In this post I will be further examining my practise by looking at my fascination with post and postcards. In previous posts I have looked at other tools I use in my work such as Labels and Instagram.
I have always loved getting post! I sign up for as many catalogues as I can to feed my obsession. I wrote to the Queen when I was 11 and was overwhelmed by the beautiful gold stationery that housed the response. Furthermore, every Christmas I receive a parcel that excites me more than any other. It is from a friend in Japan. It amazes me how different the stationary is, the parcel is packaged, and the postal service labels are. Recently, I have been sorting through my massive postcard collection and have found that 148 x 105 mm or 5.8 x 4.1 inches (the standard size of a postcard) is perfect for so many things. Below, I will show some examples of postcards from my collection and postal experiments I have been trying.
I was introduced to the book “The Englishman Who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects” and the work of W. Reginald Bray during my foundation course. I read and began trying out some of his experiments for myself as a personal project.
“In 1898, Bray purchased a copy of the Post Office Guide, and began to study the regulations published quarterly by the British postal authorities. He discovered that the smallest item one could post was a bee, and the largest, an elephant. Intrigued, he decided to experiment with sending ordinary and strange objects through the post unwrapped, including a turnip, abowler hat, a bicycle pump, shirt cuffs, seaweed, a clothes brush, even a rabbit’s skull. He eventually posted his Irish terrier and himself (not together), earning him the name “The Human Letter.” He also mailed cards to challenging addressessome in the form of picture puzzles, others sent to ambiguous recipients at hard to reach destinationsall in the name of testing the deductive powers of the beleaguered postman.”
Examples of some of my successfully posted and yet unposted work can be found below.
I think I will continue to enjoy taking inspiration from Bray’s work. A few weeks ago, I discovered an artist who has a similar passion for testing the postal service. Examples of Harriet Russell’s work can be found below along with a surprisingly successful piece I created in Russell’s style and sent to Beckie. I am already planning my next challenge.
Postcards are the best form of affordable art! When I visit an exhibition that I especially love it is great to buy a postcard as a memento. I am slowly building up an ‘inspiration hoard’ to bring to university with me. This will mostly be made up of postcards from my favourite exhibitions. Below is an example of a book of postcards I bought at a recent Rembrandt exhibition and a postcard Beckie sent me when she went to the RA Summer Exhibition. I will send Beckie and other artist friends postcards I think will inspire them from exhibitions I see this year. It’s a fun way to keep in touch!
Over the years my family and I have been sent many postcards from friends and family who are on their holidays. Memorably from a 97 year old friend who recently made me very jealous with a postcard from the Northern Lights! We also continue to send holiday postcards ourselves. Some people wonder what the point is when we can easily send photos over the internet and often arrive home before the postcards. In one particularly memorable case my Aunty Gwyn received a postcard from a trip we went on to Rome a year after we posted it because of the notoriously slow Italian postal service. For reasons of nostalgia and the opportunity to have a handwritten note to show you are remembered by a loved one is reason enough to not let the holiday postcard die out. There are also some fun varieties to try out! When I was in Hungary this summer to test some fun variations I sent Beckie and my family a variety of different postcards:
the giant postcard (An A4 image that baffled the Hungarian postal workers and also doubled as a lovely souvenir as it can be easily displayed.)
the digital postcard ( A postcard created with the app Postsnap that allows you to use your own photos (as a photographer I love this!). It is then printed and sent. A lovely idea to make the postcard even more personal.)
the postcard coaster (Another souvenir/postcard. A beautiful illustrated coaster that can be addressed on the back.) Images below.
I love freebies! Some of my favourite postcards are those I have got for free. Examples are below.
Probably inspired by the above, I created a range of postcards recently for some Christmas events my church was hosting. They are the perfect size for an eye-catching advert! The front and backs of three of these postcards are shown below.
And finally, I would like to take the chance to reflect on mine and Beckie’s postal adventure! I have had such a lot of fun creating and receiving postcards. It has challenged me to be creative in so many ways. Our project was inspired by the work of artists Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec but has become so much more than just a ‘dear data’ experiment. Beckie’s infographic postcards (which can be found on this blog) have taught me so much about her. I am going to use them as inspiration for my infographic work. I hope we can continue to send each other postcards and stay in touch as we start our degrees. Below are some of the postcards and letters I sent to Beckie.