Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sample Activities from the Creative Correspondence Summer Art Inquiry Resource Guide


Have you ever mailed a letter to yourself? While obsessing over creative acts of correspondence, we discovered the book Envelopes by Harriet Russell which details “a puzzling journey through the royal mail.” The sender mailed himself a series of packages in which the address was disguised through riddles, comics, and puzzles. One package was addressed with a hand-drawn map offering directions, rather than a written address. We were inspired by this idea of coded correspondence and wrote letters that hid what we actually wanted to say. Try it! Write a letter that hides what you want to say through a code that you design yourself.


Faux is a French word for false or fake. When manufacturing faux objects, attempt to create products which resemble the imitated items as closely as possible. There are many different approaches you can take to making faux mail.

You can create a piece of mail you wish to get. Maybe it’s a financial aid award letter from your favorite college choice, or a love letter from a certain someone. Actually send this faux mail to yourself through the postal service, to your home address.

Or create mail for fictional characters such as Harry Potter, Hamlet or Hannah Montana. Consider mailing letters to ideas like world peace or the North Pole. When you send mail to these places, you’ll need to create a fictional address. Since the recipient is not really going to open the mail you are sending, your audience becomes postal workers.

Consider keeping the fictional mail rather than sending it off and create fictional responses. For inspiration, look at the Griffin and Sabine series by Nick Bantock. These books share imaginary correspondence between two soul mates through removable letters and postcards.


Another faux mail project idea is to spoof junk mail. Collect a sample of at least ten pieces of junk mail and notice the similarities in design and text. What do addresses look like? How is junk mail signed or personalized? What are the kinds of fonts used? Using these trends in junk mail, create your own authentic-looking, fake junk mail! Send pieces to friends in the mail, and see if they can detect the illusion.

One of our favorite ways to declare war on junk mail was using magazine subscription cards as a platform for free postage. Find a magazine and look for the many inserts inside. Tear them out and draw/paint/college on them. Turn them into a mini canvas. Then mail these artworks send them in the mail. For a demonstration, view the how to video here.


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