The eagle-eyed among you (and those who follow Kathy on Instagram) have noticed that we released three new Initiative Response tasks with matching badges. Perform your task, earn your badge, get embarrassed while explaining what "Fruit Relocation" is to people. It's totally fun.
Initiative Response projects are only available through the member shop. Remember to log-in before clicking the link above.
Heads up, mail lovers! The U.S.P.S. rates are going up on May 31st to be in effect on June 1st. Regular letters are still going to be 49 cents to mail (unless it's metered mail, in which case, it'll be up a half a cent to 48.5 cents). Postcards are going up by one penny to 35 cents. The "Additional Ounce" rate is increasing to 22 cents.
My human need for round numbers wishes they'd just have gone to 50 cents for letters too, but whatever. I'm sure there's a reason they didn't that is wound around in postal regulations about increases and stuff that I just haven't the patience for. The best part is that new stamp rates mean new stamps. LOTS. OF. NEW. STAMPS. And really nice ones. I'm really excited to show them off here.
As part of Atlas Obscura Day 2015, we are hosting open typing sessions at the L.W.A. Clubhouse. Your ticket includes free supplies and typewriter time. I'll be on hand to answer questions, troubleshoot cranky machines and make pithy comments. Come join me and type a letter or two! You do have to purchase a ticket for this event. The proceeds help support Atlas Obscura and keep us in postage stamps. Space is limited as the studio is about the size of a postage stamp as well. Hope to see some of you in the Clubhouse!
So these stamps are out, or are scheduled to come out very shortly. Sorry that I can't get all that excited about them because snooooooooooooooze. Mind you, I'm not saying these aren't important subjects. They certainly are and they deserve to be on stamps, but boy are they boring. The Medal of Honor stamps get a pass because they are part of a series that all look like that (and can arguably be used to quite a striking effect.) I hope some of you like them, but they really don't do it for me.
The Missing Post Office was created by artist Saya Kubota as a part of the Setouchi Art Festival in 2013. Housed in an actual disused post office and staffed by the artist and a retired postal director, Missing Post Office has many of the hallmarks of an actual post office. There are uniforms and familiar symbols. The central piece of the post office is the "Drifting P.O. Box" which houses messages on post cards which can be read by any visitor. The messages may be written to anyone or thing. The artist compares it to writing messages in bottles, but instead of releasing them into the ocean, the Missing Post Office will keep those messages safe until they find their proper readers via serendipity. It is a curious system, but touching and thoughtful. I especially liked this story about the postcards addressed to Kota. The Missing Post Office is still open. You can submit messages (in postcard form only) to the project at:
Missing Post Office (Hyoryu Yubinkyoku) 〒769-1108 Hyoryu Yubinkyoku Dome Awashima 1317-2, Takuma Town, Mitoyo City, Kagawa Prefecture
When I last visited the Stamp King, he was in the middle of hosting a big meeting. Fortunately, my friend Katy and I arrived right at the break so we were able to look at stamps without interrupting things too terribly. Turns out the meeting was for COMPEX, an upcoming stamp show.
I have never been to a stamp show, but Katy and I made plans to attend this one. I will, of course, bring you all on a virtual trip after, but should you be in the area, here is the pertinent information.
Show Location: Forest View Educational Center 2121 S. Goebbert Road Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Show Dates and Times: May 22-24, 2015; 10am-6pm Fri, Sat; 10am-4pm Sun.
Admission to the show and parking are free! More money to spend on stamps! Since the theme this year is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the first chocolate made in America, I'm hoping to see thesestamps in person, maybe even get to sniff them!
This is your last minute reminder that Sunday is Mother's Day in the United States. Didn't get a gift or a card? Don't panic. Write your mom a letter and mail it today. I also like to write my friends who are moms around this time too. It's a fun way to reconnect if life has gotten in the way of letter writing.
P.S. A funny story about the boxes above. I had to take them to the counter because they are over 13 ounces. The clerks were very impressed that the stamps worked so well the decorations; then they stuck bar codes all over them. Oh the madness of mail art.
We had a blast at our social on Sunday, May 3rd. It was a real treat having a full house at the studio as well as our online participation. If you missed it, feel free to recreate it by watching the video on our YouTube page. Be warned, I have OPINIONS about stamps.
We have another social coming up later this month. This will be an in-person social at Uncle Art Gallery on Thursday, May 28th at 7PM. What's more, the gallery is holding a mail art call for a display that evening. If you can't come in person, why not send yourself in letter form? Send them to: Olivia Arrow, PO Box 47023, Chicago, IL 60647
All submissions will be accepted so long as they arrive by the 28th. They will not be returned. In summation, come write letters, come see letters. It'll be fun!
Thanks to a tip from L.W.A. member Anna, I learned of the Leicester City Arts & Museums Service project to post letters written by Captain John David Hills from World War 1. They are transcribed from journals kept by his mother from that time and annotated as well. He wrote as often as he could, often multiple times a day, using whatever materials he had. The blog publishes the letters 100 years to the day after they were written. The letters span from 1915 - 1918 and Captain Hills also wrote a book which can be read online as well. Thanks for sharing Anna! Remember to share your letter writing news with us via comment, a letter or electronic mailing!
In this era of instantaneous communication, a handwritten letter is a rare and wondrous item. The Letter Writers Alliance is dedicated to preserving this art form. Prepare your pen and paper, moisten your tongue, and get ready to write more letters!
May 28th (Thursday)
Chicago, IL Letter Social
Uncle Art Gallery 7-9pm 1359 N Maplewood Ave
Join us and our typewriters to write some letters together. We will have mail art supplies, stationery, and a few of our old-fangled typing machines available for your use. Free!
May 30th (Saturday)
Chicago, IL OBSCURA DAY 2015
L.W.A. Clubhouse Several time slots available
Enjoy exclusive access to the Letter Writers Alliance Club House in celebration of Obscura Day. You'll see the inner sanctum of operations for the letter writing organization and have an opportunity to write letters and postcards using vintage typewriters.
Your ticket includes free supplies and typewriter time. Donovan, the Letter Writers Alliance typewriter expert, will be on hand to answer questions, troubleshoot cranky machines and make pithy comments. Come join us and type a letter or two!
Tickets: $5 Purchase options available soon!
June 6th (Saturday)
Chicago, IL Postcard Party
606 Opening Celebration, 10am-6pm
Humboldt Blvd between Cortland & Wabansia
Write some postcards and explore the new Bloomingdale Trail with us. Free!
June 7th (Sunday)
Chicago, IL Mix & Mailology
L.W.A. Clubhouse 3:30-5pm
Old Fashions and Wax Seals, two old-timey things we love. Learn the secrets of mixing an excellent Old Fashion and making the perfect wax impression on your envelopes. We will also have other wax-like experiments for your mail art pleasure. Our solutions, both alcoholic and artistic, will surprise you. All materials, including liquid forms, will be provided.
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July 12th (Sunday)
World-Wide L.W.A. Book Club
Join Kathy, Donovan, and a special guest Margaret Haas (of Paper Pastries) via live video while we discuss Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. Discussion and further info can be found on the Goodreads book group page. Event Page
The L.W.A. was established in 2007 by Kathy Zadrozny & Donovan Beeson. These two ladies manage every aspect of the Alliance, from design, to packing orders, to maintaining the website. The L.W.A. is a labor of love and we are happy you have joined us in sharing a love for letters.