Monday, May 20, 2013

Non-paper postcard swap – mail by June 17

What would you use to make a postcard if paper products weren’t available?
Fabric?  Wood?  Plastic? Metal? Random household object?

Put on your thinking caps and stretch those creative muscles.
Create a piece of art that will be mailed without an envelope to your partner.
Any materials and supplies other than paper are acceptable.  That means the base cannot be paper or cardboard, and the decorations cannot be paper either.

Decorate with paint, markers, crayons, etc.
Embellish with fabric, ribbon, plastic, foil. polymer clay, pressed flowers….the possibilities are endless.

The shape and size of the card are also up to you, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go visit your local post office and ask them what it will cost to mail your creation without an envelope.  Many thick or rigid objects have to get mailed at the package rate (which I believe will cost you $2.07)

Make sure I can either adhere a mailing label, or write an address with a permanent marker.  If you need to use a little square of paper or cardboard for the label area, that’s fine. (Really, I’d prefer a mailing label since these swaps have been getting kind of big and having to handwrite everyone’s address would be rather time consuming.  But if I have to write a few addresses in the name of art, so be it.)

A few reminders:
  •  This postcard is getting sent to your partner without an envelope so make sure anything you add is totally stuck down and mailable.
  • Make sure your return address and email address is on the back of your card.
  • A little message or quote for your partner is a nice touch.
  • Get your card weighed at the post office and send me the appropriate amount of stamps or cash (or send $ via paypal.)
  • Include a mailing label with your own address.
Postmark it by June 17th and mail it to:
Karen Isaacson
PO Box 532
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
United States.


  1. I would suggest, if at all possible on this swap, that we all err on the side of being extra generous with the postage we include. After all, consider what might happen when Karen goes to mail these off:

    Karen enters the Shrewsbury, MA post office, as she is Saturday-wont. Maybe there are others in line, maybe not, but for this week's MMSA mailing, she does not have a pert stack of postcards, all stamped and needing only hand cancellations, but instead a cardboard box of "stuff," that she summarily upends on the counter. A stray doorknob from the box rolls across the desk, and, dropping, clatters across the floor.

    The postal worker, by this time somewhat used to Karen's brilliant mailings en masse, is nonetheless stymied at what this meddle of strangeness might mean.

    Karen grins. Karen explains. "Nonpaper postcard exchange . . . liberally interpreted, of course."

    The postal worker sighs, and then begins examining and weighing each displaced object, all the while puzzling out how to get postage and hand stamps on such things as balsa wood strips, license plates, old CDs, torn-covers-off-hard-cover-books, and the vagrant door knob, which, by the point, has been retrieved (twice) and now rests firmly chocked by other nonpaper-postcard ephemera, to keep it from wobbling off the counter yet again.

    Nearing the end of the ordeal, and saving the biggest and bulkiest for last, Karen plonks on the counter a flimsy, cellophaned box of donuts, and a carton of orange juice, still cold and covered with sweaty condensation due to an unusually humid Massachusett's day.

    The postal worker freezes. Her jaw drops, and as evidence that she is slowly coming back to life, indicates "No way, Jose" with a unerring head shake, refusing to treat perishable goods as postcards, no matter how spunkily creative mail art people try to be.

    But, as if to save the day, Karen flashes her capacious MMSA-profile grin, and tells the postal worker that the donuts and orange juice are NOT to mail anywhere, but simply to thank the dear Shrewsbury postal folks (from the counter help, to the postal sorters), those who initiate the processing end of a fair amount of our nonstandard mail, all to benefit us in the name of art, sociality, and collecting hand-cancelled stamps.

    1. Ha ha ha ah ha ha ha ha !!!

  2. This swap idea sounds a bit outlandish, but I just started reading the exquisite correspondence documented in "The Element of Lavishness: Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner and William Maxwell, 1938 - 1978."

    During the WWII years, there actually WAS a shortage of paper in Britain. Of course, with the war raging, there was a shortage of just about everything else, too, but despite that, Sylvia did find enough paper (or other ephemera) to continue writing to William, therefore we have this book today.

    Thus we never know when we'll need to send smoke signals, or a message in bottle . . . whatever . . . to stay connected.

  3. This is one awesome swap. love it
    I just hope what I picked is ok.....

  4. Thank goodness I saved those bushels of fabric from when I was a quilter. Off to make fabric postcards.

  5. Is this swap open to International swappers? I'd like to participate but I reside in South Africa??

    1. yes it is! The cost of return postage will depend on how many items you are swapping. Send me an email and let me know what/how many you plan to make and we can talk about the best way to send you your return item(s) and I can estimate a cost.