Keeping in touch during a global pandemic

How have you been keeping in touch with people over the last year?

Phone calls? Video conferencing? E-mails? Letters?

I’ve been putting pen to paper on a number of projects in the last 12 months, each one designed to spark joy via snail mail.

It started with an envelope exchange via The European Pointed Pen Collective (EPPC) in March 2020 and at the moment, I’m post-crossing via The Cultural Spring.

Hopefully, this blog post will inspire you to put pen to paper and write to someone!

EPPC Envelope Exchanges

I have a collection of beautiful envelopes (and stamps) from around the world thank to the EPPC.

Some of the EPPC Copperplay envelopes I received from the UK, USA and Austria.

At the start of the pandemic, the EPPC launched the Copperplate Envelope Exchange, which connected more than 90 calligraphers from 24 counties.

It gave me an excuse to pick up my pen and be creative at a time when most of my day was being taken up by primary school maths and literacy!

You can read more about the exchange here.

Last summer, the EPPC launched another envelope exchange with the theme Unite.

I’ve taken part in a couple of EPPC online courses in the last year, including The Poetic Pen (Italian Hand) with Heather Held and Copperplay with Scarlett Blue.

You can read about The Poetic Pen here.

The Copperplay workshop was followed up with an envelope exchange inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh, so I got to illustrate as well as write!

EPPC Calligrabuddies

I have been friends with Joanne Taylor Calligraphy for a while, albeit via social media.

We were in the same group for the Unite envelope exchange, then organised a little swap of our own when we took part in the same online course (Pointed Pen Uncials with Joy Daniels).

Now we’re official EPPC Calligrabuddies!

The EPPC offered to pair its followers up with a calligrabuddy in 2021 and I couldn’t believe it when I was matched with Jo! (You can read a Q&A with her here.)

Her pointed pen work is way better than mine, which is inspiring, rather than intimidating.

I’ve had beautiful cards, including a hand-painted Christmas and Easter cards, and most recently a bookmark. And she always remembers my favourite colour!

The Calligrabuddies project I cooked up in return was a monthly envelope and card inspired by a batch of vintage stamps I bought on Etsy.

I’ll post a full run-down later in the year!

The Calligraphy Podcast Envelope Exchange

I totally forgot about this one until I scrolled back through my Instagram feed.

The Calligraphy Podcast is now in its third series (you can read more about it and other calligraphy podcasts here) and founders Ajab Rajvir Jandiala and Christen Allocco Turney set up its first calligraphy exchange last spring.

Wish You Were Here – The Cultural Spring

This is my most recent project and there are just a few weeks left to go.

Artist Beth J Ross created the Wish You Were Here project for The Cultural Spring to keep people in Sunderland and South Tyneside connected in a non-digital way.

Some of the Wish You Were Here postcards I have received.

Participants have been asked to create 12 postcards based on weekly prompts and instructions, for example, sharing a favourite recipe or sketching the view from your window.

The postcards are then sent to other participants and by the end of the project, each person will have received 12 cards.

Leave a Comment