Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Generosity of Strangers

During the year I was in Costa Rica I didn't have a dependable way to  send or receive mail. So for that year I didn't participate in mail art activities. Things like mail art calls and sending mail to friends and strangers in the mail art community were put on hold until I could find a way to get my mail. Unfortunately, this meant that I was out of the loop. Many mailart calls passed me by and friends I had corresponded with for years, had nowhere to send things to, so I wasn't on their lists anymore. This is a sad condition for a diehard mailart and lover of letters to find themselves in!

   Upon my return to the states, even before I was moved into my house or had my art stuff unpacked, I got a POB and started trying to make connections with my old mail art community. Sadly, some of them have disappeared and others have moved on. I was afraid that mailart had suddenly disappeared during my time out of the "real" world, (my Costa Rican life being a departure from reality as I had known it...). But then I came across  the IUOMA social network on Ning,, in an internet search on mailart. Eureka!! There in the roll of mail artists from all over the world were the names and addresses of several mailart buddies and much to my joy, a whole lot of other people I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting yet! Be still my beating heart! I was very happy to find out that there are still mail artists in this world and that mailart itself has broadened and deepened in character. There are really some talented and original artists that are participating in filling mailboxes with snail mail goodness!

    After a life time of being on the move, I know that being the new kid on the block can be painful and lonely ...trying to find or make a niche to fit into can be a daunting endeavor. Not so in the mail art community. The basic principles of mail art revolve around reaching out to a bigger world and touching the lives of strangers. I spent hours pouring over the pages of the IUOMA, reconnecting with old friends and making some new ones.   Below are two examples of the generosity of strangers, both of which have recently graced my mail box. Their simple act of sharing something of themselves has done a lot to make me feel like I have come home.

This lovely mail art came from Ahmet Demir. It is four envelopes that when placed in a quad, make the whole picture of an owl. On each envelope there is a part of the owl and a composition of interesting artistamps and actual postage. What an fun idea and so well done!

This is the unfolded outside of the mailart sent by Grant. The background is a page from on old stamp collectors album. The outside is decorated with various stamps that hint at the "otherworldly" contents on the inside of the envelope.

The Altered Fishman is a very unique and fanciful image that Grant designed for his July mailart mail outs.

Thanks to both of you for making my mail box an interesting and happy place!


  1. These are lovely! How wonderful is it that you were able to re-connect with your old friends through IUOMA! And what a great site! I've only just got back into snail mail and have been having a go at a little mail art myself, it's lovely to see a whole mass of Mail artists, and listed all in one place too!

    Would it be ok for me to send you a letter?

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  3. I would be delighted to have a letter from you! My addy is: Elle Mental
    POB 535
    Waxhaw, NC

    I would be glad to send you a letter as well, if you would e-mail me your snail mail addy to:
    See you in the mail!

  4. The "quad" envelopes of the owl is outstanding! I've never seen anything like that before.