I have been thinking about fan mail and decided to write some with my family. We had gone to see Nick Cave’s Heard NY performance at Grand Central Terminal and were all so moved by it. At dinner that evening we were talking about the piece and the conversation generated some questions, which I wrote down. So 2 months later I finally got around to making some mail for Nick Cave with our questions, our gratitude, and a drawing from each of my kids.
Last week I wrote about sending a postcard to an imagined recipient with whom I have something in common, the current occupant of my old post office box from college.
How about sending off messages to imagined recipients of the future? To someone who you feel a commonality with, even though she or he does not yet exist? Time Capsules for our Grandchildren is a project by artist Stephanie Diamond, Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and a group of elementary school students in Philadelphia. The kids photographed their neighborhoods, gathered ephemera circa 2013, and wrote letters to their grandchildren. All of these items have been placed in air tight containers and will be buried in the Tyler School of Art Green Space on June 6th, 2013 at 4pm. And in 50 years to the day, the time capsules will be opened, and hopefully the children’s messages will be received!
I am so curious about what the kids wrote and what it will be like for people not yet born to receive their messages. Apparently the kids will read from their letters on June 6th and since the event is open to the public, you Philly area readers should go as VSM correspondents (how did ya like that double entendre?) and report back!
Viva Snail (like 50 years snail-y) Mail!
Between the output of pint size cuties in my valentine making workshops, the creations of my children, and my own valentine production, 2013 has turned out to be a fun, colorful and love infused valentine making year.
I hope you receive a valentine or two in your mailbox. There’s nothing better!
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.
This week I have been leading some art workshops for kids as a fundraiser for the badly damaged New York Aquarium at Coney Island. We’re making Koi fish flags, a symbol of perseverance, and hand drawn cards to the animals and humans at the Aquarium. These items will be sent as a care package, along with a cash contribution towards their rebuilding efforts. I might just throw in some goldfish crackers and swedish fish candies too. If there is food in the shape of walruses or penguins, let me know.
I am so grateful that Hootenanny Art House, where I teach, is providing opportunities for kids to take part in the recovery. There has been such an outpouring of volunteerism/donations/fundraising here in the city but very few ways for children to get involved. Every child that has come to the workshops has visited the Aquarium in the past and wants to visit again. Their creative output (along with their parents’ money) will help to make that happen.
From “Linda’s Air Mail Letter” written by Norman Bell and illustrated by Patricia Villemain. The idea of mailing a letter by throwing it out the window makes my son crack up!
There’s a new baby in our family! My sister Hope and her husband had a baby girl and we’re all just a little excited, or as my daughter says, ” a yiddle issited.”
Since Hope is the most consistent commenter on this blog and her birthday is coming up, the next two entries will be dedicated to her.
I am so glad there is a new child in our family for me to correspond with/indoctrinate! Thanks!
When my niece is at least 2 and ready for TV, Sesame Street’s website has an entire video playlist called Post Office and Mail. I can’t wait to watch with her.
And these soft blocks are in your hand me down future.
Might I suggest Peekskill, New York?
If you’ve got kids, or just like trains and sweets, I recommend Treat Station. Its got a huge model train table, ice cream, pinball, old fashioned candy, and on the back wall, some vintage Peekskill postcards.
VSM hosted another fantastic Make Mail! event this week. Some very enthusiastic kids at our local playground made pictures and letters, picked out either a bicycle or cartoon postage stamp, stuck them on envelopes, carefully wrote out addresses, and sent them off to friends and family. One kid even wrote to the President! And since we know that Obama is a stellar correspondent, he might just get a reply. If not, we’ll cut him some slack. I mean, there are just a few things on the POTUS’s plate right now.
I love hosting free mail making events for kids. And I am so grateful that supplies have been covered by small donations from people who like what I am doing. Please consider making a donation so that I can continue this fun mission. Thanks and Viva Snail Mail!
A few weeks back I was invited to Martha Stewart Headquarters in Manhattan to test drive a new card making app called Martha Stewart CraftStudio. I had SO much fun. I did find it bizarre and hilarious that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. wanted help from lil old me to promote their new product but when I did a google search about the app, there were pages of results of blog posts about it! Those women over at Martha Stewart know what they’re doing- get the craft bloggers and app bloggers to spread the word.
So here’s the word.
Its an app for the iPad. It is very intuitive. And fun. You can make cards using digital versions of craft supplies like patterned paper, rubber stamps, glitter, punch shapes, and stickers. You can import your own photos too.
After you make your card, you can print it out or send it by email or send your file to Snapfish for multiples. A very affordable way to make invitations, right?
Its really easy and well designed. Even for kids. You know I like making real cards with real craft supplies but I also thoroughly enjoyed playing on this app. If you have an iPad the download is free until July 8th. Get it.
Here’s one of the many cards I made.