mail art contest

Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me first give you background on Postal Art, Correspondent Art, or what we are calling Mail Art.

vintage mail art

At a very basic level, Mail Art is a small artful work sent through the postal service. As long as the postal service has been in service, you can find evidence of correspondent mail art. And, while considered unintentional, some examples date back to the 1890’s. Envelopes penned with notations, extra ink denoting a love note, landscape or seaside scribble from an oceanic journey, mathematical tributes or elaborate address corrections — these mail treatments paved the way to a world of artful correspondence.

Later artists began adding flourishes of ink, accents of color, or a collage of papers. Stamps became more common place, adding dimension to the expression sent through the mail. While no official name was given to those varietal, unintentional, tattooed letters of the early years, later artful letters coined the term, Mail Art.

[Image via A Polar Bear’s Tale Ink illustration sent from Kingston to Whitstable in 1896]

From the early 1950’s through to the 1980’s there were several movements featuring elements of correspondence — envelopes, zines, postcards and more — which brought voice to art and the artist. From the famous artist to us ordinary folk, this means of expression is open to anyone who has the means to send something through the mail.

mail art[Image via Simpatico Home White ink illustrations on dark paper]

Now, we’re encouraging customers to rekindle their love of Mail Art with our Mail Art Contest. If you have a fist for lettering or knack with paper, then we want to see your best Mail Art. Enter our Mail Art Contest for a chance to win a $100 Paper Source Gift Card. Drop your correspondence in the mail by August 31, 2013 and help us bring light to this underground art form.

For entry details, visit our Mail Art Contest page.

For Mail Art inspiration, visit our Mail Art Pinterest Board.

Or, for a hands on approach to Mail Art, contact your local store to find out about upcoming Mail Art Workshops or to schedule a private party dedicated to correspondence!


– Linda, Head of Paper Source Workshops
PS colors: chartreuse & peacock
Latest fave: Academic Great Big Calendar


4 Responses

  1. Vicki Smith says:

    Such a wonderful, fun idea!

  2. LOVE mail art, I used to send quite a bit a few yrs ago when I was in an online handcarved stamp group – you’ve inspired me to jump in on this, good luck everyone!!

  3. I love sending and receiving real mail too! I hope this contest inspires people to send more correspondence!

  4. This is incredible! I’ve previously crafted some mail that would probably qualify as mail art, but I had no idea this was a legitimate art form. Thank you – I feel genuinely inspired to create more.