Danielle’s recent foray into PostCrossing and her blog post about it and letter writing sent me off to the Letter Writer’s Alliance website she linked and where I promptly decided to join. I now have my very own membership card and an LWA button and I just sent off today requesting a pen pal about whom everything will be a mystery other than that s/he wants to exchange letters with someone. I am very excited about it. It takes me back to when I was a kid and had several international pen pals. What a pleasure that was.

Poking around the LWA website I found reference to a book called Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-popping Postal Art. Lucky me my public library has a copy and I wallowed in this lovely book over the weekend.

It turns out I have been doing a sort of postal art for years since I generally decorate letters I send with stickers. But this book takes envelope decoration to a whole other level. Not that stickers aren’t okay, they are, but there is so much more possibility that I never thought of before. The best thing is, the authors stress over and over, that you do not need to be able to draw or consider yourself artistic in any way in order to create postal art. All you need to do is be willing to let your imagination go and experiment.

Collage is big in mail art and suddenly when I look around I see potential sources for collage everywhere – finally something junk mail is useful for! There is also great potential for rubber stamps and drawing and making abstract designs from things like string dipped in ink or drawing around interesting shapes in different colored crayon, ink or pencil. There are also people who make their own “postage stamps” from made up countries. It all sounds like such good fun I had a craving to go raid an art supply store. I have refrained, for now, as I requested a bunch of books from the public library instead. Much cheaper.

The books I requested are on calligraphy and lettering as well as one on making rubber stamps. I don’t know if this will lead me to join a mail art “network” or not, but it’s been so long since I’ve played with arts and crafts that I’m having fun just thinking about making stuff. And if I do decide to dive in, I already have an idea for my own “postage issuing authority,” the land I am so familiar with, Biblio Orbis. You can probably imagine for yourself what sort of theme those stamps would/ will have. But, I get ahead of myself.

If you want to learn more about mail art or glean ideas for sprucing up your envelopes, Good Mail Day is a good place to start. If you want to get an idea about how simple or elaborate mail art can be, check out the blog for The International Union of Mail Artists. Anyone can be a mail artist!

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