Good Mail Day

A watercolor painting by Corey Hoffman

Guess what? Rain is softly coming down in Seattle. Whoo whoo! After weeks of wildfires in the West and polluted air in our skies, I’ve never been so happy to see the clouds releasing the moisture and cleaning the air. It gives me hope and appreciation of little things that are often overlooked- like opening a window, a walk to the park, decompressing after a long day with some exercise. 

There are silver linings that emerge when life is hard and stressful, and one thing for me has been listening to music. We always jam to something fun when doing the dishes (usually the blues show on KNKX-88.5). There is pop music in the car (dance like nobody’s watching), and in my studio as life felt stifling and stale, I was taken on an empathetic, musical high by Seattle local music station KEXP at 90.3 Seriously, good medicine all around. 

One of the things that I learned while listening to KEXP was that Tuesday, September 22, 2020 is officially “Good Mail Day” at the station and in support and appreciation of the US Postal Service, the station is requesting that listeners from around the world send them musical requests on postcards…hmmm, I said, arty postcards…let’s do it. 

Ok, Green Garage Art Studio followers, this one is an easy one. I’m going to post KEXP’s info here- follow the link to learn more, but the bottom line is that, the post office has been played the puppet by politicians. To show the appreciation for the post office and your love of snail mail, mail your handmade cards to:

KEXP Good Mail Day

472 1st Ave North

Seattle, WA 98109

https://kexp.org/mail/

Handmade postcard from my friend, Beth Landau

You wonder will the postcard make it there in time? Will the post office be so overwhelmed that they won’t be able to deliver all the musical requests? Well according to the tenet of the USPS and its historical predecessor, The Pony Express, “The mail must go through.” Even if it doesn’t make it to the station in time for Tuesday’s official “Good Mail Day”, they will still be thrilled to receive your note. Nothing like going to the mailbox and finding a handmade card!

I think my request might have to be Gene Kelly’s “Singing in the Rain”.

Materials:

For a postcard: heavyweight paper or thin cardboard from cereal box (3.5 x 5 inches to 4.25 x 6 inches is standard postcard sizes) or…if you’d prefer, you can just use regular paper and standard first-class envelope)

Postage Stamp

Art making materials to decorate your postcard or letter

Procedure:

Think of a song that you’d like hear on the radio.

Write a letter or postcard to KEXP requesting that song.

If you are making a postcard, be sure to save half the paper for the address

Decorate your postcard…it can be an illustration of your song, abstract drawing, collage, photograph, etc.

Put a stamp on the postcard or envelope and put it in a mailbox or give it directly to your mailperson and say thank you!

Listen on Tuesday, September 22 to FM 90.3 to hear listeners requests…maybe your song will get airplay.

Snail Mail

I see our postman now with a mask and gloves that he wears along with his blue/grey uniform. He’s an essential worker. Always has been, but now, as we crave communication with friends and family, the postal workers during this time of social distancing and emotional highs and lows are heroes. They carry our letters, bring us packages. They deliver treasures.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much a letter received means to me. I’ve also been thinking about how much it means to send them too. A little story for you…my mom who lives in Memphis, Tennessee (“too long a way from Seattle”) used to tell me how her grandmother would say, “You write me a letter, and I will make sure you get one in return.” Now, she does that with my kids. She sends them newsy stories about trying to learn how to play chess, suggestions for activities and sometimes, just little reminders that although we are far away from each other, she is always thinking about us. The girls race to door to see if a letter might be for them! She is continuing the story that her grandmother began, the girls have to respond to her letter first and send one off to Memphis before another treasure will arrive. In this age, when we communicate so much with our phones and computers, it is nice to have something to hold in our hands, and they treasure these notes.

This week we decided to make our own postcards and send them to friends and family. The postcard format is easy and quick. We made our own template, decorated the front, wrote a quick update on the back, added the address and stamp and left them in our outgoing mail slot for the postman.

We all worked with different themes. Being a photographer, I use my camera as a journal, so I found a few fun images and created some mixed media designs. One with a stencil and colored pencils, adding an image transfer on top to create a colorful print. The second postcard I made using a photograph was printed small and framed with washi tape and stamped a title. The girls used a variety of media: One decided to create three postcards using markers. She combined words and images to make sweet notes that she mailed to schoolmates. Another drew colored pencils a dreamy scene from a photo that a friend had recently texted to me. Her note went to the aforementioned grandmother! And my oldest, created postcards with a graphic bent…using just pencil to sketch and then a fine tipped black Sharpie. 

Ok, so here’s how what you need:

Heavyweight paper such as mixed media paper, watercolor paper, or cardstock (If you only have copy paper, that will do. Just cut 2 pieces 4 x 6 inches and glue to a piece of lightweight cardboard) You need a heavier weight paper so that make it through the mail system without getting torn.

Postcard template or trim your paper to standard postcard size: 4” x 6”. Leave one side blank for your artwork. Template link below:

https://1drv.ms/w/s!AuzSUkokH6WXgUxznCkVKGtIJNPs

Snail mail address

Stamps

Materials that you might use for designing front of postcard: colored pencils, photos, washi tape, glue, markers, fine liners. If you are using heavy stock paper, watercolors would be nice.

After you’ve designed your card, write a note, find a stamp and leave it in your mailbox.

Parents of younger kids: you might offer a drawing prompt to get the designs flowing. Sometimes a little suggestion is all that is needed. 

Another idea: practice your cursive writing on your note (I bet your grandmother will notice!)

Also, if you are interested in learning how to do a photo image transfer, you will need Mod Podge or an acrylic medium and an ink jet or laser print of the photograph. There are great resources on the web to walk you through this process.