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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pen, Envelopes, Stamps... Real Mail!

Toile La La correspondence - Real Mail.
Inspired by Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art (Jennie Hinchcliff / Carolee Gilligan Wheeler) - I've renewed correspondence with E, a college friend.  Off and on for many years we've exchanged letters - agreeing that email lacks the wonder and excitement of real mail.  Real mail is capable of offering the same captivating qualities of a good book or an intriguing painting.  

Receiving a real letter lets you know someone cares enough to make an effort to entertain, amuse, or delight you.

When I'm ready to write a letter, I like to assemble supplies:  odd or colorful postage, magazine pages, photographs, rubber stamps and ink, stickers - light a nicely-scented candle or sit near an open window with a fresh breeze and then allow my thoughts to flow.

In the photos above, you'll see my husband's harmonicas near the letter-writing supplies.  The Van Gogh card and the Eiffel tower card were sent by E.  (Her Van Gogh card with sky-bound birds prompted me to attach bird stickers to E's next letter.  The birds also made good mustaches for some sticker people from Bullett magazine.)  

After she sent me photographs of flowers she grows in her garden - along with a picture of a chicken, I carefully cut out the chicken and decorated its wing with a bouquet of her flowers - then glued it to E's envelope.  

I like her method of using creatively-illustrated pages from her London Review of Books as stationery.  Books are an affinity E and I share.  A keen paper versus digital observation recently from E:

"With the  popularity of the eReader I've been wondering about what it means to own a book.  I'm such a book lover... the feel and smell and look.... oh ... just to possess the book.  But an E book... what do you own.. my conclusion is that all you own is an idea.  The idea of the book.  The book just exists out there in the netherverse. Intangible. "
E introduced to me the word "netherverse" - which came to her out of the ether, heavens, thin air... stratosphere, collective creative consciousness.

I have enjoyed decorating her letters with stickers found in Bullett magazine's Spring 2012 issue and some Assume Vivid Astro Focus stickers from the coloring book Between the Lines.

The important and historic look of wax seals is something I appreciate, but the cost of the metal stamps can be quite high - so it was nice to discover my own do-it-yourself version of a wax seal stamp.  A crayon melted for just a minute or so over the flame of a small scented candle provides the seal wax.  The do-it-yourself seal stamp is a metal button with a high-relief design.  I slid a toothpick into the shank of the small button, then gently pressed it into the wax after the wax became slightly warm and opaque.  It is a good idea to practice making a nice, round, penny or dime-size dollop of wax before applying it to a stamped envelope and to practice just gently pressing the stamp against the warm wax.  (The postman explained wax seals require a bit of extra postage.)

For E's next letter, I'm thinking about making a 5-senses snail mail:  one to appeal to the visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory, and tactile faculties.  In the last photo above, you'll notice an exploration of this idea with the Constant Comment tea envelope - which contains not tea inside, but a letter... which ideally absorbed the pleasant spiced orange scent.