Some of you might know that one of my other jobs besides the L.W.A. is being a part of Challengers Comics + Conversation, an award-winning comic shop in Chicago. This Saturday is a big day for a lot of comic shops because it's Free Comic Book Day. You read that right, FREE. We mean it. Lots of shops participate and all you have to do is visit and make a selection from the number of special Free Comic Book Day books. In honor of this weekend's festivities, here's a cool tutorial I found about turning comic books into envelopes. Enjoy, and if you can, try out your local comic shop tomorrow. Even if you hate the book, you'll have some cool looking mail art supply for free.
Despite my growing collection of collections, I am forced to admit that I cannot have ALL OF THE THINGS! One of those collections I don't collect is color First Day of Issue cancellations. There are a number of goodies one can acquire to commemorate the release of a stamp: the stamp(s) itself, promotional material for the stamp, and First Day of Issue cancellations available in black or, recently, in "digital color." Digital color cancellations began in 2005 and cost a little more to procure than the regular black ink issue. This feature provides artists with another opportunity to celebrate the subject of the stamp. I enjoyed this recent article from the U.S.P.S. stamps blog which talks with some digital color cancellation designers about their work. Do you collect color cancellations? Do you collect cancellations at all?
Attention all letter lovers in the Los Angeles area, the legendary Pen Pal Club has been resurrected! Formerly held at Reform School, Pen Pal Club will now be held in downtown LA at the studio of Paper Pastries. You must RSVP at this link to attend! Join them on Thursday, April 23, anytime between 5:30–8PM. They'll provide complimentary supplies and snacks, and also have additional stationery items available for purchase. More information about parking and studio access can be found here. This is a great opportunity to write letters in a wonderland environment. Seriously, Paper Pastries is like stationery heaven, as you can see from their Instagram photo above. Do go if you can, and send our regards!
The U.S.P.S. Stamps blog introduced me to lettering artist Erik Marinovich and his Do Not Open envelopes project. He creates one-of-a-kind hand-addressed envelopes for a fee. Customers submit the address and he uses his lettering skills and artistry to turn a bubble mailer into treasure instead of the typical trash. I love more than I can really express. What a great way to make the mundane into magic. That is one of the real powers of mail, in my opinion- the reinsertion of wonder into the world. You can hear an interview with Erik about the project here. Great work!
It's that time again! Let's all get together via the Internet and write some mail with one another, to one another, for one another! The Virtual Social will last the whole day of May 3rd with a Live Video happening at 3pm Cental. You can participate all day long with #LWASocial on Twitter or Instagram.
If you can't join us for the Live Video, you can create your own Virtual Social by watching the recording on YouTube. Either way, we hope we can share a day of letter writing with you.
Remember, there are some free commemorative downloads for virtual socials (and other fun stationery too) in our Downloads section. Members have access to even more downloads. Be sure to log-in so you see the full roster of goodies. See you on the Internet!
Kathy's Time Zone Calculations for the Live Video We chose random cities that some of member's reside in to get a good spread of time differences. Please verify with your own time zone if your city isn't listed.
(NZDT) Aukland, New Zealand: Monday, May 4thth at 10am (MSK) Moscow, Russia: Midnight of May 3rd (going to Monday the 4th) (GMT) London, England: 9pm (PST) Portland, OR, USA: 1pm
Recently, I received an electronic missive from L.W.A. member Joan C. She had just seen an article that mentioned the "Smallest Post Office", a 40 square foot structure once on Lilac Road in Valley Center, CA. She grew up right near there and thought it was neat.
The claim gave me pause. I thought that the Smallest Post Office was Ochopee Post Office in Florida. Turns out, the tiny Everglades P.O. is the smallest post office in current operation. The one from California was decommissioned in 1912. The building, all 40 square feet of it, now resides in the Valley Center History Museum.
Thanks for the fun research project, Joan, and the history lesson!
P.S. The Bridal Veil Post Office is also quite small, but at 140 square feet, it is almost double the size of the one in Ochopee.
Dear Data is a project between two pen pals that catalogs various aspects of their lives into themed graphic charts that they send to one another through the mail. Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec map their similarities and differences of experience via creative chart creation and then mail them to each other. It's a brilliant project. You can view their weekly deliveries here. What an interesting new solution to the "What do I say to my pen pal" conundrum. A special thanks to my friend and pen pal, Katy K., for the tip off about this project.
Stamps! Stamps! Stamps! Lots of stamps are coming out right now. Yesterday saw the release of a stamp honoring Maya Angelou. I am so conflicted with this stamp. I love Maya Angelou and her smile is divine, but the design of this stamp is so boring to me. I suppose it fits the typical portrait style of U.S.P.S. stamps, but I wanted something more from it. To me, it lacks in poetry, in a metaphorical sense; as it does literally contain a line of poetry. The dreamer in me wishes there was some sort of scannable code aspect to it where you could hear audio of Maya Angelou reading her work. Her voice is like an all-encompassing hug.
For the war stamp fans, there's a new edition in the Civil War set. This two stamp set includes a stamp for the Battle of Five Forks and the Appomattox Courthouse. It is the final installment in the 150th Anniversary commemorative series. These stamps will be officially issued on April 9th.
At the end of this stamp release parade on Friday, April 10th, the Gifts of Friendship stamps come out. This issue celebrates the friendship between the U.S. and Japan and features cherry blossoms and dogwood trees. Excitingly, the sheet contains 10 U.S.P.S. designed stamps and 2 Japan Post designed stamps. I like these a lot, but find it strange to have a stamp featuring cherry blossoms and Washington D.C. monuments again so soon. It feels like a recycling of the Cherry Blossom Centennial stamp from 2012.
Boy, I have a lot of opinions about stamps. What are your opinions? Please share in the comments!
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.