought her own mailbox with her.

Sanzi's POB

Next to the mailbox, she had a basket full of self-addressed postcards.  She was inviting people to take them and write to her as part of an ongoing postal project she’s been running for the past decade.  Did you notice the large and wonderfully folded creations at the front of the table in the first picture?  They are collapsible books composed of series of postcards she has received.  When the postcards arrive, she sorts, scans, arranges, and finally prints the compiled collections.  For more information about this project, take a look at the Installations section of Sanzi’s online galleries.

Sanzi said that when she was living in England she had many more people participate in the project than she does now that she’s in the U.S.  I asked if I could take a few extra postcards and give them to people who would be interested in dropping her a note (or sketch or painting or poem or piece of mail art…).  I have three left and want to share!  If you’re interested, leave a comment by Friday, November 1st.  If more than three people are interested, I’ll toss the names into a hat.  If your name is drawn, I’ll mail you one of the postcards, along with some mystery postal goodies from my own collection.  You will then complete the circle by sending Sanzi’s postcard home.  Deal?  Excellent — let the creative collaboration begin!

Type-In & Letter Writing Social, Round Two

August 27, 2013 § 6 Comments

As you may recall, last December Lindsay of Thread Lock Press and I teamed up to bring about our town’s very first Type-In and Letter Writing Social.  As a result of that lovely evening, we were invited to present a similar program at the 2013 Chestertown Book Festival.

CBF poster 2013

Did you see?  We’re featured on the poster!  Official and exciting, isn’t it?

Due to logistical factors, this program will be a bit scaled back and more focused than our first event, but there will be typewriters, envelope-making materials, and plenty of good cheer.

Success: A Type-In & Letter Writing Social Retrospective

December 9, 2012 § 5 Comments

It finally happened.  The day arrived.  We set up the typewriters and the stationery and supplies for cutting and gluing, then we watched it all unfold.

underwood

It is nothing but the truth to say that the Type-In & Letter Writing Social organized and hosted by Thread Lock Press and Scribbling Glue was a huge success.   The typewriters were in constant use and the mailart table was always full.  Over the course of 3 hours, there were 70+ people who stopped by and walked away with typewritten and handmade creations!

If you couldn’t make it (or you did make it and want to relive the great vibe of the evening), here’s a brief photo overview.

readytoletterwrite

Checking out the mailart supplies.

The first wave of typists.

The first wave of typists.

ribbon

A Royal gets a fresh red ribbon.

Cutting, gluing, writing, and creating.

Cutting, gluing, writing, and creating.

A new set of typists.

A new round of typists.

2mailartists

Best friends creating together.

youngtypist

First time with a typewriter.

Another question for Lindsay!

Quick! Where’s the typewriter expert?

 

Every time a typewriter was free, a new typist sat right down.

Every time a typist finished, a new one slid into the seat.

And, yes, the evening even included a visit from Santa.

And, yes, the evening even included a visit from Santa.

There were, I think, eight or nine typewriters that made an appearance during the evening.  They were nostalgic for some, novelty for others, and enjoyed by all.

What I enjoyed most was the scope of the event.  The youngest participant was 2 (and the youngest in attendance, who has not quite developed the fine motor skills to write or type, was 4 months old), the oldest were in their 70s and 80s.  Some people came on purpose, others just happened to wander into Evergrain Bread Company as part of their 1st Friday circuit and stayed to make something.  Out of town friends and family of mine made the trip to Chestertown just so they could be a part of the fun–I’m so very fortunate to have such fantastic people in my life!  People showed up as individuals and couples and families.  A man typed a birthday letter to his mother who was turning 94 the next day.  A girl wrote to a friend from school.  A woman typed letters to two of her oldest friends–the three used to work together as typists.  A little boy created a tremendously be-stamped and colorful card when left to his own devices with a glue stick (I missed a photo op with that one!).  I love thinking about all the letters and cards and poems and thoughts that were created and are now going to be sent and shared; the event is over, but its impact is going to continue as colorful envelopes make their way through the mail and are opened on the other end.  This was definitely a happening that lived up to Scribbling Glue’s mission to celebrate how “handwritten letters, jotted notes, and scrawled miscellany add to the forces of good at work in the world.”

I have an inkling that this was not a one-time event.

Oh! And I also have an inkling from the Letter Writers Alliance:

File under: things that made my day

File under: this made my day 

Hooray for being a part of the creative and fun-loving community of letter writers!

Donovan and Kathy of LWA, thank you for introducing me to the idea of letter writing socials!

Huge thanks are also due to Doug and Kelly at Evergrain who gave an enthusiastic go-ahead when asked about holding this event at the bakery.

And, hey, Lindsay, creative collaboration rocks!  I’m so glad we made this happen.

In which there is an unexpected overnight guest and the creative process refuses to be rushed

November 18, 2012 § 2 Comments

We had an unexpected overnight guest this weekend.

Hildegard, Patron Saint of Writers and Unexpected Overnight Guest

We had known Hildegard and Lindsay were coming over to make things, but Lindsay and I underestimated the amount of time that would be needed to complete our project.  After six hours of typing, cutting, gluing, and creating, Lindsay headed home around midnight promising to return the next day.  Not wanting Hildegard to feel lonely, I introduced her to a new friend.

Despite the generation gap, they had no trouble finding common interests to discuss.

After a while, they were joined by a couple more friends.

Everyone enjoyed the bedtime stories.

Then it was time to get comfy…

The youngest member of the group was already in sleep mode.

…and tucked in for the night.

Ahhh…a well earned rest after a full evening of making stuff.

And what, you ask, were we doing that exhausted Hildegard and required ten hours of diligent work over the course of two days?

Well, at various times, it looked like this:

And this:

Eventually, it resulted in this:

Tomorrow some lucky letter carrier will start these on their way to spread the word about the fast-approaching letter-writing social and type-in:

Won’t you join us, too?  If you do, you’ll have the fun of putting together your own super-special, totally unique, custom created typed-and-handwritten masterpiece.  (Added bonus: experiencing Evergrain Bakery will make your taste buds happy.)

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