Saturday, February 1, 2014

Random Acts of Mail Art Kindness - part 5

 Joanne is at it again!  She is sending more wonderful mail art into the world, and has written this lovely post for us.


R., one of my mother’s good friends, still lives in my hometown. She’s a shut-in, but I walk down to a visit every time I go back. R. attended china painting classes with my mother for many years (before my mother passed away), and because she likes flowers, I had been thinking that if I got a nice, painted, mail art postcard, that I should send it to her. When I made this one for the orange/aqua swap, I knew this had to go to R. (The white checkered inclusion is from a roll of sheet rock tape that I got at a thrift store. It’s a bit sticky on one side, and I find it adds a nice dimension to mail art collage.)


I wrote another letter to Nicole, who is on a mission in South Korea (see RAK posting #3), and and sent along a couple more APCs (these, with a rain theme).

Below: The front of the envelope at the post office, stamped, cancelled and ready to go. It also has my first two artistamps on the front.

Below: The collaged envelope back, including more sheetrock tape. 

I sent the two umbrella APCs (watercolor and water-soluble crayons) in another cut-down, adhered, baseball-card plastic sleeve. The musical background was a happenstance find. The vertical staffs situate the umbrellas in a visual downpour, and the quarter and eighth notes (like the big drops in the larger deluge) hint at the staccato sound that rain makes when it hits the roof. 


Of all the aqua/orange postcards I made, I kept a few aside to send for RAK. This unfortunate individual (guy? gal?) started out as a random watercolor blob that I developed with ink to create a spoof on the fashion industry, by creating what had to be the worst-dressed sea-monster ever 

I sent this to a friend, C., who attends our local church, in part because she signed up to receive some of my mail art. This came about as a result of a family history fair that we had at our church.

Below: Four of the many displays immediately after set-up. 

This month, each family was invited to create a table display of something relating to their ancestors. These included stories, pictures, genealogies, antiques, or even a favorite food item (the two most unique being vinegar taffy, and arepas, which are fried corn cakes that a Bolivian family brought).

I had lots of options for my display, but if I focused on mail art, I could talk about the artists on my father’s side of the family. In addition, I could showcase some of my own mail art, along with many of the pieces I had received from MMSA. I also printed up the partial entry for RAK #3 (see lower right, on the table), which featured Nicole Naatjes, whom everyone there knows, and I was able to have several good conversations with people and explain what mail art was. 

The clipboard in front was for people to sign up if they wanted to receive a piece of my mail art sometime. C. signed up, so she got the poorly dressed man/woman. 

Below: My mail art display, featuring my artistic ancestors.

Below: The elementary school children enjoyed seeing the various states and countries where the various MMSA cards had come from. (Photo used with permission of the boys’ mothers.)

As an interesting side note, one woman, realizing my interest in snail mail, invited me over to her exhibit, where she showed me a genuine, 100-year-old penny postcard. Her great-grandfather, “Yours, with love” Asahel (pronounced like “basil,” only without the “b”), sent it to her great-grandmother, “Dear Edith.” 

The two were courting at the time, and in a barely legible scrawl, he let her know that he’d be there at the train station waiting for her (“I will be very glad to see you again it -- has been too long,” it says), and that if she wasn’t on the 8:45 train, he’d wait for the 9:45. 

What was interesting about this old Massachusetts postcard was that Asahel (a sawmill worker) was 27 years older than his wife, whom he married shortly after sending this card. On their wedding day, he was 52, she was 25, it being a first marriage for both of them, apparently. Thus despite the age difference, they met, fell in love, and went on to raise a lovely family. How’s that for a romantic Valentine’s Day story?


  1. Oh, Joanne, your writing is always so engaging and lively! This post is spectacular, from those great artistamps to the super creative rain-on-umbrella cards to the sweet courtship card. Thank you for inspiration and delight!