Mail Art Happiness

My mailbox has been very happy lately! Here are a few of the wonders sent by pen pals and Postcrossing friends. First, a marvelous creation by mail artist Sally Wassink. On the outside: “Burn on completion” and “2016” stamped in red, and Sally’s “Wurlitzerworld January 1, 2016” postmark.Sally Wassink

Inside: a handy pocket calendar for 2016 and matches to burn it at year’s end (I won’t!)

Sally Wassink

With the bottom stapled, it folds and tucks just like a matchbook. Ingenious!

Sally Wassink

Judy Staroscik, a mail art pen pal I met through IOUMA (the International Union for Mail-Artists), sends me intricate handmade artist trading cards and other gems. Judy’s latest, a small card and ATC that she made on an art tour to England last year:Judy Staroscik

Carrie, a Postcrosser from Minnesota,made me a gorgeous stamp-art postcard with an inspiring message for the new year. The stalk / flowers on the right are embossed with gold ink.


LadyOla, a Postcrosser from Belarus, was sweet to note from my profile that I adore triangle stamps! She used this one on my postcard — it looks like a fragment of a tapestry, doesn’t it?

Triangle stamp from Belarus

Ceejay, another treasured pen pal I met through Postcrossing, sends me her own beautiful photo cards with wonderful gifts tucked inside, often precious triangle stamps she finds for me!

Triangle stamps

And last but not least – a Postcrosser from the Netherlands made me this extra-special card with sequins, real lace, and a pop-up cuppa tea and flowers!

Handmade card

Curious about Postcrossing? Click this link. And this is my Postcrossing profile

Have you sent or received any mail art lately? I hope your mailbox has many happy days in 2016, both outgoing and incoming!

Letters to Himself

If you love calligraphy and mail, envelope or lettering art, you have until October 11th to see the do-not-miss exhibit “Letters to Myself: The Calligraphic First Day Covers of Alan A. Blackman” at the Jewett Gallery on the lower floor of the San Francisco Public Library.
Alan Blackman

Alan Blackmanmaster calligrapher, letter artist, teacher and font designer, shows us 200 hand-decorated envelopes from his collection of a thousand which over 40 years he sent to himself and to his late son Stephen, to whom the exhibit is dedicated.


In the program Blackman explains that for the “first ten years most of my envelopes bore identical addresses [to myself and Stephen in] my italic & uncial handwriting.” Later he “began to use color more adventurously.” And gradually “the images on the stamps became the inspiration for the design of the lettering.”

Some illustrations are relatively simple – a US stamp honoring painter Mary Cassatt.
imageOthers deceptively simple – an achingly beautiful portrait of a swan rendered with a few deft strokes.


The envelopes, some grouped by theme, include first-day cover postage stamps from the US, Canada, Great Britain, and several other countries.wpid-20150828_124143small.jpg

The colors are glorious.

wpid-20150828_124529small.jpgAnd the artful rendition of the lettering, with such widely varied subjects as inspired by the stamps, is staggering in its creativity.wpid-20150828_163655small.jpg

wpid-20150828_124503small.jpgOn my second visit I was rewarded by a glimpse of the talented Mr. Blackman himself, deep in conversation with several admirers.
Alan Blackman

I’ve shown you just a few of my favorites, please go see them all for yourself. For non-locals, you can see the envelopes online at Mr. Blackman’s website.

And click here to read Sam Whiting’s excellent article and interview with Mr. Blackman in the San Francisco Chronicle.

A Merry Vintage Christmas!

You oughta know by now what Holiday Time O’ Year means on my blog! Without further ado, two of my favorite vintage postcards to celebrate Christmas.

Vintage Christmas postcard

In 1905 Ruth from Rhinebeck New York sent this beautiful embossed postcard, a harp adorned with holly and mistletoe, to “Miss Hattie Buck” of Weissport Pennsylvania. Following the instruction printed on the back of the card: “This side is exclusively for the address,” Ruth wrote nothing else.

Vintage Christmas postcard

The second postcard was never sent, so I can’t date it, but it has a timeless message. Our coy beauty in her lovely green gown says: “Christmas Greeting / Could I be there on Christmas Day / What I’d do — you know! / I’d see that I had my way / Under the mistletoe!”

Christmas stamp 1967

Finally, not nearly as old but equally fabulous, this Christmas stamp issued in 1967 was designed by Howard C. Mildner. The stamp shows part of the oil painting “Madonna and Child with Angels,” by Flemish artist Hans Memling. I’m smitten with the Art Nouveau typeface.

You can see my Christmas vintage postcard blog post from last year here.  And here is my 2012 post.

Happy Holidays to you!!