Instagram is a wonderful place to find like-minded people, and I’ve been really lucky to stumble upon some brilliant individuals that not only inspire me with the beautiful images they share, but also with their incredible passion for what they do.
‘5 Questions With’ is going to be a segment where I introduce you to those people: it will be a great opportunity to learn more about them and also to - hopefully - inspire you, too.
Today I’m asking 5 questions to Patrick, aka EdelweissPost, a mail artist and supporter of all things postal.
Hi Patrick, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thanks for having me, Fab! I live in a city of lakes: Minneapolis, Minnesota. I grew up as a military "brat", as my dad was a pilot in the Air Force, so we moved all around the US - California, North Dakota, Alabama, Maryland. I went to the University of Iowa and majored in History and Film Studies. I was a social studies teacher for a few years before becoming an Immigration paralegal. As a paralegal, I was required to mail many documents and I was always bored with the US Flag stamps, so I'd spice things up with colorful commemorative stamps, which my boss wasn't so keen on! My favorite foods are movie-theater popcorn and blueberries (but not together!). I have a love for classic films (All mail lovers should see Audrey Hepburn's Charade, but my all-time favorite movie is Katherine Hepburn's Bringing Up Baby. Both of these films happen to co-star Cary Grant. And all three of these stars appear on postage stamps, by the way.)
On your IG you share lots of photos of your mail art and postage stamps. When/How did you first get into it?
I first got into vintage stamps - and mail - when planning my wedding, actually. I wanted my invitations to be something nobody had seen before, and a treasure my guests would want to keep forever. My stamp-collecting grandfather had passed away recently and I also wanted to do some kind of memorial to him which didn't involve candles, and I saw online that someone had used vintage stamps on their invitations and I was sold! What a special and fitting homage to him. And when I traveled to the local mom and pop stamp shop a mile from my house, it was truly love at first sight. There were so many options with vintage stamps, because you had decades worth to choose from - all different colors, subject matter, etc. On most of my invitations, I catered the stamps to what I thought each recipient would like, so they were even more personalized that way.
Many people ask "Why the name Edelweiss Post?" Well, I had always had a fondness for The Sound of Music and my grandparents had an old Swiss music box which played that haunting lullaby. Additionally, the flowers at our wedding appeared in different classic movies. It was edelweiss we wore as boutineers, as the symbolizes male fidelity, because it only grows on rocky cliffs high in the mountains, and suitors would venture out on the treacherous terrain in order to pick it for their love.
© IG: EdelweissPost
What do you love the most about mail art and philately?
The best thing I love about mail art is that it captures the imagination. After I send off mail art plastered in beautiful old stamps, I daydream about who comes across this unexpected art, from my local mailman to the postal workers on the line, in the trucks, and the delivery person on the other end, and finally its intended recipient. What pleasant surprises mail art brings to all who are lucky enough to receive it or come in contact with it!
And stamps, well they are simply tiny pieces of limited edition art. But they're more. Not only do they decorate the envelope, they are magical tickets which give wings to our very thoughts and wishes, flying them 1st Class to almost anywhere on earth we want them to go. If that's not magic, I don't know what is.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to get into mail art or letter writing?
The advice I always give to people starting out doing mail art: Don't wait - Just create! Don't question it. Don't think it's not good enough. Experiment. Be bold and brave.
Any IG account you’re most inspired by?
There is so much beautiful mail art talent I'm inspired by on Instagram, I'm reluctant to mention just a small group, so I'll stick with my all time favorite: The Devoted Diarist, who also runs the postal-themed subscription box Mail More Love. She has since become a pen pal and my snail mail bestie, and we finally met in person a few weeks ago after a year and a half! That's another thing about mail - it brings people together from great distances.
A huge thank you to Patrick for taking the time to answer my questions and for sharing with us such beautiful and insightful answers ♥
I have many other wonderful people lined up for this segment, so I hope you're as excited about it as I am!