Sunday Salon: Art in the Mail

One thing I do when I’m not reading or blogging about reading is make and exchange mail art with people around the world.

Since I don’t have a review to post today, I thought I’d post pictures of some (mail)art I have received lately.


Most mail art is collage based, mixed media stuff.  Some include calligraphy and various stamps.   img_1514

Sometimes the envelope is the art, sometime the art is inside the envelope.


People use lots of stickers and stamps.  Some even make their own stamps since you can do that now.


I post my own art along with the art I receive at the International Union of Mail Artists website.


I started doing this many years ago and have been doing it off and on ever since.  Usually I make a batch of ten to fifteen cards based on a set of materials I’ve found somewhere.  My last batch featured cards from an old Monopoly game.


I like to include drawings or miniature paintings on my cards, though I’m not very good at either.  Since they are mail art, typically postcard size or smaller, you can get away with not being all that much of an artist.  Though many, many people who make mail art are very good artists.img_1519

I also like to see what I can get away with mailing, so I’m always attaching things to the art I make, not to jamb up the postal machines, but to give the folks at the post office something different to talk about during their lunch breaks.


And if something never makes it past the post office, I figure the people there deserve some art in their day as much, if not more, than the rest of us do.


Only, very rarely, do I get something returned to me as undeliverable.  I figure I can keep those.  I’ve got a pretty good stack of artwork I’ve received that I keep in a box above the flood line in my basement.


Sometimes, I pick out places I want to visit and mail art to them. Sometimes I pick out places that have done something I like and send them art.  I sent several cards to random people in France last summer, for example.


I probably get one piece of artwork back for every four I send, which is a pretty good rate of return. I always send artwork to people who send me something.  But it’s not about getting artwork as far as I’m concerned, it’s about making it. If you’re someone who makes something, no matter what it is, that should be your motto.  Making it is what no counts, not selling it or getting lots of thanks for it.

Making it is the means and the end.

3 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Art in the Mail

  1. This looks like more than great dun. I signed up to the sit eto have a look. I love post card art and making journals. There is a lot of post card art in publoc places around Hobart that is free to take and aistribute and would be fun to tey my own hand at it. I enjoy making collages from some Scandinavian magazine pieces I subscribe to.

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