Take a look at the interview with John Waters in the NYT about his Christmas traditions. He’s been making his own Christmas cards since 1964 and sends them to over 2000 addresses. I want on that mailing list!
I have received one holiday card so far (and it was a good one, Hope Roth) and find myself, once again, stuck between the handmade, Gocco printed vision and the reality of other commitments. When will I learn to make my cards in November? But I will rally and get ‘em done because I am partial to my non traditional contributions to the tradition.
Viva Non Traditional Holiday Cards! And traditional ones too…
Starting to think about Christmas presents? I am. But since my family and I don’t actually need anything I am happy to turn the gift gaze outward with some VSM suggestions for the mail loving somebodies in your life.
1. To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing by Simon Garfield. Haven’t read it yet but its getting a good amount of press.
2. Taro Gomi’s Scribble It! Postcards. A book of 30 tear out postcards with simple illustrations along with writing and drawing prompts. We have them and they’re fun for kids and adults.
3. How about a set of 2 airmail inspired balsam sachets from Sewn Natural? These are kinda beautiful. And they’ll make your, ahem, drawers smell good.
4. I am in the midst of a high school throw back with Le Pen, and olive green is my favorite color. I just bought mine at a local art supply store which in itself reminded me of pen shopping back in the day, trying out different brands, colors, and widths on the little pads of white paper provided by the shopkeeper. A set of 12 assorted colors would make a sweet gift.
5. And the best VSM gift of all is stamps! My stepfather bought me an assortment last Christmas, both thoughtful AND practical. As you know, I already suggested the Johnny Cash stamps as a gift but how about the Made In America stamps? And did you know that there are Harry Potter stamps out now? Those would be great for a Potter loving kid, along with some card making craft supplies.
Viva Snail Mail gifts!
Last year when I was teaching mail making in an after school program, one of the kids in the class wanted to send mail to strangers. I loved her idea and its creative potential.
We didn’t do it but collage artist Ben Peberdy did. Unfortunately his mail art project drew the attention of the FBI, who showed up at his Vermont home with a few questions! Here is Peberdy’s project description from his website, Deluxe Unlimited:
Since August 5th, 2013, I have been making an original piece of postcard-sized collage artwork each day and mailing it out to random individuals. I find the addresses listed on Google Maps. I intend on producing 365 pieces, completing the project on August 5th, 2014.
I started doing this for two reasons. The first was to provide an opportunity to continuously make collages, without repeating myself. The second reason was that I was excited to get my artwork out to a very different, far more diverse audience. The people who come to see my stuff at galleries tend to be part of a fairly insular New England art community, and this was a chance to get these various ideas and images out into some fresh minds.
I anticipated far more responses than I have thus far received, although those that did write back to me were generally pleased with their postcard. However ”Another Disaster” resulted in my being investigated by the FBI. I briefly considered stopping the project, only to become even more determined to see it through.
What do you think of Peberdy’s project?
Next week marks the very rare alignment of 2 holidays, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. So Happy Thanksgivukkah! In the past I have used Thanksgiving as an opportunity to host a Thanks Postcard Art Workshop, where participants make and send mail to express gratitude. And then on to Christmas and Hanukkah mail making events in December. But not this year. This Sunday I will be participating in a Hanukkah art festival at Hannah Senesh Community Day School, and perhaps the Hanukkah cards that we make will be infused with both light and thanks.
If you’re local, please come! I’ll have lots of fun card making supplies, blue envelopes, and Hanukkah postage stamps. Happy Thanksgivukkah!
Last month we went to Honk!, a festival of activist streets bands in Somerville, MA. It was excellent! Brass bands from around the country, and a few from overseas, descended for a weekend of noise and fun. This one, Extraordinary Rendition Band, is from Providence, Rhode Island and they were so good.
Like the tuba player’s Marilyn Monroe postage stamp tights?
Like how I brought it back to mail?
This illustration has been floating around the internet:
Seems like a good companion to this video:
As you may have noticed, I have not been keeping up on my posts! It has been a busy fall season at VSM headquarters. But this week I am back on track, with an apple print postcard project to share.
Wondering what to do with all those apples you picked at some glorious autumn location?
Make apple print postcards with apple postage stamps- its fun for kids and adults alike! Cut an apple in half, lay face down on paper towels to absorb moisture (aka apple juice, yum). Apply tempera paint to apple surface or use rubber stamp ink pads and press apple to postcards made from cereal boxes. Let dry and then add stems and leaves with colored pencils or markers.
Apply these beautiful apple postage stamps and send out some autumn love!
Herman Wallace spent 41 years in solitary confinement, in a 6′ x 9′ cell at Angola Prison in Louisiana. In 2001 artist Jackie Sumell wrote him a letter and asked him to imagine his dream house. A correspondence started, which developed in to a creative collaboration. The documentary film “Herman’s House” chronicles their story.
Herman Wallace died on Friday.
I got a pigeon in the mail! My dear sister Hope sent me this pigeon to my P.O. box.
She arrived in a USPS plastic bag like a cruel joke but was otherwise unscathed and now she sits on my desk overseeing the paper mail production that takes place here. I guess she’s my new supervisor. Thanks Hope!
If you want to send a pigeon to someone by mail, you can buy a Pigeon Post kit on the Letter Writers Alliance website. Do it. Its so fun to receive!
This past weekend Greenpoint Hand Skills and Viva Snail Mail! co-hosted Johnny Cash Forever, a mail making workshop inspired by the 2013 Johnny Cash postage stamps. Participants were invited to make a card inspired by Cash’s lyrics, write a letter to a favorite Johnny Cash fan, or simply send a missive to a like minded friend. Craft supplies, black envelopes, and postage stamps were provided.
One woman made a card for her college age son and planned to include some Johnny Cash cash in the envelope. Smart phones made excellent devices for retrieving lyrics and the black envelopes looked great with white pencil and metallic sharpies.
This guy just happened to be walking by and saw the sign. He felt compelled to come in and make mail since he was wearing a Johnny Cash t-shirt.
So go buy Johnny Cash stamps and send mail to the Johnny Cash fans in your life. Or better yet, buy them a sheet of stamps as a gift.
Johnny Cash Forever!