Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dabbling in Mail Art

I've had mail art on my mind.

For the past several months, I've sent plenty of handmade postcards through the mail, but I have not revisited the kind of mail art pictured in one of my favorite books, Good Mail Day, by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler. 

But then Christel sent me those delightful handmade envelopes in a recent swap, and Tammy at Daisy Yellow posted some great mail art links in a recent post. 

I was reminded of my first mail art effort, in 2009.  A friend of mine organized a mother-daughter camping trip in the Delaware Water Gap.  I sent a thank-you note afterward in an envelope I made from a brochure about the area, decorated with a skeleton leaf, words cut from magazines (such as "mother," "child," "getaway"), and labels and stickers.  It was my very first work of mail art.

That gave me the idea of making several envelopes from brochures I picked up when I went on vacation.  My family visited Monticello that same year, so I created a series of "souvenir envelopes," made from tourist brochures.  I cut and pasted pictures and words from various brochures onto the envelopes, and thought they would make a nice souvenirs for my girls from their first visit to an important American historical site:
A closer look:
For the future, I thought it might be fun to tuck a postcard inside of each handmade envelope I made from the places we visit, with a little letter to the girls about what they saw.  As they get older, they could write the postcard themselves, with their own chosen memories.  Wouldn't that make a nice collection for them as they are growing up? 
It's amazing how many different envelopes you can make from just four or five brochures!
Looking back at this project from 2009 (and finishing a couple of the envelopes that I left incomplete) bit me with the envelope-making bug, so I've been making some more from magazine pages I've saved over time:
It's such a satisfying pasttime, because the envelopes are quick to make, and look so fun and colorful when they are finished.  Three of the envelopes in the back were made with old pages from Somerset Studio magazine.  The leaves are from the cover of a catalog that came in the mail.  The envelope on the front left is a picture of a closet, and the one on the front right is someone's desk; who knew they would make such fun-looking envelopes?

Then I started decorating small manila envelopes with collage images:
I love these; they really show my preferred "style," with text, musical scores, vintage images of women, and ephemera from an old BINGO game.
Mail art is the kind of thing that I will always come back to again and again.  It is fun to create, fun to send, and fun to incorporate into other artwork, such as journals. 

I am always looking for new examples of creative mail art, so please leave any fun links you might know of in the Comments section, so we can all explore new sources of mail art inspiration!


scrapwordsmom said...

OOOOOHHHHH....I MUST try this!!!!! LOVE!:)

Anonymous said...

I'm actually participating in my first mail art exchange this month!

this is the blog that's hosting it. I'm excited. Kind of nervous too.

Janet said...

Your envelopes are gorgeous! And I like your idea of the postcards inside for your girls to use later on.

Mail art is so much fun to do and also to receive. There's nothing better than finding a wonderful piece of art in the mailbox.

VivJM said...

Oooh, wonderful! Love those little manilla envelopes especially.
Getting real mail these days is pretty special (when it's not bills lol) but to receive anything as lovely as these...!!

Andria said...

Thanks for the link, Amanda. I'll have to participate if she hosts future swaps like this one. (I JUST missed the deadline!)

It's kind of fun to do mail art beyond just the postcard (though I'm still a huge fan of artful postcards!).

lee said...

Oh i love these and will try these from some of my art

Carin Winkelman said...

These are absolutely gorgeous. Just send them all to me! ;-) Calendars are good envelope material too by the way.

clara said...

nice!! love these!

Andria said...

Thanks, everybody. Thank you, Caatje, for the reminder to use calendar pages; that is a great idea, and I'm going to have to ask my friends to save their old calendars for me at the end of the year! said...

Love it!!
Such a clever & creative idea :]
There is nothing better than creating art out of reusable materials!!!
Is there a certain template you use for your envelopes? (email me, please)
Yes!! I can not wait till you are ready to swap rolodex cards... hip, hip, hooray!!
Take care <3

TJ said...

WOW - I love handmade envelopes -- and yours are gorgeous! Mail art is LOVE!!
xx tj

Andria said...

Thank you, April and TJ!

Parabolic Muse said...

Okay, YOU are just too neat and organized. These are Fabulous! I have so many magazine pages and brochures! I must do this. I'm going to make my own envelopes and have them ready! No, don't try to stop me!

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