This is a project in celebration of Harriet Russell, a British illustrator whose mail art puzzles are collected in the book Envelopes: A Puzzling Journey Through the Royal Mail. You can see some examples of her envelopes here. Over a period of years, Harriet put the Royal Mail to the test by sending puzzle envelopes. The sorting office/postmen had to solve her puzzles, in order to decipher the address, in order to deliver the letters. Fun! I’m sure the postal service was cursing her ;-). Well maybe it brightened an otherwise dull day for some of them. The puzzles range from colour blindness tests to crosswords to a hand-drawn map to join-the-dots to pictograms to conversations (and more). The key, apparently, is to make both the house number and postcode easy to find – the rest of the address is pretty much filler (in the UK, at least).
Are you feeling inspired? It’s time to get creative! You can emulate one of Harriet’s puzzles (tailored to the different address, of course) or your can create something entirely new. The only limitations are making sure that the house number and postcode are clearly stated (somewhere) on the card. Feel free to add any notes on the back of the card about the inspiration for your puzzle, or anything else you would like to say about the project. (Postcard shown above/right submitted by Betsy Preston, April/May 2010.)
So, how does the TangleCrafts Puzzled Postcards Project work, then?
It’s a simple 5 stage process:
- Add a comment to this blog post, stating your interest in taking part. I will send you a private email with my postal address. Please do not post your own address details here on the blog!
- Create some form of puzzle out of my address, address your postcard, and send it to me.
- Drop me a quick email to let me know the date your postcard was mailed.
- I will email you to confirm receipt of your Puzzled Postcard.
- From each batch of Puzzled Postcards I receive, I will create a mini-zine showcasing a selection of those received so far. You will receive a free copy of the mini-zine featuring your postcard.
The finer details:
- You will need to include sender’s name on the postcard, so that I know whose genius to credit ;-), but please do not put your return address on the card (don’t want to give the P.O. an easy get-out clause, or any opportunity for confusion over which is the delivery address).
- Please scan/photograph your Puzzled Postcard before posting. If I have not received it a month after mailing, I will email you & request that you email the pic to me.
- If your postcard fails to reach me, but you have emailed the pre-posted image, I will still include it in a mini-zine as ‘one that got away’, and you will still receive your free copy.
At an unspecified future date, I will collate all the Puzzled Postcards I have received over the period of the project, and create a more in-depth record of the entire project. I will contact everyone whose work is included, by email, to let them know once it is available. By participating in this project, you agree to your artwork being reproduced in a mini-zine, and also any future publications regarding this project. You will receive a complimentary copy of the mini-zine featuring your work as a thank you for your contribution.
This project is for Puzzled Postcards rather than envelopes quite simply because a postcard requires less paper and is therefore better for the environment.