a peek inside the fishbowl

04 Sep, 2014

The thing about mail

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Mail art|Easy ways to make kids happy|Oh! Things!

Collections.

I wrote a short piece about postcard collecting in the September issue of Capital Parent Newspaper and I wanted to jot down a few more words here.

Many moons ago I spent a long stretch of time, years, really, creating and sharing various forms of mail art. (I’ve written about it before and I was going to link to archived posts but I just realized many of them are studded with broken images, and what’s a post about art without images?)

All you need to know is there many websites out there that exist for people to display, share, and trade their artwork, and I was part of it for a long time until the drive to create left me. I don’t know why it happened, but I liken it to a bug, or a virus. I caught the bug, and within a couple of years it was out of my system, and I couldn’t do anything to bring it back.

I miss those days. The girls were small then, and they did a lot of stuff alongside me (printmaking, painting, sketching, pasting etc.). When I was working on a series they’d work on theirs too. It was a very rich and creative time for me.

It all began with postcards, a website called PostcardX, which is now defunct. PostcardX was all about mail – sending and receiving. It was like Christmas every time I opened my mailbox. You sign up for a free account, list your mailing address, and wait. Receiving postcards was fun, but so was sending them. Choosing a postcard, picking a special stamp, writing the text, adding doodles, and finally, saying goodbye as you drop it into the mailbox and sending it on its way… knowing it would be gratefully received by a recipient on the other end.

Well, our mailbox has been a lonely place for the last few years so I thought it was time to do something about it. I did a bit of research and joined a website called Postcrossing. It’s been a hoot so far. The kids seem to get a kick out of it too.

There’s so much to love about postcard collecting. I love picking out the card and postage stamps, and learning about where and how other people live. I get penmanship practice (this may sound lame, but it’s true) and it’s also an exercise in patience. And here’s the best thing: our mailbox has been a lot more fun lately.

The snapshot at the top of this post is from one that found its way to me from Finland. Isn’t it cute?

I’ve been taping my postcards on the wall with pretty washi tape. I only have six so far. I know that six postcards doesn’t exactly make a collection, but it will get bigger with time. :)

 


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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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