My mail art flow is steady again, with letters both outgoing and incoming. I can tell 2012 is going to be another fun year filled with glorious postal treats! This week I was treated by 5 letters while 6 of my packages have made it to their addressees. Sumi Senthi (@sumiart) gifted me quite the pile of gifts inside a lovely envelope that was originally tied with a white ribbon. Among sketches, paper ephemera, stickers and business cards were also pin back buttons, a wax sealed letter, a fold out 3-d cut paper tree, and the sweetest letterpress card congratulating John & I on our engagement. I am starting to own quite the awesome collection of altered postcards from Kathy Dahl. This time I was greeted by the Canadian Rockies getting over taken by toy story creatures, trucks, planes, boats and cattle! Flipped over, it is just as awesome, with a nice note and more super rad stickers. One of my best friends, Hannah Peterson, is currently living in China as a language teacher, and so writing letters has been a great way to stay in touch with her. The recent package she sent to me included many Chineese treats: a pen with a fold out fan attached to the top, prayer beads, mini enamel panda bear key ring and a cut paper owl. She also wrote a wonderful message to me on the back of a colourful postcard. Ella Goodwin (@ella_goodwin) was out of control with her generosity. This is the first package I have ever recieved from her, and she really out did herself (I’m honestly scared to reply haha). My jaw dropped when I saw a hand-sewn & stuffed cat doll!!! The overwhelming feeling didn’t cease as I riffled through wooden pins, cat shapped buttons, cards, prints, fabric, whistle and vintage bird ephemera to then come to a a mini drawn and hand cut diorama inside a matchbox! You are crazy and awesome, Ella. Art duo Nuno + Nela found my blog and contacted me for a mail art trade! I love that we have common interests: book arts and printmaking! The top prints are lovely; the bright coloured paper stock is a beautiful compliment to their sharply designed images. My favorite is the two gentlemen skeletons having a jolly good conversation. The altered book page is also beautiful, and I love how it has been mounted onto a thick rag paper. My gorgeous older sister Alison (@mrsalimartin) found a parcel from me that was centered around her favorite cartoon character, and all around kick-ass-chick, Wonder Woman. I made her a customized pocket mirror using a vintage photo of Lynda Carter and a strip of white paper with the words “you are WONDERful” typewritten in red ink. Along with it was some passed-on WW paper ephemera, a gemini stamp (she’s a May baby), a photo of me & my studio, a vintage smoking tobacco ad for her hubby who smokes a pipe and a little ragdoll cat photo (the type of kitty she owns). I had to hold off on mailing my nearly complete mail art reply to Jeannine Saylor (@saylor_made) until I had finished my contribution to Valeria’s International Traveling Sketchbook, because Jeannine would be the next to receive it. Once I had completed my page in the book, I added it into the bee & nautical stamp plastered envelope. Inside were vintage book and magazine pages with ships & boats, a flash card of goofy leaning on an anchor, typewriter poetry, 2012 planner stickers, a red rose vintage tea card with a ship, ship stickers, arctic animal stickers and a wee scrapbook page with red cardinals all over it ’cause they are one of her favorite birds. Katie Whittington (@aspetalsfall) found a pile of winged-ephemera in her lastest mail art reply from me. A collection of butterfly & beetle stickers, old scientific book pages about different moth types, a magazine page with a zoomed in view of butterfly wings & a little note on an M.C. Escher postcard of intricate, geometrically inter-twined winged beauties. The infamous Justice Bicycle (@Justice_Bicycle) has moved to the UK and she received 2 mail art replies from me that (for the first time!) had to travel all the way across the pond to get to her. First was a ridiculous postcard juxtaposing Bush with a cannibalistic Goya painting, and the second was a paper back Sailor Moon book that I found in our local thrift shop. I sent the book as is – no envelope required! I hope she loved them both. And finally, I recently got a generous order in my etsy shop from a loyal blog follower and facebook friend Valerie Robinson (@themindoffreya). I normally don’t post about my etsy orders, but she wrote the sweetest and kindest blog post about me and my parcel that I just couldn’t help but share it. Have a read of the article here and while you’re there read some of Valerie’s other fun and personal posts! In closing, I spent the beginning of 2012 cleaning, organizing and crossing off items on to-do lists. Returning home mid-December, I owed 22 people mail art, so writing letters was definitely a priority! I’m happy to say that I am now down to only owing 2 replies, which means I will have plenty of outgoing postal treats to share with you in coming weeks, not to mention whatever incoming envelopes that may show up in my postbox!
Chilly knuckled-bike rides to the post boxes yielded more mail art for me this week than it did for my pen pals. Six goodies arrived here in BC, while three envelopes I created, showed up for friends elsewhere in the world. It’s so fun to find treats in the post box… an envelope never fails to make me feel extra special and I hope my recipients feel the same way. The first to spoil me rotten was the lovely Carol Whitley (@imsilverfeather) who went way above and beyond her call of duty! The deer sticker and stamp emblazoned envelope was stuffed full of generous gifts. A beautiful hand written letter, stickers, postcards & greeting cards, magnets, pin back buttons, scrapbook papers, a feather, a zine, collected ephemera & tiny trinkets! All nature, Canadian or ‘J’ themed. Incredible amounts of awesomeness in this one, eh? I was stoked to get my first package from Sarah Hutchinson Burke (@thesecondmagpie) that had a squirrel stamp on it! She gifted me one of her awesome hand bound tea books, a project that chronicles cups of tea enjoyed with friends. So sincere and unique! Sent with the book was plenty of other fun treats: lettraset, tons of pressed flowers, seeds, beads, fabric, a mini collage, postcards, prints and some of my favorite little things: optimistic mini “Half Full” tags and matching “Half Full, Half Empty” postcard. A long-awaited envelope from my dear friend Caren Gibb blew me away as usual. First and foremost, I got the final set of pages from the Bear & Dog SEASONS book that she has been gifting me throughout the year as the weather changed. I’m excited to look for her old envelopes and read the story in full, from start to finish. Also inside was a super sweet engagement card for John & I, adorable photos of her grandchildren, illustrated postcards, animal stickers and bookmark. But wait… the most unbelievable piece of all? A screenprinted beaver pennant from 100 Mile House, BC – THE TOWN I’M LIVING IN! This piece was amazing – where the heck did she find it, and did she know I had just thrifted a similar Victoria, BC pennant at a vintage sale the other week? Love it. The Australian wonder known as Jessica Mack (@brownpaperbunny) knows I’m love drunk from my engagement, so she sent a love-themed reply including a paper back book about true love stories. A sincere congratulatory note accompanied a monogram watercolor drawing, a plethora of love themed stationery (some of which is just so adorable I can’t get over it), an oragami heart and a handcut heart paper chain. win! The sweet Katie Whittington (@aspetalsfall) replied to me and in her letter she admitted that she is struggling to keep up with mail art now that she has 8 pen pals and confessed she couldn’t understand how I do it all. To best honest, the biggest thing I like to stress when people feel intimidated or overwhelmed by mail art is that the only rule for mail art is that if you get something you must send something back. I then go on to remind them that no where in there does is list WHAT you must send, nor does it detail WHEN you must send something. I think pen pals often forget that a reply can honestly be something simple or be sent months later! Plus, Katie shouldn’t be concerned, as the mail art she sent to me was lovely: a delicate doily, fabric swatches, buttons, a hilarious crochet fashion shot, owl ephemera and a postcard of Lake Windermere in the UK. Jaime Madallena (@sendmoremail) is the perfect example to show how a simple handwritten letter in a pretty envelope can be just as exciting as a giant pile of goodies. As always some gorgeous vintage stamps (ALL ANIMALS!!!) guided this lovely letter to me, which was written on adorable blue & cream stationery with the word hello repeated. It was a nice change to recieve a letter written in Jaime’s hand instead of by her typewriter, as I find her ‘script’ quite unique and interesting. The first person to be greeted by a special envelope created by me was Marcus Jackson (@luckyjackpress)! This one was made from a dust jacket of a book called “The Man Game” with a wicked illustration of a cowboy boxing a bull/human hybrid and I plastered it with giant stickers, washi tape, rad stamps and our addresses. A big part of the contents was hunting ephemera like a fishing postcard, magazine picture of a cowboy with a big catch, an illustrated vintage add for fishing gear, a special section of a 1970′s Oudoor Life “101 Ideas for Smoother Sports” all about hunting, fishing and camping. There was a sad article about coyote killings, but Marcus’s work investigates human-caused deaths of wild creatures… plus his totem animal is the coyote. I sent him some other fun treats, stickers, a moose print and a letter written on ‘M’ index cards. I sent Jill Griffin (@jillgriffinart) two awesome found falcon illustrations in an envelope with a falcon stamp. The bird themed continued, only more tropical with a parrot flash card and a plethora of awesome Jungle stickers! I also included a large sticker, illustrated postcards, nature colored paint sample and an autumnal leaf. Marissa Falco (@czarcastic) loves penguins, so I had one guard her envelope along with a royal couple stamp. The coolest thing I sent miss Marissa was an ESP test book (lol) to see if she has a 6th sense!!! Also included was a Mercury ’67 Cruiser Boat add and random drawing inspired by it, a tiger beat gaga poster (cause we love her) a moose print, circular king playing card, a red maple leaf, seasame street’s BERT, a waldo postcard, I can has chezburger cat and a wicked narwhale stamp! I hope my friends enjoyed their treats because in my opinion it’s such a privilege to be treated almost daily at the post box with something beautiful instead of bills. I am a very lucky girl. But as the saying goes: with great privilege comes great responsibility… and thus I ought to start conquering my list of owed replies. Until next week, happy mailing!
Although the car I drove out here was stuffed to the max, I somehow forgot to pack my pop-up canopy for farmers markets and for the Tour of the Arts next weekend. I felt like such an idiot, but luckily Johnny got home on the 16th, so he was able to ship it to me. The only TRUE bonus that came out of this situation was the fact that he was able to add 2 weeks worth of mail art in along with it. What a spoiling, let me tell you!!! It started off with three awesome postcards from Kathy Dahl, Marcus Jackson (@luckyjackpress) & Carol Whitley (@imsilverfeather). Adorable wildlife, maps and plenty of cute stickers… honestly, what’s not to love? The backs are all inscribed with thoughtful messages from these three wonderful friends; the perfect appetizer for the mail feast that was to come. The first envelope I dove into was from Jessica Mack (@brownpaperbunny) which seemed to have no bottom. The treats just kept coming and coming. Some of the gems amidst it all: teddy bear patch, original drawing she made for her blog about getting mail art from me, money to do lists, a glow-in-the-dark casette drawing, temporary tattoos, “jess” / initial themed treats, a photo of her mother amongst the books of her second-hand store, silly stationery and more. However one of my favorite pieces was definitely a secret message written on paper that disolved in water! Emily May Hopgood (@EmilyMayHopgood) sent a magnificent font adroned cardboard cover, thanking me for the owl zine (informing me that it was BANGIN’)! The text-laden cardboard housed two epic illustrated cards – one of which features a tourist couple that are just too good to be true while the other was adorned with two texture-laden kitties. The lovely Katie Whittington (@aspetalsfall) finally found time for a reply! She decorated an envelope with maps as mountains and filled it up with tea, moths, a letter, found/collected ephemera, a paper prayer flags, a fabric key, a beetle drawing and the item that stole my heart: a little clipping that reads “I am kind of a big deal on my blog.” Jaime Madallena (@sendmoremail) loved the wee drawing of mushrooms stamps I did for her (she even featured it on her lovely snail mail blog!) In return she sent me one of her sweet typewritten letters on some fantastic air mail stationery, and as always lovingly arranged beauty vintage stamps on the envelope. My favorite: a moose looking upstream. Sumi Senthi (@sumiart) sent me quite the epic first time package stuffed full of fun goodies. I can tell she reads my tweets and my mail art posts – she included a lot of treats that are right up my alley. First a personal hand written letter on a lovely sheer paper. Two postcards, one of which is hers (the rabbit), magazine clipping of knit taxidermy, stamps inside the cutest wee envelope, a pocket mirror (and case) with a birdy on the back plus home-made stickers made with old sheet music and a sticker machine. what? did I hear Sumi say STICKER MACHINE? gotta get me one of those! I sent a replacement envelope for the pink owl that lost its way, and I am happy to report that it made it, because I recently got a reply envelope from Miss Marissa Falco (@czarcastic). She gifted me yet another of her incredible zines ‘Miss Sequential #4″, this edition all about her mail adventures! She has such a great way with stories, and her matching illustrations make the zine truly the best! Along with it, a set of adorable owl stickers, a lovely note and found ephemera. Michelle Ashton (@zbyshka) is always thanking me for sending her plenty of bear items, but I could honestly do the same thing to her. In this shipment: beach bear stickers, paddington bear pins, moon bear rescue sticker and a mini 3-D shirt-wearing bear “hoping for a better life in Canada” says Michelle. Non-bear items included a mini tourist guide to oslo and a postcard about a book called ‘better handwriting’. Mariana Lobao (@minawolf) made me wait months for a reply but it was worth the wait: she blew my mind completely!!! The painted deer envelope was enough to make start creating a fantastic reply, let alone the many things she generously gifted me: several original drawings/mixed media works, the most amazing zine “Sleeping Beasts,” epic 3-D Bear stickers, DIY or DIE zine, an altered photocopied owl page, a hand bound sketchbook and tons of collected ephemera. SUCH A WIN! A sweet reply came from Crystal Plett (@thehouseofheart) with a nice, long and personal letter, a holga photo print, found ephemera and a collection of lovely deer postcards. They were all wrapped up in a handmade envelope from a vintage map – however it was ripped on a few sides and in a safety postal bag, so I am hoping everything that was packaged arrived safely as intended. I recently sent Crystal a cheer me up postcard because she was a little distraught prior to the mail strike, as her mailbox hadn’t been getting much action. So I fixed up a sexy little catalogue man postcard to perk her up. I heard it was happily received. The other lucky gal was Anna Jane Searle (@annajanesearle) who had sent me the most elaborate artwork in the mail: a hand drawn bear diorama assembled in a box covered in vintage maps. I knew I had to try extra hard to impress her, and judging by her blog post, I can tell she’s one happy camper. Packaged in an incredibly adorable envelope covered in animals was a glorious pile of treats! Phewph. We made it! What a victory!!! After a month of snail mail fails with the postal strike and a couple slow weeks at my pox box, it was nice to experience a mail monsoon.