If you are a fan of pretty mail then you probably know about Rin from Papered Thoughts. Rin takes bits and pieces of paper and turns them into the prettiest letters. If you do a quick search for mail art on Pinterest I can guarantee you plenty of her work will pop up. Aside from being crazy creative, she's also incredibly thoughtful and recently compiled a "Send More Mail" Directory to help others create and exchange their own lovely letters. Looking for a pen pal? That's the place you'll want to start.
Rin took some time to share how she started writing to her pen pals, advice for those new to mail art, and what she's up to next.
Please introduce yourself and your shop/blog, Papered Thoughts.
Hello! I am Rin - The girl behind paperedthoughts. I always find it so tricky talking about myself. I'd much prefer to hear your stories. I Have a whole collection of tales from people across the oceans. But I couldn't pass up an opportunity to interview with the ever lovely Xenia. So just the basics then - I Hail from the Beautiful Sydney, Australia and have seen enough of the world to know that i'm pretty lucky. I am a Preschool(Kindy) Teacher & (80% of the time) just adore children. My Spare time (time that I should be using to study/do chores) is taken up by a multitude of creative pursuits, my favourite of which is the lost art of letter writing. And thus paperedthoughts was born - a simple place to showcase what I love && to hopefully inspire you beautiful people to send some love across the oceans too!
Examples of your creative mail art are all over Pinterest. When did you begin sending pretty mail back and forth with pen pals around the world? What inspired you to start?
Sending Mail has always been a big part of my life. My Extended Family all live in England or New Zealand && when I was younger snail mail & the telephone were the only ways to communicate.. As the internet age grew a lot of my family got email, facebook etc. & it became quicker and easier to keep in touch. My Grandmother however never got on board & so she and I continued to exchange fortnightly letters up until last year when she passed. We were close & she was a big inspiration to me. When she passed she left me a lot of boxes of beautiful papery things, postcards, stamps, ephemera, journals, photos etc. - but the most beautiful, was a box stuffed full of love letters. Letters between her and her first and second husbands (both of whom I never got to meet), From her Father in England and from my Dad after he moved to Australia. They are one of my most treasured possessions.
I started pen-palling with strangers for a school project in 1999 & became hooked. I loved hearing & collecting other peoples stories - the seemingly mundane and boring truly fascinates me. My Discovery of Blogging & Mail Tag via Biance Jagoe of goodnight little spoon really changed my whole take on letter writing & instagram has provided such a wonderful way to connect to a community rife with inspiration & support.
Your work usually incorporates all different kinds of techniques and supplies. If you could only use 3 supplies for all of your future mail art, which 3 would you pick?
Oh you're killing me! I know instantly which three I'd choose - but the thought having to put away all the other amazing tools I have is.. unthinkable!
1. Fiskars Titanium Soft Grip Scissors - Honestly. Invest in a really good pair of scissors. It will make your creative life a hell of a lot easier.
2. Double Sided Tape - My Mum worked at a printing company which closed down so I have this stuff coming out my ears, but it really is my go-to adhesive.
3. Kikki K Everday Gel Pen - My favourite pen to write with & did you see all pretty designs!
4. Uni-ball Signo White - after much searching & even more trial and error. the greatest white pen in existence. ta-daa.
Where do you turn for inspiration when you find yourself in a creative rut?
Inspiration? that's easy - ever heard of pinterest? No, but really. There is an infinite amount of inspiration out there nowadays. The trick now is to not become overwhelmed. Stop comparing your style to everyone else's - grow and change, but keep doing you. "Comparison is the thief of joy" - I found this out the hard way, some days you need to put away the computers and smart phones and tablets and get back to basics. spread everything out in front of you & start creating. you'll be surprised where it'll take you.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to find a pen pal and start sending their own mail art?
Funny you should mention that :) Last week I created the "Send More Mail" Directory a tool designed for those who are seeking new pen pals, a little inspiration or just a place to get lost in a whole bunch of pretty for a while.
Beyond that I have 3 simple rules I follow.
1. Always include a Return Address - Simple yes, But It's the worst when you get such a pretty letter & have no way to respond!
2. Be Interested & Interesting! Mail Tag is a fantastic way to get to know someone without the boring 20 questions. I've created a Mail Tag Guide here.
3. Stop Worrying. I get so many people asking me How I keep on top of my mail, or how I respond to everyone at once. The truth is simple - I don't. Sure I reply to every letter I receive but I'm not sitting here day in day out stressing & cramming & worrying & frantically writing, been there - done that. I learnt very quickly that you can't make it a chore - it's got to be something you love or you'll burn out. Some weeks I won't write a thing, simply because I have no time or am lacking inspiration. Let it come naturally & it'll be good for your soul.
Any future plans in works for Papered Thoughts, either your shop and/or blog?
I am so excited for my Summer Holidays. I have some big plans for Papered Thoughts - one i'd like to give you a sneak peak of now :) "&& A Happy New Year" - A Letter Exchange Project. Filled with positivity, bright colours, love & light. It's going to be brilliant.
[Note: Rin just shared a few more details about this new project and opened it up for sign ups! Head over here to learn more and sign up for a partner!]
Inspired yet? Be sure to leave any comments or questions for Rin here, and see more of her work all around the web: