ETA January 2021: Easing back in with some ATC/handmade postcard swaps. This year I want to focus more on making art and writing letters and less on assembling packages. Also, I'm trying to organize/destash.
HANDMADE POSTCARDS: I love them! I keep them in a small album to flip through, so I prefer 4x6" if possible. Slightly smaller is ok, especially for altered vintage PCs (even if the swap says minimum 4x6). Larger ones often get stuck in a box and not enjoyed as often. :-(
ATCs: I keep mine in protectors in a binder, so please feel free to send them in a paper sleeve or just tucked into something protective even if the swap days it require a plastic sleeve. I love them all - layered, not layered, stamped, hand-drawn/painted, collaged, stitched!
EXTRAS: I rate based on the swap. Please don't feel you need to send extras - I am up to my ears in craft supplies and really don't need more, especially commercial supplies. Profile-based vintage or handmade supplies are lovely and I appreciate them, but it is 150% ok not to include anything but the swap. I do always appreciate a card or note, but again, I will rate based on the swap.
GLITTER: Moving this to the top since people keep sending me glittery things. Please, please avoid it if you can. If you're into shiny, I have no problem with metallic or shimmer - I just don't like how glitter gets everywhere, and it's not my favorite look, either.
I'm Melissa, and I live in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., where I grew up although I've spent most of the past few decades years in Colorado (~11 years) and Europe (2 years). My main hobbies are nature photography and mail art, although I also dabble in art that doesn’t get mailed. I’ve tried a lot of techniques, but my favorite media are probably pen and watercolor/watercolor pencils. I love collage, but it’s very challenging for me.
Since I’ve self-employed, my schedule is irregular and swings unpredictably on short notice between slow and overwhelming.
I'm absolutely obsessed with nature - most of my aesthetic tastes revolve around plants and animals, and I love learning about ecology and biology. I like almost all animals, including insects, sharks, and other unpopular critters, and honestly, if you want to tell me about leeches, that's cool (they freak me out, but they are objectively interesting).
I like doing profile-based swaps because I find parameters are a fun challenge for my creativity, whether it’s trying to make something to themes someone likes or using a particular technique or material. If you don't receive a swap from me, please message me so I can try to figure out what happened and resolve it. I rate as soon as I receive unless I'm away from home, so if I haven't rated and you're concerned, drop me a message.
My favorite things about the mail art community are a) meeting different people around the world and learning about their lives and interests (I generally prefer low-postage flat international swaps), b) challenging myself to make art and try new things, and c) getting bits of other people's art and style in my mailbox!
*Go to the theatre - plays, musicals, operetta, occasionally opera
*Poke through secondhand shops, garage sales, library sales, etc. for vintage craft supplies and old field guides. I especially love SCRAP PDX, my local secondhand craft/art supply shop.
*Make art, but not as much as I should.
*Postcards, notecards, or letters with something about the subject or your day or where you live or an interest of yours. I love thoughtful notes and letters! Please don't worry about your English. You can also write to me in German or Hungarian if you want, and I can probably get through Russian and Spanish still with a dictionary. For postcards, I strongly prefer naked, written (or doodled/stamp collaged, if you like doing that), and stamped, unless you don't trust your postal system with naked cards or the swap calls for unused postcards. I like all types of postcards.
*Vintage natural history/science ephemera, including book/magazine cutouts and pages. I love old illustrated (not photo) field guides and like the info along with the drawing. Modern nature and science stuff is cool, too!
*Nature in general! Some favorites: botanical illustration of wildflowers and carnivorous plants, insects/spiders (especially dragonflies, damselflies, and beetles), marine invertebrates (nudibranchs, anemones, octopuses, anything you'd find in a tidepool), sharks and rays, wombats, birds (especially crows/ravens and herons), salamanders and newts. But honestly, I like almost everything, and have friends who like the rest, so you really can't go wrong.
*Historical things, especially ancient world/medieval/Renaissance (any country).
*Anything with art by 16th/17th century artist Joris Hoefnagel - I have some notecards and a temporary tattoo (!), but I'm always on the lookout for other things.
*Other artists I like: Ernst Haeckel, Maria Sibylla Merian, other scientific illustration, Mucha and Art Nouveau in general. I love Marjolein Bastein's nature art, especially her lettersets. I'd love to learn about your favorite artists!
*I have waaaay too many stickers, but I do love those vintage gummed flower and bird labels, Dennison labels, and airmail stickers.etiquettes (unused, soaked off paper, or still on paper - I collect them and use them in crafts).
*I am also pretty much drowning in washi tape at this point, with one exception: I'm always on the lookout for insect-themed washi. If the swap does call for washi samples, solid colors/geometric patterns are another thing I don't have a lot of.
*Postage stamps. I both collect and craft with stamps and am badly behind on organizing. I always enjoy nice stamps on postcards and envelopes!
*Vintage and vintage-style travel ephemera (airmail etiquettes, luggage labels, bits of maps, etc.)
*Hand-decorated paper (stamped, block- or gelli-printed, cyanotype, etc.).
*Nature-themed rubber stamps and stamped images, particularly very small stamps, vintage-engraving-style, and hand-carved stamps.
*A little something from your city or town is always fun - a postcard, a used transit ticket, a transit map, other bits of ephemera.
*I love handmade cards and mail art! Handmade supplies like cutouts, stamped images (colored or uncolored), and homemade stickers are also cool. I love making and collecting ATCs - it's exciting to see all the techniques everyone uses and try out new things. While I mostly go for vintage aesthetics and nature themes in my own crafting, I love seeing other people's styles.
*Shakespeare (my favorite plays are Julius Caesar, Richard III, Twelfth Night, and Romeo and Juliet). I love theatre in general, especially musical theatre and operetta.
*Architecture of any country, especially historical and environmental design
*Vintage book pages in non-English languages; field guide pages, vintage dictionary/encyclopedia/textbook pages.
*Handmade/found craft supplies - I'm really into recycling/altered art these days. Cutout images, pages, tickets, vintage gummed labels, vintage greeting cards/postcards, handmade embellishments...etc.
*I'm trying to get more into drinking tea besides masala chai, so I'm interested in trying fruity teas (black, white, green, some herbal), green teas, or oolong/"Chinese restaurant teas". I love hibiscus, but I also require caffeine...plain black tea doesn't seem to be my thing, and I'm not a fan of mint or chamomile. My current favorite is Twinings Mango Lychee Green Tea, which has only those ingredients and tastes really fruity and not artificial.
*Colors: jewel tones, dark or muted colors, pastels, gold and silver, fall color palettes...anything but neon or glitter. I especially like blue, green, and dark red/maroon/burgundy. Not a huge fan of pink.
I'm trying to direct my crafting impulses into flat things I can mail to people, so in general, flat crafts. My current favorites to make are
-Traveler's notebook inserts
Techniques I enjoy most include
-Pen and ink
I am currently obsessed with die cutting.
I'm excited to receive art in any medium!
Mostly SF/fantasy/historical fiction.
Imperial Radch trilogy (Ann Leckie), Familias Regnant series (Elizabeth Moon), Good Omens (Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett), Discworld series (Pratchett), Les Miserables (Victor Hugo). Almost everything by Rosemary Sutcliff. I'm reading Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series right now and love it.
Currently in a science fiction mood (for TV/movies as well - original trilogy Star Wars is one of my all-time favorites, and I also love Deep Space Nine). The Mandalorian has been catering pretty hard to my Star Wars interests (worldbuilding and cable-knit sweaters!).
*New Year's (Gregorian calendar version, but totally cool with other New Year traditions as well)
*U.S. Thanksgiving as a food and friends day
*Generic winter holiday greetings are also fine
*My favorite season is fall! Colorful leaves, mist, moody weather, really nice waterfalls, wrapping up all cozy...mmm.
*I'm really not into Christmas or other holiday aesthetics - I'm fine with seasonal nature/weather stuff, like snow, cardinals, pumpkins, etc., but not really into Santa, Valentine's hearts, holiday ornaments, cornucopias, etc., or anything symbolizing religious aspects of holidays. I'm not offended by it, I just have zero use for it, so it's probably better to make someone else's day. :-)
*Glittery items (it gets EVERYWHERE). Please, please don't send me glitter if you can avoid it.
*Religious or political-themed mail or craft supplies (exception: architectural postcards of churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, etc. are fine! I also don't object to hearing about your holidays or celebrations, I'm just not comfortable discussing religious topics with people I don't know well).
*Flags and patriotic-themed stuff - I don't have any use for it (I do like fireworks, but don't mail them to me, haha).
*Seeds or plant materials from Hawai'i or outside the U.S. (generally forbidden by U.S. Customs).
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