Review: Good Mail Day

Innovative, bright ways to re-invent your junk mail and build relationships via the old-fashioned art of correspondence wait for you in this book. Gone are the days of the pony express, sadly. Yet we humans still loiter around the mailbox, rallying our hopes if the postal worker’s bundle looks interesting. If I received any of the resourceful and occasionally stutter-inducing missives pictured in Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art, I’d probably give Phillip a hug. I’m not sure he would like it, but there it is. Mail as an art outlet is definitely the kind of mail you want to receive.

Enter this book. Authors Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler cover almost everything you might wish to know about paper salvaging and minimal skill, down-and-dirty crafting, leading into hardcore artistry. Included are tips for careful mailing, postal regulations that might affect your creative boundaries, guides for building envelopes and keeping your delivery person happy, even some starter postcards and “mailing seals” (I call ’em stickers) in the back. Those newly pondering a stamp-based relationship can even find a pen pal and kick-start a friendship by post, all within the bounds of this book.

Good Mail Day offers a scrapbook-style design, brightly-lighted photographs, scads of information and backstory, and puffy clouds of space to let the ideas drift straight off the page and into your brain. In back, a gallery by name, but, really, it’s a museum of shiny ideas that didn’t quite make it into the how-to section. Don’t be frightened if there are umpteen things you want to make immediately.

What’s fantastic about the book is how simple the ingredients are for such complex, memorable mail. Around 95% of the materials are free, gleaned from old cards, labels, catalogs, anything made of paper and then other things as well. Think of the book as a jumping-off point, portable inspiration for a lifetime of postal interchange. A primer indeed.

Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art
Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler
Quarry Books, Softcover, September 2009
$19.99

View the book for sale at Barnes & Noble

(Original review posted here )