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in the mailbox :: postcard swap

in the mailbox :: postcard swap

A million years ago, in the heyday of forums and blogging and before algorithms decided the internet for us, swaps were a regular part of my creative calendar. Dolls quilts, and charm squares, and The Creative Exchange, a Hogwarts house swap, mixed media canvases, even penpals and letters, along with our annual SNCA swap. I haven’t done a swap in forever, though. The original group as long since dispersed, the larger swaps fell off my radar, and between life getting busy and a few frustrating experiences, I stopped getting involved. I did the occasional small swap among friends, most notably the 12 Days swap at Christmas, but on the whole, I avoided open swaps.

Recently though, I came across a postcard swap on Instagram. Three postcards, no extras, no super involved requirements. Buy a postcard, jot down things that are making me smile, and pop them in the post. I could do that.

Well, in theory I could. In reality I have yet to meet a project I don’t want to overcraft, and so I decided I would make my postcards, customised to each recipient based on the info I had been given.

Card one (top left) was destined for Indonesia, and I was told the recipient’s favourite colour was emerald green, and they liked botanicals/flowers, vintage collage & seashells. For her card, I added a swipe of pthalo green paint and a couple of pieces of green gelli prints as a base, before adding a simple collage of vintage book page, some vintage style ephemera Car had gifted me at camp at one point (I think…), and a section of a delightful paper cut print I received in The Creative Exchange swap in 2015.

Card two (right) was heading across the ditch to New Zealand. My brief for this card was mustard/yellow/orange for the colours, and the recipient likes knitting, sewing, travel, books, blackberry tea, travel and veggie gardens. How did I do, do you think? A mix of backgrounds from a magazine, patterned paper from my scrap box and some gelli print to start with, and finishing with a layer of book page and a cute little spring onion photo.

Card three (bottom left) is US bound. This was the first card I made, with stacks of info provided by the recipient. Her favourite colours are yellow, green and blue, which I used to inspire my paper pull. She likes reading, and has recently gotten into bird watching which I used as the main feature of the card.

It wasn’t until I was finished that I realised I didn’t quite trust AusPost with unprotected artworks, so I ended up popping them in envelopes. To make up for technically breaking the swap rules (since I was only supposed to send just the postcard), I sealed them with a cute wax seal from a kit my mum had given me just before Christmas.

One card has arrived, I know that for sure. I haven’t heard about the NZ card, and the US recipient isn’t on instagram so I’m just trusting in USPS and hoping for the best. The Indonesian card only just arrived this week, so maybe the carrier pigeons are having a go slow?

It was fun to get back into a swap and connect with new folk. Less fun is the stress of waiting for them to arrive, and hoping they haven’t gotten lost, leaving my partner to think I’m a deadbeat swapper – as a swapper and as a one-time host, there’s nothing more disappointing than someone putting their heart and soul into a parcel and then not receiving anything in return. I’ve received two of my postcards, plus a bonus one from the organiser. Hopefully number three isn’t far away – the joys of international swapping!

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