IMG_2419This week I’m working on two new projects that are designed to bring art to your mailbox once a month, like an art-letter-of-the-month club. I don’t get a lot of fun stuff in the mail anymore, so if I can at least send something nice through the mail to other folks, I’ll feel a little better about that, as if a kind of balance is being restored in the postal world. Also, there are new Flannery O’Connor stamps coming to a post office near me soon, and this is a wonderful excuse to use them.

The first project, The Wild Around Usis based on––you guessed it––the wacky natural world we’re in. I’m taking notes on critters in my backyard, in the park, and from the far corners of the world. I’m doing some research on their unusual habits and fun facts I ferret out, and then I’m making drawings based on what I find.

A subscription to The Wild Around Us gets you one illustrated letter each month (these will be high-quality ink-jet printed reproductions of my original drawings). For $5 a month, you get little love letters from nature, illustrated and written by yours truly. It’s perfect for kids (and kids at heart). I’ll ship them flat right to your door for the price of a big ol’ flavored latte.

The very first letter (pictured below) features two of summer’s most vocal singers. This time of year, I hear cicadas all day and katydids all night. Learning some of the differences between them inspired this piece (that, and a houseguest who said, “What the heck is making all that racket?”):


This little guy (below) first made me think about the drawing. He visited us in the campground office one day, newly hatched from his shell. He’s a dog day cicada (aptly named because they appear in the “dog days” of summer, when it’s hot as blazes, i.e. today). This month’s letter features a periodic cicada instead because really, why wouldn’t I jump at the chance to draw a critter with huge red eyes? This fella made for a nice model, though, until he warmed up and started buzzing and flying around towards my head. We released him outside the office and he took off like a B-52. It’s good to know someone can still move fast in this heat.


My other mail art project is letterpress printed works. (Thanks to everyone who has subscribed already!) For about $10 a month, you too can subscribe and receive letterpress printed works each month. Sometimes I’ll print a small broadside, or a favorite quotation, or a miniature book, and I’ll send it right to your door! The first piece is one I finished at Penland this spring. It’s a miniature book form called the “secret room” structure. The butterfly and moth silhouettes were printed using pressure plates and a carved linoleum block. The text on the front side is a couple of quotations from Rachel Carson and Mary Oliver, two ladies I dearly love.

IMG_2077 You can open the book out flat to see the entire image at once and flip it over to see the additional text in the “secret room.” That text includes statistics about declining populations of butterflies and moths. The cover of this little book is handmade paper I made in the winter.


Both of these subscriptions are available in my Etsy shop. If you join now and share this link on Facebook or Twitter, I’ll send you a special extra surprise along with your first letter or print. Thanks for stopping by and sharing the news! If you have animals you’d like to see in future letters, send me an email at firebrandpress{at}gmail{dot}com. I’m always looking for recommendations and would love to hear your ideas!