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.
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.
December 20, 2015 § 4 Comments
Quite a while ago, I received a package from a friend. Inside, I found this book:
It features photographs of saguaro cacti with captions – and space for you to write in your own captions:
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.
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.
October 27, 2013 § 14 Comments
This is Sanzi.
As you can see, she brought her own mailbox with her.
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!