Monday, May 17, 2010

Going Postal

Ever since I was a kid, I've loved everything dealing with the mail.  I lived in an apartment growing up, and we had this shiny metal mail "box" that you needed a key to get into. (The mailman also needed a key to put mail in).  I loved it.  I remember feeling very important when my mom finally let me get the mail all by myself (I was probably about 8 - I was so little, I couldn't reach the mailbox!).

We very rarely went to the post office so when we did have to, it was an outing (for me, anyway).  Whenever we went, it always seemed busy.  We didn't have a post office in our area, which is a village that was incorporated into the city of Green Bay.  So when we did go, it was usually on a trip downtown, which was a big deal.

Because of my love of anything miniature, it makes perfect sense why I would love postal ephemera.  Anything that is of importance on a letter has to fit in a pretty tight spot, especially these days when there are so many rules (keep the bottom 1/2 inch open for bar codes, stamps must be placed right side up, etc.).

I had a pen pal for about three weeks when I was in third or fourth grade.  I believe it was set up either through our grade school, or our church; I can't remember which.  While it was interesting to hear of another girl's culture (German), what I REALLY loved were the stamps and envelopes.  It was thrilling to see foreign mail, addressed to l'il ol' me, in our mail box.

And as you can see from the photo (above), I still love any sort of label, stamp, postmark, envelope, etc., especially vintage stuff.  Companies used to take the time to make souvenirs; now, it's just cheap postcards.  I especially love the "Matson Lines" envelope (above) and those funky air mail labels, both official and unofficial.  It just added a nice touch to the letter.

And, like most of the items I collect, I also love using this stuff in my artwork.  Here are a few examples of postal items in a different setting:

See what I mean about these labels and stamps being works of art in and of themselves?  Besides the feel and history behind them, it's the reason why I love working with them so much - it's functional design!

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