Do you like creating art on the mail you send?  I certainly do.  You may recall that I ran a free community workshop during artsPeak Festival in June called “Mail Me Some Art!”.    I even included a free tutorial for making a petal envelope to get you started. 

Mail art is a worldwide cultural movement that began in the early 1960s and involves sending visual art (but also music, sound art, poetry, etc.) through the international postal system.  Join me in creating your own mailable works of art from found papers and objects.   I have a mail art circle slowly developing which I hope to expand over the coming year.  Some of my circle have exchanged with me already, and I’m about to do another round.  Would you like to take part?  Comment on this post if you would and I’ll get in touch.

The image above is a detail of one of the first pieces of mail art I attempted.  So, what exactly is ‘mail art’?  If you are not familiar, there is an entire genre of mixed media art that stands alone.  Akin, in some ways, to Artists’ Trading Cards, the genre consists entirely of the sending of unsolicited art forms through the mail, either in a guerilla fashion, or as a round robin for sharing.  Check out this link for some eye-popping examples of mail art to inspire you!

There’s a great book in circulation called “Good Mail Day” by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler.  Look for it in your local bookstore or library for some wonderful ideas.  So few people send ‘real’ mail these days, and it is always a “good mail day” for me when I receive a personal missive from one of my friends or family.  I’m not the letter writer I once was, since the advent of electronic communication, and I hope to use this to get me started with thoughtful and present communication again.

If you’d like to get some momentum going, take the bull by the horns.  Exchange with me and my group, or just start decorating and arting on the mail you send.  Watch it grow!  If you’re local, Banff has a Snail Mail Society you can follow on Facebook that has a collection of vintage typewriters too . . . Time to write a letter, I think.  See you in the mail!