Postman Pete

This week my son came home from school with the book, Postman Pete, written by Val Marshall and Bronwyn Tester, illustrated by Marjory Gardner. A bicycle riding postman? Well all right!

And while we’re thinking about mail as a medium for the expression of love, Valentine’s Day is 2 weeks away. Get crafting! Your friends, neighbors, and family will be so grateful!

Postcards from the Edge

This weekend Visual Aids’ 15th annual Postcards from the Edge Benefit opens in New York City. Postcard sized original works of art by both established and emerging artists are on sale for $85 each. Here’s the fun thing. All the work is hung anonymously, the artist is only revealed to you after your purchase, so someone is going home with a John Baldessari original for 85 bucks.

Over the years 15,000 pieces have been made and donated to this event, raising close to $600,000. All proceeds go to Visual AIDS, an arts organization that “utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over. Visual AIDS is the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to HIV prevention and AIDS awareness through producing and presenting visual art projects, while assisting artists living with HIV/AIDS.”

Hosted by Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Gallery at 530 West 22nd Street on Saturday, January 26, from 10 am- 6 pm and Sunday, January 27, from 12 pm- 4 pm.

 

Communication

There’s a story floating around the internet, you may have seen it, about a mom who gave her 13 year old son an iphone for Christmas, along with a lengthy contract on how to use it. The mom is writer Janell Burley Hofmann and her contract is fascinating, an outline of how to integrate new technology in to childhood. She encourages her son to enjoy it but not let it take over his time or better judgement.

I am very interested in how we introduce children to modes of communication. Each medium is different and has its own pleasures and particularities. And responsibility! Hofmann gets a VSM stamp of approval for guiding her son’s use of his new iphone and the unprecedented access to texting/internet searching/calling/face time calling/picture taking/video recording/music listening/game playing/weather checking/map reading/etc. that the device allows.

I used to teach New York City teens how to make documentaries about their own lives and communities. With access to video technology and storytelling skills came true empowerment. But there was plenty of discussion about how to use this newfound power to communicate meaningfully and responsibly. I helped them navigate this new terrain. Now as a parent I am that guide for my children, mostly in how I model my own ways of communicating. My children watch everything I do including how I talk to people, when I dip out of the present to reply to text messages, how often I am at my computer, and that despite all this instant media, I still value paper mail.

Thank you notes

I am writing this post to motivate myself and my children to get those holiday thank you notes written! While this blog is mostly about the pleasures of paper mail, sending thank you cards is obligatory. But like good dental hygiene, I think its important. Here are a few choice items via Etsy:

How about this lil fawn by Pheasant Press?

 Or this card by Seas and Peas? It comes with a Golden Girls magnet!

Or make your own thank you notes with this beautiful hand carved rubber stamp by extase?

Whatever thank you note route you take, just get it done, ok, uh, Melissa?

Happy New Year!

Its going to be a great year for mail. I can feel it. The 2013 stamps show alot of promise, including these apple postcard stamps.

Speaking of postcards, one of my favorite Christmas gifts was the book, The Postcard Age. It is a phenomenal survey of postcard art from the turn of the last century, when a “postcard craze” swept the globe. The images in the book are beautiful and bizarre. I’ll leave the bizarre to your imagination but here is an example of beauty:

The book is a companion to The Postcard Age exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which is up until April 14, 2013. Go see the real postcards up close!