TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL MAIL ART EXCHANGE:
It’s a sad thing when you put a ton of time and effort into creating your art for a swap and you don’t get something in return. Our hosts are diligent about getting all the art back out in the mail to new owners, but sometimes postal mishaps occur and items get lost in the mail. There are several things YOU, the artist, can do to prevent this:
- Put proper postage on your postcards before you send them to your host. If you’re going to use a postcard stamp (currently $.34) you card must not be larger than 6" x 4+1/4”. This is important - please don’t just estimate this. Get out your ruler and measure your card. If it’s bigger than 6" x 4+1/4” you need a “forever” stamp ($.49) Insufficient postage is a short road to the dead letter office. Make sure your mail is deliverable and take the extra moment to measure your card size. (And if your card isn’t a rectangle -if it’s square or round or another funky shape - you’re going to need $.70 postage.) You can find all the US postage rules and a handy postal calculator here: http://postcalc.usps.gov/ When in doubt, add more postage!
- It’s incredibly helpful if you put your return address on the cards you create. That way, should there be a postal mishap, your card will come back to you instead of being lost and undeliverable.
- Your host will send these postcards to their new homes “naked” (without an envelope unless you specify and include an SASE) so make sure they are not too thick or lumpy and make sure everything is glued down securely.
- Include address labels in the envelope you send to your host– these will be used to mail your new cards to you. This way your host does not have to read your handwritten address and write it on the cards (increasing the possibility of an address error). Plus, it saves your host a ton of time.
- If you are creating more than one piece of art, insert a piece of parchment paper (or waxed paper, etc.) in between the pieces before mailing them to your host so they don't stick together. Anything made with paint, glue or sealant has a tendency to stick together - especially in the warm humid months.
- It's really helpful if you write "MMSA" and the theme of the swap on the message section of your postcard (or back of your ATC or other work) so that the receiver knows why they are receiving this. If you are an active mail artist or swapper, it can be confusing to keep track of your incoming mail.