Self Designed Postage and Mail Art Envelopes with Notes

This is the stamp area from one of my Mail Art return envelopes or SASE – Self Addressed, Stamped Envelope.  It was part of the requirement for a group swap with a host. This particular swap in 2006 went through a Mail Art site called Nervousness (or Nness).  The swap itself was for five ATCs (Artist Trading Cards).  

Each participant or “player” who signed up for the swap sent in five ATCs to the host along with their SASE.  

The host swapped out each player’s ATCs into the SASEs of the other players.  Then the envelopes were sent back to a player via their own SASE.  That way each player received five ATCs from other players in return for their own ATCs and the host was not saddle with a lot of postage cost.

Swaps may involve as few as 2 or 3 players or as many as… well… how high do you want to go? 20? 30? Usually swaps have a top limit stated by the host – often this is 10 to 15 so it doesnt get to be too daunting a task to swap all the ATCs out. 

Nervousness is no longer an active Mail Art site.  The membership from that site has drifted in a number of directions including ATCs For All and a sister site Illustrated ATCs.

http://www.atcsforall.com/

http://www.illustratedatcs.com/

ATCs For All is open to everyone at all levels of ability and creativity and the sister site  Illustrated ATCs is a membership-by-jury site (to join you submit samples of your work).  

On my envelope I included a stamp that I had designed and then made into legal postage.  It’s the blue stamp. It is from a watercolor I did called Touching Stars.  

For the swap we were asked to add double postage to our SASEs to ensure envelopes returned without a postage problem. This is because some ATCs can be heavy when a lot of embellishment work is added. 

I like to add real stamps to my envelopes, both too a swap partner or host and on SASEs. This is because I like stamps, as do most Mail Art artists.  I like to collect stamps with the entire cancellation marks included.  Those marks are often as interesting as the stamps.  

Often I keep the entire envelope from a swap, sometimes just the stamp area however I’m careful to include the entire cancellation mark and a good portion of the envelope.  When I have duplicate stamps (the same stamp on two different envelopes) I sometimes use one of them as collage material on another ATC or in other artwork. 

Frequently Mail Art artists add notes to envelopes to help hosts keep track of what should go in the envelope or what should be coming when you receive the envelope.  On this envelope I did that as well.

The first line of my note means a 5 for 5 swap with an open theme (in other words each artist decides what they will make for their ATC).  Some swaps have a theme – such as a subject like Birds or maybe even more specifically Crows or Haiku, it might simply be a color for the theme such as Blue. The host will state this in the sign up call. 

The second line of my note means it’s an ATC swap and who the envelope belongs too (in this case my name as known on Nness was Wrick) and the site that the swap was going through – Nervousness. 

The “DO” in the upper left was added by the host – it said Do Not Bend.  I suspect this was added because I had folded the envelope so it could be placed in my original envelope that was sent to the host.  

When I open envelopes I often open them on the non-stamp end so I can make sure I keep the stamp area intact.  That is what I did with the above envelope. 

Two more mail art swap envelopes (prior to sending them so there are no cancellation marks – yet):

Both of these envelopes have been painted (on the backs there are drawings and more paint as well).  Each has a self made valid postage stamp – the yellow blossoms.  Each also has an embellishing stamp that I have made as well. 

Mail Art envelopes are fun to find in your mail box.  Not all are as elaborate as these – some are more elaborate of course too.  Some are very much like any other envelope. They all make it fun to go to your mail box though. Have fun. Aloha. 

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