Mail Art Dabbling

September 4, 2016 § 10 Comments

There are some truly spectacular mail artists in the world.  Me? I’m more of a creative dabbler.

Recently, I’ve tried my hand at a couple projects inspired by tutorials generously shared by Lindsay at The Postman’s Knock.  Lindsay’s examples are gorgeous and precise.  My creations are rather more wobbly, but it’s such fun to play!

If you look at Lindsay’s How to Draw Lace tutorial, you can see that she has worked with great care and achieved a very balanced design.  In contrast, if you suspect that I did not follow the direction about using a ruler to measure the spacing of the ovals (or anything else), you would be correct.


My Hand Drawn Frame attempt turned out more true to the original.  I used the ruler this time!  I wasn’t sure how the envelope at hand would take watercolors, so I jumped right into bold color at the start.

TPK2Regardless of whether my attempts look like the original example, when I make mail art, my goal is to create something that didn’t exist before and enjoy the process.  Achievement unlocked!

What about you? Have you dabbled creatively recently?


Month of Letters: Time for the Art Supplies!

February 10, 2015 § 4 Comments

It’s day ten of A Month of Letters.  I’m writing my 11th letter of the month tonight, so I’m in good shape to meet the challenge of mailing 23 items by the end of February.  I’ve written every day and posted something every day the mail has run – several birthday cards, a sympathy note, replies to a few letters that have been patiently waiting, a couple postcards with slice-of-life stories, and a “thank-you” for a lovely visit with a lovely friend.

For the next round of letters, the art supplies are coming out.  Lindsey of Postman’s Knock inspired me to buy some art masking fluid and it has arrived.  A new art adventure for me!  Fun will be had by all, which is to say me and, hopefully, whoever finds my creations in their mailboxes.

The Versatile Garden: Availble In Dirt or On Paper

May 12, 2013 § 11 Comments

On a recent rainy day, I found myself–not for the first time–flipping through a bulb catalog and being seduced by the gorgeous photos of brilliantly colored and artfully arranged flowers.  Because I have ordered bulbs from this company in the past, there was a coupon promising $25 of free bulbs if I ordered $25 of bulbs.  Very tempting.  But then I remembered that the catalog was designed to take advantage of my spring flower-madness.  While it shows much gorgeousness, it glosses over the fact that the bulbs will not arrive until the fall, often during a stretch of terrible weather or at a time when I am unusually busy, and that they will look like bulbs, not visions of springtime loveliness.  It makes no mention of how my garden will be an end-of-season mess and I will have neglected to mark or make notes about which bulbs I currently have planted where.  But I have faced this catalog before, you see, so I’m onto the wily ways of this spring-drenched siren.  I know–I know–that spring-time catalog flipping can very easily lead to me stalking laps around my yard in blustery November weather before plunging in willy-nilly and wedging the new bulbs into a space that may seem illogical and ill-chosen in the light of the following spring.

So, this year, instead of ordering bulbs, I got my scissors and cut that catalog into bright and joyful little pieces.  No cold and muddy fingers, no crowded plantings, no delay.  Just flowery goodness ready to share immediately.





These fresh specimens have been sent out into the wider world and I’ve laid by a stash of cheerful flowered envelopes that are just waiting for a moment in the sun.  In other news, my garden in the dirt is blooming, too.  Growing things makes me happy.  You?

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.)

Matching-Optional Stationery & Envelopes

November 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

A couple weeks ago, I got together with Lindsay, of Goose Hill and Thread Lock Press fame, to print stationery that she designed for our upcoming Type-In and Letter Writing Social.  It was my first time using a printing press and I had a blast!  This is partly because Lindsay did all the challenging parts and I got to do the fun bit, but also because it’s really neat to try a new way of being creative.

I could spend this post telling you all I learned about the process of printing.  However, since I have the option of referring you to a thorough and concise outline of all the steps involved, I will instead simply share some photos and recommend that you direct any questions about what you see to Journeyman Printer Lindsay. She’s much more well-versed than I am and knows all the proper vocabulary while I’m still at the “it’s a metal thingy” stage of understanding.

The chase (one of many metal thingys involved) is filled and locked!  We’re almost ready to print.

Even application of ink is key.  (Are you admiring Lindsay’s printer’s apron?  If you’re in the market for one, check out Thread Lock Press on Etsy.)

Was it really that exciting?  Yes.  Am I often silly?  Definitely.

My first attempt was a success!

We went on to print a stack of stationery in a variety of sizes.

Stationery, of course, needs to be paired with envelopes, so we will include an envelope-making station as one of the activities at the Type-In & Letter-Writing Social.  I brought stationery samples home with me in order to create templates for making envelopes that will fit the stationery.

In a world where Pinterest exists, it’s easy to feel that plain cardboard just won’t cut it.  However, after a failed attempt making a more aesthetically pleasing template, I decided that I was cool with plain.  They are more utilitarian than beautiful, but they’re a means to an end and what they help to create will be lovely.

Voila! Template + page from a picture book with a damaged spine + scissors + tape = envelope of the perfect size!

I realize that the bright and shiny envelope does not exactly match the elegant stationery printed on quality paper, but it was what I had handy at the time.  And, hey, who said things always have to match?  However, those who feel the need for more decorum and coordination of their letter-writing materials should not be scared off by my jumping-june-bugs-kissing-katydids envelope.  There will be an assortment of materials available for making envelopes and other mailart on December 7th; I’ll endeavor to include some more refined options. ;)

Stamps by the Pound

September 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

Recently, because of the upcoming type-in and letter writing social, I’ve been searching for information and browsing for inspiration.  Somewhere along the way, while thinking that collage would probably be the best approach for offering a mail art activity, I discovered that you can buy canceled stamps on eBay.  By the pound.  Since I have a weakness for ephemera, I placed a bid.  I now have a bag containing hundreds (thousands?) of stamps from all over the world spanning decades of postal delivery.

With the more unique and interesting designs, I can see a single stamp becoming the central element of a work of art.  The more monochrome stamps with run of the mill designs give me ideas for color themes.  I am so excited to see what people do with them!  And I have a feeling I’ll be using a few in projects of my own before December 7th.

Dabbling in Making Stuff

August 4, 2012 § 5 Comments

I am more a writer than an artist.  I still marvel at how illustrators, comic book artists, and others with that incredible set of spacial-visual skills can replicate the same character repeatedly.  My own forays into art tend to be one-off creations and it’s not uncommon for me to feel like I don’t quite manage to capture how the idea looked inside my head.  But I like making stuff.

Here are some of my recent creations:


Cutting and pasting is just my style.  What’s yours?

Postcards Seeking Adventure: Adopt One Today!

April 13, 2012 § 4 Comments

Yesterday I received an unexpected piece of mail from PostMuse.

Post Muse Envelope

When I opened up the gorgeous envelope two things happened.

First, I was tickled to discover that it was made from an old calendar page (note to self: spend some time making envelopes), which made the back of the envelope make sense.

Second, I was reminded that, in fact, this was an expected piece of mail.  I had offered to adopt a couple postcards from PostMuse’s Orphaned Postcard Project and she had sent them my way.

If you haven’t heard of this project, here’s the gist.  Several years ago, PostMuse decided that she wanted to do something above and beyond accumulating dust with her enormous postcard collection.  So, she created an amazing database to inventory her collection and invited people to adopt postcards that they relate to in some way.  I trolled through the list, found two that appealed to me, and sent her an adoption request.  Now that they have arrived, it’s my job to write and mail them back to PostMuse.  One more way to achieve Action #7 for 2012.

Intrigued?  You, too, can adopt postcards and be a part of this neat project!  Even if you’re not interested in participating, take a look at the Orphaned Postcard Project blog to see a selection of the postcards that have been sent out, had a postal adventure or two, and returned with stories to tell.

A-Z of U.K. Mailart

January 11, 2012 § 2 Comments

Look!  I’ve been working on one of my Things to Do in 2012:

My entry for Positively Postal’s A-Z of U.K. Mailart Competition is just about ready to be sent!  I hadn’t water colored in ages, but this was a lot of fun.

If you’re interested in entering, you still have time.  Entries will be accepted until January 31st, 2012.

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