Snail Mail Art Exchange


I recently came across my envelope of hand printed postcards which reminds me I wanted to share with you my experience participating in a print exchange.  Every April the Iowa State University’ Print Society conducts a Postcard Print Exchange. I heard about the event through a professor who had participated in the past. To participate you must make 13 editionable prints and mail them individually to the university so they have postage markings of their travel. The university then keeps one print for their collection and mixes up the rest to send back 12 random prints to each participant. My affinity for handmade things and snail mail  really intrigued me to participate. Also they provide a theme each year that can be loosely interpreted to give you some inspiration, this year’s was Temptation.

I noticed in their requirements that postcards had to be 4×6 or could be folded down to the size 4×6. Of course I wanted to make something that folded because it seemed like the more fun option. At the time I was learning the process of Lithography. That experience is another story in itself; in short the litho process it is not for the light hearted. Despite the challenge I was determined to create a litho printed postcard and it turned out to be one of my most successful litho prints to date. I really got engaged in my idea and the process of the exchange. Since I only used black ink I hand stitched red thread throughout to add a bit of color and tie the imagery together as the postcard is opened. When I took them to the post office to be weighed the postcard was as heavy as most wedding invitations on rigid paper are so they each got a wedding cake stamp before being sent off. I thought it was an amusing detail. I just wish I could have followed them to where they were sent. A dozen strangers now have my artwork.  I received my package of prints in late May made by people nationwide and a couple Korea.  It was a cool to see what others made and overall I enjoyed being a part of the exchange and hope to do it again in the future. I encourage everyone to keep an eye out for the prospectus next year. I had fun and went a bit overboard on mine, but you can also send a simple print.

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