Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Odds and Ends

It's getting a little crazy over here in MMSA headquarters...

I'm gearing up for a two week vacation, which means this week is super busy with work and errands and preparation.
You may have noticed there hasn't been a lot of art showing up on the blog.
Fear not, I've been opening my mail and scanning everything, and when I'm relaxing lakeside with the family in Maine, I'll be cropping and posting all kinds of beautiful things.

Since I'll be out of town for two weeks, I won't be getting any new mail, so there will be a big backlog when I get home.

So if you haven't seen your stuff, don't worry.  One of these days/weeks it will show its beautiful face.


I'm happy to report, the envelopes full of envelopes went out in today's mail!

Here's what my dining room looked like on Sunday:


Have you ever wondered why almost all the MMSA swaps are postcard swaps?
It's because it takes soooooo much longer to put non-postcards in envelopes (and to first find the appropriate size envelope for the item) and to seal them and label them and weigh them and adhere postage to them...
Whereas your postcards are for the most part already stamped, and all I have to do is slap on the address labels.  Much faster.
So even though I know how many of you would like to do more ATCs and books and paper swaps, I need to limit those for my own sanity.
Plus, I just really like postcards.


Here's a reminder: when you receive your wonderful swap items in the mail, consider giving a word of thanks to the person who sent it.  
Now, I'm not making this a requirement or anything.  We had a great discussion about this last year, and I completely respect everyone's varying opinions on it, but I throw it out there because you might be new to the site and haven't thought of it before.  I know lots of swappers like to know where their work ended up.
So if the card has an email address, you could send a quick message.  Or you can post something on the "Received" Section of the blog.
But if you forget, or are complete daunted by the idea of keeping up that level of correspondence, don't sweat it, we will love you anyway.


Jake, my trusty swap assistant, really really really likes tape.
Likes to lick it and chew on it.
I have to keep my tape baskets up high and well hidden.

A few days ago I entered the studio to this scenario.

He kind of likes envelope glue, too.


You guys don't realize this, but I have little conversations with you when I open your mail.  True facts.
I feel like I've gotten to know so many of you through your art.  I recognize your handwriting on envelopes.  I love the little notes and treasures you include in your envelopes for me.  I recognize your packing and organization protocols.  I love seeing your work evolve over time.
So as I open envelopes, I comment out loud about what I'm seeing.
(Annoyingly, Jake never responds. )
I wish I had way more time to correspond with you all on a personal level.  I'm pretty hit or miss on sending thank you emails (guilty!) let alone actual mail art in return.  But just know how much I enjoy getting to know you through the mail, and how much a part of my world you've all become.


Did you know we have a flickr group?
(I confess, I'm rarely on flickr, but it seems like there's lots of stuff being shared.  If you want to share pictures of the stuff you send through MMSA (both formally and informally) you can join the group.
(if you don't have a flickr account, it's free to join, and not all that hard to navigate.)


You want to know what I love?
I love the connections that get made in this group.
Seems like every time I visit one of your blogs or facebook pages or flickr accounts, I see loads of familiar MMSA faces leaving comments, collaborating, and generally interacting in supportive ways.  This is just such a lovely group of people.  And I can see friendships develop, and private swaps and round robins grow from these friendships.  Isn't it cool?

Want to dive deeper into the community of artists who swap here?
  • Visit their websites and leave comments.  Do it frequently. (I always link the artist's name to their online presence if they have one.  Click the name - admire the work - say hello!)
  • Participate in the informal mail art exchange.  Afraid no one will reciprocate?  Go look at all the comments on the "received" page.  You'll get a sense of who is actively swapping.  Those people might be a good place to start.
  • Want to swap things other than postcards?  Reach out personally to other swappers and see if they are interested in a one-on-one trade.  Hey - I just had a good idea.  I think I need to add a place on this blog where people can post swap requests.  I wonder how I can do that?  I'm going to try and add something like that when I'm on vacation.
Money saving tip:
If you are one of those super-organized, super-productive, get everything done way before deadline kind of people, feel free to include multiple swaps in a single envelope.  Sometimes I get 2 or 3 different envelopes from the same person on the same day.  Some of you have told me you need to send separate envelopes for you own sanity, but as far as I'm concerned you are always welcome to put art from multiple swaps in one envelope.  (Just make sure the swap name is written on each postcard.   Most of the time it's pretty self-evident which cards go to which swap, but I don't rely on my addled brain to make correct assumptions.)


Go check this out right now.
I love it so much.


Okay, this is going off the rails a bit.
I have other random thoughts and questions and ideas, but I'm saving them up for another day.  A day in the near future, when the air smells like pine needles and my feet are pruney from the lake, an my sides ache from laughing so hard with my mother and sister and beloved niece.
Until then......


  1. Hi Karen! What a wonderful post. I love when you write to us all like this, I do feel like I have made friends here, and do think I would feel free to drop in on any one of you I I was in your neighborhood. Love that link you posted.

  2. How fun to hear you talk about what you go through with each swap and how you talk to yourself. I have a whole new appreciation of what you go through during a swap after looking at the video of the envelope swap - yikes! And Jake...what a cutie! Who knew tape and glue could be so attractive to a kitty? Thanks for all you do. Enjoy your vacation!!

  3. this is a wonderful juicy rich post, Karen. I am BEyond words grateful for MMSA, for your energy and inspiration to DO it and keep DOing it. oh what a couple of weeks in Maine sounds like from here in 115-degree AZ... NOT complaining, just saying. after the winter you all had it seems only fair we should have this going on.

    your kindness that had me receiving, and still receiving posties after my cancer diagnosis has been one more of the BEST EVER PARTS of having cancer!! I've been more hit and miss with a lot of my writing, especially responses, but then I find a space of time and Just DO It!!

    I never receive much in my mail, but I find something in there almost every time I check it from someone here. it has made me learn to appreciate connection more fully in the moment[s].

    I hope you have a laughable time and a good one, too. you are such a treasure. thanks for BEing YOU!!!