Thursday, February 2, 2023

Sharon's card - and lovely response to my questions.

Here is the Uber-lovely card that came in the envelope I posted two days ago - by Sharon. I am also going to include a lovely email from Sharon. Back in Nov or Dec I started jabbering about including conversations that I had been having with people - and Sharon was one of them. I think I mentioned that these conversations would be coming up. So here is one --- 

You may review the Dec 15 blog post that she mentions HERE -- where I pondered how much time she has to devote to her envelopes. She kindly answered my questions in an email saying this:

In reply to your December 15, 2022 post, I can assure you I am a regular person with regular “obligations”! LOL!

After working full-time for 30+ years (25 in public service), in late 2019 I retired. I highly recommend it! LOL! If you figure that it takes at least 10 hours per day to get ready for work, get to work, do the work, and get home again, by signing retirement papers I freed up around 50 hours per week! What to fill it with? How about art?! (Not, of course, that I get all that freed-up time for art!)

I find I’m happy (happier? happiest!) when I do some art every day. I like daily calligraphy practice. Sometimes it’s Copperplate, Italic, Uncial, even architect’s printing with markers; often it’s only one page. But practicing daily keeps me improving.

So, the issue isn’t of how much time is spent, but a rather one of prioritizing.


1.      My goal in the exchange is to give recipients 30 seconds of enjoyment as they walk from their mailbox with my envelope to their stack of bills -- like Susan, Cathy, Rachael, Maggie, Janet, Jean, Leslie, Kate and many others do for me.

2.      While I appreciate that some exchangers make a different envelope for each recipient, everyone on my list gets the same envelope (see Short-Cut below).

3.      I can try new art techniques every month. I like that mail art is low risk; by that I mean nearly anything can be turned into an envelope. After retirement and before joining the exchange, I explored watercolor, which I find to be a tricky medium. But it did yield some envelopes. Earlier this year while recuperating from knee replacement surgery, I tried pen and ink, (which folded into my experience with Zentangle that I found 7 or 8 years ago). That technique yielded the August sunflower envelope, the September Giving Tree envelope, and the October Raven envelope. I find pen and ink so darn fun!

4.      Like fellow exchanger ChuckM, I ready envelopes for the next month, adding names and addresses once the list comes out. Sometimes “obligations” take up my time, so knowing the envelopes are mostly ready makes me happy.

5.      In the beginning, I worried that I wouldn’t find enough ideas to keep me going. Now I find the more I see others’ art and the more art I do, the more ideas that come to me.

6.      It’s fun! Who doesn’t like giving and getting pretty mail?!

SHORT-CUT: For my pen and ink envelopes (except for the sunflower envelopes which were all original), I start with an initial drawing, sometimes in pencil, sometimes in fine-line pen, and usually sized to an A7 envelope. I scan the drawing. I drop the image into a Word envelope document that’s the size of my envelopes. I feed envelopes through my printer and voila! I have a consistent start. All that’s left is finishing touches and addresses. Sometimes I add pen marks and sometimes watercolor (like on the raven) to give it a boost. I don’t have a robust photo editing program, so this is somewhat less successful for watercolor images. The colors look more flattened out than I’d like but I have used them on envelopes, too.

***(from Jean)

Thank you, Sharon, for taking time to write this. I can see that we have a very similar perspective and am guessing that several other people are nodding their heads in agreement. Maybe *everyone*? 




  1. Thank you, Jean, for posting my December envelope and card! The pointed pen card was a bit of stretch for me, but the push was worth it as I noticed an up-tick in my pen control. As always, thank you for your blog and the exchange. Having the structure of the monthly exchange and the exposure to other mail artists keeps me engaged in art. Sharon

  2. Except for the short cut and doing the same envelopes for everyone each month my process is very similar. I do them ahead, but enjoy diversity, so individual envelopes, and often I'm inspired by the stamp.