holiday mail 2014

Even though I LOVE Christmas I try to keep holiday shopping simple. I don’t shop on Black Friday because I celebrate Buy Nothing Day. I believe there is a direct correlation between our consumer habits and Climate Change.

But.

One of my favorite holiday customs is sending and receiving cards and if I’m going to do that well, its time to start thinking/planning/shopping. Today.

Are you with me?

How great are these vintage postage stamps from Darling One’s Etsy shop? These would look amazing on your very planned ahead holiday card envelopes right?

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reply all mail

reply all mail

Last month my sister sent an email to the family with a link about terrible candies made in Boston, our hometown, including Necco wafers. We all remember walking past the Necco factory in Central Square in Cambridge and smelling delicious artificial flavors but apparently not everyone has such positive associations. Frankly, they are unpopular. My own daughter handed a just sampled mini pack to me on Halloween and said, “I don’t like these.”

I took 4 mini Necco wafer packs from a generous neighbor when we were trick or treating and mailed them to my mom and 3 sisters, along with the anecdote about my daughter’s Necco wafer rejection. Since you can’t send mini Necco wafer packs via email (yet) I opted for analog Reply All packages. All 4 were as identical as the human hand can muster. It was an email/paper mail hybrid, following up on fun, group experienced email content with a handmade, paper mail delivery system. Best of both worlds.

3rd grade mail

halloweenpostcard

Happy Halloween!

I just got back from my kids’ school where students and staff are dressed up for Halloween, I mean, Character Day. That’s what they call it and everyone is supposed to dress up as a character from a book, maybe to include children who don’t celebrate Halloween and to make it educational? Semantics. In any case, this year’s Halloween should be called National Elsa Day because she is everywhere!

Speaking of school children, my son’s friend’s 3rd grade class is trying to see how many postcards they can get from around the country and the world. If you are a VSM reader from outside of New York State, can you please send a postcard to the class with one fact about your location written on it? That would be excellent! Thank you!

Please send your postcard to:

Class 3-412, P.S. 10, 511 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Viva Childhood!

crossing brooklyn

commons

The Crossing Brooklyn show at the Brooklyn Museum is worth a visit. One of my favorites is Paul Ramirez JonasThe Commons. The piece conjures the kind of historic bronze statue you might see in a town square but the horse has no war hero in its saddle and the whole statue is covered in cork board. Visitors are encouraged to pin things up. Pin something up? Don’t mind if I do.

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Jonas combines two things associated with public space; static, war memorializing monuments and active, interactive community bulletin boards. His piece stirred up thoughts about the past and the future of “The Commons” and the potential of non digital social networks that exist in real, shared time and real, shared space. I loved it.

Plus while I was visiting the exhibit I saw one of my former pre-school art students on a class field trip and got to watch as he exclaimed, “My tooth fell out!” His teacher took his picture to mark the occasion of losing his first tooth. Pretty fantastic and memorable location for such a rite of passage.

inverted mail

I just received a package from my sister Hope with the Inverted Jenny stamps as postage.

Her enclosed note reads:

As soon as I saw these re-issued Inverted Jenny stamps at the post office, I knew I had to use them to send you some inverted mail. But how do you invert the mail? Answer: mail the negatives from pictures of people hanging upside down.

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I love when there is a relationship between paper mail’s postage and content. And Hope’s concept made me laugh! Inverted on many levels, she even wrote my name upside down on the package! And her card featured a reverse panda, with white rings around its eyes!

I challenge you to buy some Inverted Jenny stamps, and send some inverted mail of your own invention.

 

martin mail

This summer the kids and I went to see Shantell Martin‘s show, Are You You, at MoCADA. We sat in the gallery space looking at Martin’s black marker drawings which covered the walls, and thought up questions to ask her about her art. My plan was to have my kids who love to draw send some fan mail to a woman who loves to draw. Coincidentally she was at the museum and we got to meet her! She was lovely and she gave us stickers!

Our fan mail included a few questions and compliments from each kid and Shantell Martin inspired drawings that they did on white paper with black ink. She wrote back! And sent stickers! And pens!

youareyouNow I am an even bigger fan. Look for Shantell Martin’s work at the upcoming Brooklyn Museum exhibition, Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond. It will be up from October 3, 2014 to January 4, 2015.

white house mail

These days I would not wish President Obama’s job on anyone, including President Obama. What an intense and awful summer it has been for the guy. Ukraine, Gaza, Iraq, Furguson, MO, Washington, DC. Oy vey. That’s why I found it particularly sweet when 2 participants in one of my summer Make Mail! workshops made beautiful and elaborate letter collages for the President. While we know that Obama has a committed paper correspondence practice and excellent handwriting, he did not personally write back this time. However a package from the White House with photos of the First Family was still a thrill to receive. Viva Snail Mail!

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on kawara

kawara

Above is a portion of the series  I Got Up… by conceptual artist, On Kawara, made up of 90 postcards that he rubber stamped and mailed to his friend and fellow artist, John Baldessari in 1975. I just learned that while I was on vacation in Italy, Kawara died at the age of 81. Since much of his work focuses on marking time and place I feel compelled to state that he died on July 10, 2014 in New York City.

I am looking forward to a retrospective of Kawara’s work at the Guggenheim, which opens on February 6, 2015, and is called On Kawara: Silence.

farmer mail

farmers

Its the height of the summer bounty! Peaches. Basil. Tomatoes. Yum. At the Grand Army Plaza GreenMarket yesterday I learned that it was Farmer Appreciation Day. Hot breakfast and coffee were made for farmers by GreenMarket staff and customers were encouraged to write cards to their favorite vendors.

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Handwritten cards you say? Using paper mail to connect people in a meaningful way? Fantastic! This lovely gesture coincidentally aligned with the new Farmers Markets stamps, issued by the USPS last week. With glee I found a photo of the new stamps on my smart phone to show to the GreenMarket staff. They were psyched to hear about them. I even suggested buying some stamps as gifts for vendors.

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And in today’s New York Times there is a piece by Bren Smith called Don’t Let your Children Grow up to be Farmers, about just how hard it is to turn a profit as a small-scale farmer. Sounds like a bit of farmer appreciation in the form of policy change is in order, if we are truly committed to the Farm to Table movement.