Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Random Acts of Mail Art Kindness - part 3

Today's random act of mail art kindness deserves a post of its own.
Joanne sent a “mail-art show in a bag” to someone from her city who is serving a mission in South Korea. She sent me a wonderful narrative of her project in words and pictures.  Enjoy!


Nicole Naatjes (Sister Naatjes) is 20-year-old young woman from our local congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). She is on a break from college to be a volunteer missionary for18 months. She lives in a South Korean neighborhood, and is learning to speak and read Korean, while sharing our religious beliefs with others. She’s also eating lots of authentic food such as pig intestines, pigs’ feet, kimchi, and seaweed.
Since Sister Naatjes has asked for snail mail from home, and since she might be homesick sometimes, I decided to send her some mail art, full of uplifting quotes and artwork. I suspect that there’s enough for her there to curate a rotating-but-nevertheless-mini art show in her apartment, providing an endless exhibit for her three roommates, as she changes what’s on display. Either that, or she can play a very short, very uninteresting game of APC “Go Fish, while doing her laundry each week. (Just kidding on both. She’s no doubt plenty busy with other things, but I suppose she could what I suggested, if she wanted to.)
Below: Sister Naatjes is on the left. Sister King, her current missionary companion, is on the right) 

Sister Naatjes on a South Korean street. (These two photos from Nicole’s missionary blog, http://, reposted with permission of Nicole’s mother) 

Here are the contents of the “mail-art show in a bag,” spread out on the table: 

I started by making four altered playing cards (APCs). The muted collage elements, along with the inspirational quotes, came from a coffee table book with Asian designs. I was going for a clean, zen-like look: 

I decided to make a “frame” for the cards to travel in. You can’t see it here, but the top layer of this collage is a plastic baseball card sleeve that I trimmed to fit. 

Here the three cards are slid into their pockets, with the fourth in process of going in: 

All four cards will now be kept separate and jostle-free during travel: 

I turned the APC frame over and painted a watercolor, inspirational piece, this being the largest painting (6” x 9”) in her collection: 

In the “random act of kindness” spirit, I included two blank mail art postcards for her to pass along, so that she can join in the fun. She’ll have to write the message on the back in Korean, but it’s exciting to know that these cards will be a good-will international message.
It was a bit challenging to come up with a design that could be understood visually, but I hope my two contrasting fishies encourage people to look on the bright side, rather than be like “grumpy fish” in his rainy day “glums.” The idea of fish thinking about suns and umbrellas added a touch of whimsy to these mixed-media cards. 

Then I wrote Nicole a letter. I used another page from the Asian book as a “wrapper,” and attached the letter to it with yarn. She’ll lift the top page up to read the letter, as it continues onto the back side:

I included a note (the light blue paper “cummerbund”) explaining the “random act of kindness” postcards that she is to give away: 

Then folded the letter wrapper in half with the fish postcards slipped inside. Once folded, I stuck her mailing information to the outside of the wrapper. 

I used a 4-mil plastic, zippered bag for the outer envelope, which made the contents “peek-a- boo” visible, and allow the postal people between here and there to enjoy the art show, too. Here’s the back of the zippered envelope, showing the APCs, which is what people en route can see: 

And here’s the front of it, at mailing: one art show in a sealed bag, stamped, hand-cancelled, and much less expensive to mail than I had feared. 


TinaW said...


FarStarr said...

Wonderful! I'm sure you'll hear her squeal all the way from South Korea!

karenm said...

Oh, how absolutely wonderful and inspirational! Such a fantastic and happy treasure!

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