Two of my favorite things in the same place: mail and art. Kinda like peanut butter and chocolate! (Another of life’s staples!)
What I understand of the beginnings of mail art is that it was a sort of a cultural movement that began in the 1960‘s. It is know by a few other names such as postal art or correspondence art. Whatever you call it, mailart is the sending of art through the mail, and especially the making of your mail to be art. It is a way to send some sunshine through the great network of the postal system, a means for artists to share their work, or also a unique system of communication that allows for everyone to share ideas in their unique voice.
Thanks to the internet, it is easier to connect with others who enjoy the sending and receiving of mailart. There are loads of groups and websites that help facilitate the process of artists finding each other. Also, folks can easily put out a call to get movement of mailart of certain themes or types of mail. (For example, you can ask for submissions of handmade postcards that are individual interpretations of “life” or “feelings”. Often these collections are placed on public displays or in private galleries. Want to see more? Check out some of these great sites:
Mailart can be made from many things. One of my favorites is to turn the envelopes from bills inside out and then decorate the “new” envelope.
Many inexpensive options are to reuse junk mail envelopes, book pages, maps, posters, and packaging. Old magazines provide countless ideas of things to be cut out and altered. Use up scrapbook paper, ephemera, travel guides, advertisements. The sky is the limit!
Of course, drawing and painting are fantastic ways to share talents. (Not my strong suit, but I try.)
One of my favorite forms of mailart would be the use of zentangles. Here are some postcards that I created by using a stack of blank cards that I found at a garage sale.
Sharpies give the “L” it’s color, and “P” was further decorated with water color pencils and a water brush.
Mailart can be a political statement, the mailing of something unusual (i.e. The Letter Writer’s Alliance “Pigeon Mail.”), or just the up-cycling of everyday junk. It is certainly a great way to relax at the end of a long day.
By beginning this way, I moved to creating my own postcards using all of the above methods.
Long story short: jump in, have fun, and share the love!
‘Till next time, Bonnie.