Sometimes I am just completely in awe of the natural creativity of folks. For instance, this pen pal I met at the first Portland Correspondence Co-op, Supa’Flous. She wasn’t familiar with the world of mail art until that day, although she was familiar with sending and receiving mail. I chatted with her about the community that I have basically grown up with, the mail art community. I showed her some examples of mail art, letters that I had brought with me, and she seemed instantly hooked! We exchanged addresses and that was that.
The first thing I received from her, all I could think was that she was a natural! Her drawings are unique and she has some really awesome ideas of non-traditional mail. Here are some examples of the awesome mail she sends my way!
Yesterday I posted a little bit about the missive mission I went on last month. As I mentioned, I was sent on a top secret mission through the post. I thought this was such a cool idea and I was so excited to see what was in store for me. The only thing I found out ahead of time was that the lady, Marissa, who sent me on the mission was going to send me a postcard with the briefing.
The postcard itself was a blurry picture of some buildings. It could’ve been any city, but it was probably Portland since it was from the UFO museum after all. The building’s name and address was listed on the back of the postcard. Marissa wrote that she was more interested in the surrounding neighborhood than she was of the museum itself. That worked out well since the museum is no longer operating! I was kind of stoked to go visit a UFO museum but, you know, you can’t always get what you want.
I completely lucked out on the location — I was instructed to explore my neighborhood! The museum was in an area that is just a few blocks from my apartment, an area I know very well and used to walk by every day on my way to work. It was exciting to think about my neighborhood in a different way, see it in a different light. I was anxious to get working on my reply to Marissa. I decided to send my reply in some sort of zine-y format.
My first order of business was drawing a map of the neighborhood. I love maps! You should know that I drew the goose and soccer ball all by myself.
I wrote a little description of the neighborhood, what the area was like, how it’s like living there, and my thoughts about my home. I also included prints of the photos I took while exploring.
I stole some soil from a near by tree as well as some leaves and flowers to share with Marissa. I felt like the dude from Everything Is Illuminated when I was carrying around the little baggie of soil!
As I’m not one to check in to see if people receive my mail, I have no idea if Marissa received my report; I haven’t heard anything from her since the original postcard she sent. I sure hope she received it! I’m also considering sending out these little missions to anyone who might be interested. I have tons of postcards of places I’ll never visit and need to do something with them.
I get a lot of amazing mail from my dear pen pal, Emilie. Not only does she send me really cool things, she also writes me the best letters. She is one of those people that I totally relate to (which is super hard for me to find these days!). Her letters always cheer me up and her thoughtfulness is just downright amazing.
Emilie and I have also met quite a few times. That seems to be a pretty common occurrence these days with pen pals. I can probably thank social media for that as well as just being an adult and being able to do things. Then again, even when I was a kid my mom drove me to California to meet a pen pal/online friend. Thanks, Mom! Anyway, I first met Emilie when I moved out to Rhode Island and she was living in Massachusetts. I think our first meeting was at an event at a local typewriter store in a suburb of Boston. I think! Correct me if I’m wrong, Emilie 🙂 After that, we met up once more when she hosted a letter writing social at a Boston bookstore. Now THAT was fun; it was just a few of us hanging out, cracking jokes, eating cookies and pretending like we were going to write letters. Emilie also opened up her home to me and my boyfriend when we drove across the country from Rhode Island to Oregon. Simply put, she is the best.
One of my favorite things about receiving mail from Emilie is how creative she is! I feel like she doesn’t use traditional envelopes often. She puts things in boxes, photo sleeves, chocolate wrappers, and bags. This package was no different! In addition to a very awesome letter, she sent me some rubber stamps, tree bark, stamps, washi tape, ephemera, and a pterodactyl! I’m pretty lucky, guys. Maybe one day I’ll convince her to send me one of her pies.
Here is a really great incoming missive from one of my best pals, Mermeg. She really knows how to pack an envelope and collage one! I think Megan is my longest-running pal at the moment; we’ve been exchanging mail since 2008. We have kept in touch over several moves (for both of us), different relationships, and other life happenings. It’s really amazing to think about. We’ve also had the pleasure of hanging out at least three times. It could be four but my memory is hazy. Most recently she came to Portland at the beginning of this year and we watched mail art videos on youtube. I’ll make it out to Wisconsin one day to hang out on her turf!
Megan always seems to pick the most perfect items to send my way. I’m not sure if she just knows me really well or that we just have the same style. I don’t care either way because it just means I end up with loads of ephemera. Yes! Also, recognize some of those stamps? They were featured in Monday’s post!
You guys, Portland is getting hot and I can’t stand it. I long for an A/C and wait for the sun to go down each day. I lose what little motivation I had when it’s warm. Go away, summer!
In other news, here are some fun postcards I’ve received lately. I don’t send, or receive, postcards that often anymore. I used to be pretty active on Postcrossing, Swap-bot and Sendsomething, sending postcards to randos across the world. They are easy and don’t require much effort. Why do I stop?
The below postcard is from a super talented mail artist, Allison Anne. I love everything about the postcard she sent, her handwriting, the drawing, the collage, the postage placement. It’s so lovely!
One of my favorite things about the mail I receive is that almost everyone addresses their mail to me as “TARAdactyl”. It’s so great. I love seeing my nickname written in all different handwriting and colors.
Postcards can be challenging for me because I love to include a variety of postage, stickers, doodles, and whatever I can fit on the card. That usually isn’t a lot. I need space! In addition to decorating the card, I love to include a long message as well. Usually I have to sacrifice one for the other! Do you like decorating the postcards you send?
A little bit of lovely mail from Cara, aka Chewy Tulip. I’ve blogged about her fun mail before in a Mail Artist Spotlight post. Her style is unique, crazy, and I completely love it.
I especially enjoy all the different ink scribbles and the sparkly bits. I’m not sure where Cara gets her inspiration but I’m thankful to receive bits of her creativity in my mailbox. Her style is so fun and bright! She always includes scribbles and doodles in her letters as well.
In this letter she included bits of heart and circle shaped confetti. I ended up with a bunch of pink hearts all over my floor when I first opened the letter! Oops. I have a really amazing talent of dropping things on the floor and then, when trying to make it so nothing else drops on the floor, I end up dropping everything. This scenario applies to a lot of different situations in my life. My boyfriend calls it “Tara blows it”.
Thanks, Cara, for all the great mail ❤
This is a letter I sent to another person I met at the Portland Correspondence Co-op, Leslie. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her for too long but she gave me one of her artistamps. In return, she received some mail art from me!
I wasn’t too sure of her mail art style so I included some staples of mine in the envelope. I feel like she was more into the rubber stamping mail art style, and not so big on collage so I didn’t want to send too many images!
I receive a lot of amazing things in my mailbox almost daily. I thought it would be nice to feature some beautiful mail art here and there.
I’m super excited to introduce you to Samantha, aka Supa’flous. I met her, in person, at the Portland Correspondence Co-op. We just happened to sit at the same table, and she was there with no prior knowledge of mail art but with a love for sending mail. After the event started, we ended up talking a bit and exchanged stories of how we started sending mail. I told her about mail art and the kinds of things I sent and received in the mail. We ended up exchanging addresses (because that’s what you do!). I sent her the first letter, and I went all out to introduce her to mail art.
She sent me two lovely envelopes in return! Quickly, too. Don’t you just love her little characters? She drew some at the event, and they are so cute! She also sent me that super cool necklace she made. What a generous person!
You should definitely check out Samantha’s website! She also has an Etsy, but it looks like she is on vacation at the moment. I’m sure there will be some super cool things for sale soon!
Phew! I received a lot of mail within the last week. I tackled all but 1 of the replies on Friday night. Now I just have to put them in envelopes.
In this batch of incoming mail, I received mail from 3 new people! One of them I exchanged mail with a few years ago, but it didn’t stick. She is doing LetterMo this month and decided to send me a postcard. It’s so fun to reconnect with mail friends. The other are from two people I met at PDXCC. I sent them both mail first but this is my first time receiving mail from them!
I’ve been rummaging through my vintage postage collection. Some days I feel like I would have no problem just using it all up, putting stamps on each and every envelope I send out; other days, not so much. The collection is actually my father’s. While I do not have any connection to my father in any way, I feel like this collection was the first thing to spark my interest in mail as a child. These stamps don’t hold any special meaning to him. He was the type of person who bought collectibles and random things with the thought that they would be worth money some day. I have never intended on making money off of these stamps so why can’t I just use them? I think it’s because I just like looking through them.
There are so many different designs and themes. I love each and every stamp. I’ve actually added to the collection, over the years, with recent USPS issues that I absolutely love. Nothing beats a vintage design though. There are so many factors that go into the old stamps that make them much more special. I love the colors, the gummed backs, the fact that they aren’t glossy, the perforations, the texture; everything.
One of my favorite things about vintage stamps are the markings on a sheet of stamps. I don’t think I’ve seen any newer stamps with these kinds of markings (but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!). With the ones pictured, you can see the Mr. Zip character, which the USPS needs to bring back, the dinosaur, and some general information about the stamp. It almost seems like a lost cause to do this because most people will probably never see the markings. They are there until you rip the sheet apart and throw it away. I’m happy to have several sets of full sheet stamps. I don’t think I could ever part with them!
I remember being a kid and always begging my mom to bring out the box of stamps for me to look through. There was nothing better in the world to me than to look through all of these beauties! I don’t know if my mom ever official gave me the collection. I’m pretty sure I just claimed ownership of it, even before I started sending mail. I have no idea what attracted me so much to them, or to mail. Even as a child, I was adamant about being the only one to check the mailbox every day. If a letter from my grandparents arrived, I would have to be the one to open it.