The Post educational center at Artek has hosted a series of mail art workshops, where ordinary postal envelopes and stamps turned into unique artwork.
The participants learned that a stamp can be more than postage, it can be a means of visual expression, and the postmark can be used to create an ornament. They were genuinely surprised that a postcard could be made from any improvised materials, such as a magnolia leaf or a bag of chips. The children learned how to make a real work of art from newspaper clippings, an envelope and a postmark.
The children mailed their pieces to parents or friends. Some of them sent their letters to other Artek camps and even to medical wards to cheer the patients up.
This is the second year such workshops are being held at Artek as part of a “postal” session. Last year, inspired by the mail art workshop, a girl from Camp Morskoi mailed to a friend in Kalmykia a magnolia leaf with a stamp sewn to it with thread. The leaf flew to the city of Elista in a week.
Mail art is a kind of modern fine art that uses postage stamps and other postal materials as graphic objects. Envelopes can be decorated with drawings in conventional techniques or collages, a hand-painted postmark or standard stamps. When going through the mail, these works of art are often supplemented by one more important element – the postmark, making the postal service an involuntary collaborator in the creative process.