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Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Posts tagged "mailart"

The Graceful Envelope Contest

Time to submit your entries to the Graceful Envelope contest, one of the nicest mailart contests out there! Every year, they pick a theme for the submissions, and 2018's topic is simply the weather. 🌦

From their website:

There’s always something to say about the weather. From severe storms to sowing crops, to using the sun and wind for renewable energy, the weather affects everyone. Summon a brainstorm to capture what’s outside your window—or outside the box—and design a winning envelope!
The Graceful Envelope Contest

And if you think you don’t have a nice enough handwriting to participate – don’t fret! One judge on the contest’s 2011 edition revealed that they’re not simply looking for the best calligraphy or painter… in the end, what really matters is the winning combination of all elements in the envelope (ie, design, calligraphy and stamps) and how they work together to reflect the year’s theme.

The contest is open to entries from all around the world (as long as they are sent in by March 26th 2018) and there are separate categories for children too, so do encourage your little ones to give it a go!

You can read the contest rules and how to participate on the Washington Calligraphers Guild website, and check out some of the previous entries for inspiration on their Flickr page.

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Graceful Envelope Contest

Another year, another chance to participate on the Graceful Envelope Contest!

This year, the theme is “Pushing the envelope”, which is very exciting as it leaves room for all kinds of artistic interpretations. The organizers explain how this motto embraces two concepts at the heart of the contest:

The first meaning dares you to take your creativity beyond your comfort zone. “Push the envelope” and find new ways to use graphic design, hand lettering and postage stamps to enhance your entry. It may be a small canvas, but you are capable of big ideas.

The Graceful Envelope Contest also celebrates the significance of writing, sending and receiving letters. In this era of email, tweets and emojis, seeing a hand-addressed envelope in your mailbox can make any day special. So your entry should “push the envelope” in the sense of promoting the exchange of letters. Depict the joy of letter writing. Or salute an American tradition as old as the U.S. Constitution, which empowered Congress “to establish post offices and post roads."

One of the previous contest’s judges revealed that they’re not simply looking for the best calligraphy or painter… in the end, what really matters is the winning combination of all elements in the envelope (ie, design, calligraphy and stamps) and how they work together to reflect the year’s theme. The contest is open to entries from all around the world (as long as they arrive before March 27th 2017) and there are separate categories for children too, so do encourage your little ones to participate!

You can read the contest rules and how to participate on the Washington Calligraphers Guild website, and check out all of last year’s winners on their Flickr page for some inspiration.

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Have you ever heard of the Graceful Envelope Contest? Maybe you’ve seen some of these stunning envelopes before…

Graceful Envelope Contest — Linae Frei Graceful Envelope Contest — Cindy Rudolph Graceful Envelope Contest — Jeri Hobart Graceful Envelope Contest — Ruth Korch

The contest is held every year by the Washington (DC) Calligraphers Guild and open to worldwide entries. Participants of all ages are invited to use their calligraphy and artistic skills to interpret a given theme on an envelope, which is then mailed to the Guild. Bonus points for using stamps that fit the topic!

This year, the theme is Communication:

“Ever since Benjamin Franklin became America’s first Postmaster General, many of our most important messages arrived inside an envelope. Now your challenge is to design the outside of an envelope to highlight this—or any other—mode of communication. Your Graceful Envelope could honor the mail or the internet; the telegraph, telephone or television; person-to-person conversation or whatever kind of communication inspires your imagination.”
Graceful Envelope Contest — Leena Vierikko & Yukimi Annand

The deadline for 2016 is March 28th… so gather your stamps, envelopes and colouring pens, and give it a go! :)

You can read the contest rules and how to participate on the Washington Calligraphers Guild website, and check out some of the previous entries on their Flickr page. A big thank you scribefriend from bringing this wonderful contest to our attention!

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Making Mail, the movie about mail art that was started by a Kickstarted campaign last year, has just been released and you can watch it online! It’s one hour long, and filled with mailart loveliness and inspiration.

Don’t you feel like grabbing your crafty supplies and some old magazines to dress up that plain envelope? Go for it! :)

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The other day, while randomly browsing the internet for inspiration, I chanced upon this Tumblr, where I noticed all the beautifully decorated postcards… which upon further inspection, proved to be actual Postcrossing cards!

Look how pretty they are:

Amiko's postcards

My jaw dropped at all the detail on the back… from the stickers, to the decoration tapes, to the carefully chosen stamps… even the address labels and Postcard ID bubbles were pretty! :) After much oohing and aahing, I decided I had to get in touch – and luckily Amiko (aka amiko_h) who comes from Japan, kindly agreed to do a mini-interview about her art! :)

Here’s what she had to say:

Can you tell us a little bit about your decoration process? What inspires you? Where do you start?

Firstly I choose a postcard for the recipient after checking his/her favorite or wishlist. Then I pick up the main theme such as color or motif. Sometimes I connect the theme with the postcard image, sometimes I pick up the other motif from the recipient’s favorites, or sometimes I just connect the theme with the stamp I want to use at the time. At this selection phase, you should also remember your taste. Enjoy yourself. Actually I never use my dislikes.

Next I choose material from my collection, and try this or that combination on the card for the color and total layout including message area. Usually it takes me the most amount of time to fix the layout. When you have the feeling of interlocking pieces, go on to finish it!

Amiko's postcards
Which materials do you use to decorate your postcards?

Mainly I use washi tapes and ready-made stickers for my decoration. Sometimes I put in some cut-out from origami, my hand-made stickers, scraps from magazines and use my hand-carved rubber stamps. Of course, you should remember beautiful postal stamps! I am apt to buy on impulse those small material as well as postcards whenever I find them…

Amiko's postcards
What are the member’s reactions when they receive your postcards? Do they appreciate the extra effort?

There is either some appreciation or nothing. Half and half. But it doesn’t matter so much either way… I think the decoration is just decoration. And I myself enjoy the process more than anything! :)

I think the most important thing in Postcrossing and penpaling is a kind of hospitality. I always consider the recipient as my guests or friends I haven’t met yet. Without any decoration, people would be happy when they get warm message and consideration.

Happy Postcrossing!

And finally, can you show us your workstation… where the magic happens?
Amiko's work area

Thank you Amiko, that was lovely! Though now I’m sure I’ll have dreams of stickers and washi tapes…

Do you decorate your postcards too? Leave some tips on the comments – we’re always looking for inspiration! :)

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