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Pocket Letters

May 21, 2017

I am absolutely dumbfounded that nearly a whole month has passed since my last entry.

A lot has happened in that time, including the very unfortunate event of the Pocket Letter Pals website going from being free and wonderful, to paid and substantially less wonderful.

Pocket letters, for anyone who is unfamiliar, are basically a coordinated/themed set of 9 ATC’s (Art Trading Cards) held within a 3×3 trading card page. The backs of the pockets often contain “goodies” which are various bits of crafty things for the person that you’ve made the pocket letter for to enjoy.

The “Letter” part of pocket letters comes from the practice of including an actual, hand written letter inside one of the pockets. So a pocket letter really combines 3 things… ATC trading, craft supply trading and penpalling. Then then everything is stuffed into an appropriately sized envelope, and posted out to the intended recipient.

3 birds…. 1 strange and wonderful pocketed stone.

The idea behind them originally was that  you try to keep the whole ensemble as flat as possible in order to cut down on postage, however many people, including myself, get carried away and our envelopes end up fairly lumpy!

There are a lot of different ways to interpret and assemble a pocket letter. Some people choose not to include a letter at all, (BLASPHEMY!) and others will choose to send the letter outside of the pocket letter because they want to write more than can be folded and stuffed into a tiny pocket.  A pocket letter doesn’t have to be 9 pockets either. Another popular size is a “mini” which is only 3 pockets.

There are even pocket letter enthusiasts who choose to forgo sending the “goodies” out with their letter, however I’ve never received a pocket letter that did not include these extras. I actually really enjoy including them in the pocket letters that I send to others. Goodies don’t even have to be crafty supplies. They can be things that you’ve made, unused postage, gift cards, coupons, bags of tea, packets of cocoa little bags of candy or flat chocolate bars. The only rule is that they must fit in the pocket…. BUT, if you really want to, you can break the rule and just stuff larger things that you want to send out inside the envelope before you send it out!

Since discovering pocket letters in September 2016 I’ve participated in about 12-ish swaps. Sometimes the theme translates easily into a pocket letter, and other times it’s a real struggle for me to get it to look the way that I’d like it to. Mostly I do enjoy the challenge even though a single pocket letter will typically take 1-3 weeks for me to complete.

As a member of PLP I did not join many “events”, however I was often lurking in the gallery, admiring the work of others and now that I’ve been forced out (since the site has become paid) I really do miss the lurking. I found a lot of inspiration in the work of other crafters, and though there are many places to check out pocket letters online, PLP really was the best place that I’d found.

Though I did choose not to pay to remain with PLP, I did keep the people that I was regularly trading with which was a big bonus, so I’ll still be making pocket letters for a while yet!

To fill the hole it left in my crafty life I’ve rejoined an art trading card site that I was active in about 6 years ago called Art Cards For All. I’ve still got many art cards which I traded for as a member of that site, and now that I’ve got more experience in different ways of creating cards I’m keen to try them out in that community again. Since my old account was deleted I will need to build my reputation again, which is a bit of a drag, but it’s not the end of the world!

I also still have a handful of penpals which I did not meet through PLP that I regularly correspond with and who I also do some art/craft exchanges with, so I’ve still got a creative network that I am very happy with. There are so many ways to immerse yourself in mail art if you know where to find the people who share your creative interests.

Since my PLP gallery is now essentially inaccessible, I’ve made a gallery at the end of this post. Going forward I’ll be using Instagram a lot more for my crafty things! (stuwaha)

 

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One Comment
  1. This sounds really cool. Sucks the site started charging though.

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