Craft Book Review - Good Mail Day

Monday February 22, 2010,

Good Mail Day
A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art
by Jennie Henchcliff & Carolee Gilligan Wheeler
2009 Quarry Books
 “What is a good mail day?” A good mail day is a day when, instead of just bills, catalogs, and advertisements, your postal carrier delivers artful, beautiful, personal mail from friends and acquaintances all over the world. Mail art is a collaborative art form with a long and fascinating history populated by famous artists as well as everyday practitioners. The term “mail art” refers to pieces of art sent through the mail rather than displayed or sold in traditional venues. Mail artists often use inexpensive and recycled materials including postcards, collage, rubber stamps, and photocopied images. 

Mail art is a truly international activity and a fun way to connect with people in every corner of the globe. Readers will learn to create decorated and illustrated envelopes, faux postage and artistamps, find penpals, make a mail art kit, and much more! 

To be honest I had never even heard of this type of "craftiness" until I received this book for review. As I read and reviewed the book it really prompted me to think about the fact that due to how prolific email has become, the postal letter is all but dead.

I mean I'm not completely daft...I realize how much everybody emails each other day to day and that most people pays bills electronically. I just mean that the days of the pen pal, the old fashioned love letter and the "how are you doing" postal letters have pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur. It's one of those things that you know, but don't really think about that much...

It made me kind of depressed. Even to this very day if I see a envelope or package that is handwritten and addressed to me, I get excited! Seriously, does that ever get old? It's like Christmas, a present just for you that makes you feel good, all warm and fuzzy inside!

I had so much fun reading this book and looking at all the beautiful letters that you can create to send to someone you love or care for. Letters that are works of art! Its like sending a letter AND something they can frame all in one little letter!

Like the book states, Mail Art is something everyone can don't have to be an "artist" to have fun with the ideas in this book you just have to want to have fun and be open minded about what art really is and can be.

There are great instructions and ideas and pictures and practically every page. There is also the history of Mail Art and some basic Mail Art rules you should follow...for example:

"Every piece of mail art that comes into your mailbox should receive some sort of acknowledgment in return."

The book also includes a list of basics for the mail art beginner and where to find inspirations for your mail art projects. Do's and don'ts, the "what's up" on postage and Artistamps and a whole lot more!

This book has definitely inspired me to get a pen pal, or start sending mail art letters to people on their birthdays and special occasions in addition to that Hallmark card. Great for all levels of wanna-be artists (I say that because really, you are an artist if you think you are, right?) 

There are no actual projects in the book just plenty of inspirational pictures and some cool techniques to try. In addition there are also some blank postcards and stickers in the back of the book!

Review copy sent by publisher and donated to school library. 


La Coccinelle said...

This looks very cool! I might have to look for this one...

Jennie Hinchcliff said...

Darcy --

I just want to take a minute to thank you for your great review of "Good Mail Day"; as one of the authors, I am thrilled to hear that people are inspired and delighted by the "old fashioned" technology of creating mail art! The response Carolee and I have received for GMD has been incredible, heartwarming, and delightful. People love mail!

Again, many thanks. Have enjoyed looking through your blog -- keep up the good work!
In all thing postal,