[Jennie Hinchcliff] I get the urge to travel quite a bit. One could say all the time. Be it a car trip or plane flight, I just can’t seem to help myself: Travel beckons. Once I leave the borders of this city by the bay, everyday occurrences turn into exciting adventures. Heading out of town, I’ll carefully tuck my compact correspondence kit into a carry-on bag, along with a handful of need-to-be-answered letters.
All in a day’s travel. Artwork at the top of the stack sent to my P.O. box by Macy Chadwick of In Cahoots Press.
In the time it takes for the stewardess to say “Sit back, relax and enjoy the flight,” I’ve pulled out my good friend Dr. Ion (seen below). Unassuming and measuring a svelte 8 x 4.5 in. (and 3.5 in. deep), I found this carrying case while browsing around San Francisco’s stationery gem, Kinokuniya. “Compact” doesn’t even begin to describe the wonders of Dr. Ion; this baby is a magic trick with zippers, a carrier that can house a multitude of supplies.
Why yes, that is a vintage Girl Scout bookbinding badge.
One of my criteria when searching out candidates for a potential correspondence kit is the pockets: the more, the merrier! When traveling, I’m usually doing a variety of different things, artistically: taking notes about the day, pasting things into a journal of some sort, conjuring up missives to send back home. This means I need plenty of options when it comes to mediums. It also means that I need a lot of pockets to hold all of those options.
It’s a bit like a dream come true, the amount of awesome one can hide in Dr. Ion.
Dr. Ion doesn’t disappoint. You can see some of my “must haves”: scissors, glue stick, small size stencils (great for addressing letters!), airmail envelopes. Then there are the things I’m always glad I’ve tucked in at the last minute: red colored staples, a tiny wheel of watercolor paints and my “Il Presidente” rubber stamp.
Velcro and elastic straps (which I am usually NOT a fan of) are extremely helpful.
One of the most ingenious things about this particular case has to do with the fact that its double sided — an additional avalanche of pockets! There’s room for my paintbrushes (I modified these by shortening the handles), small size ink pads and double-stick tape (imperative). And where would I be without my date stamper?
I nearly expired from happiness when I noticed that the silver tag said “perf.”
The icing on the cake is this ladybug-shaped treasure; I discovered this goodie late one night at a Meijer’s Thrifty Acres in the wilds of Michigan (believe it or not). Under the buzz of fluorescent lights and dazed by the time change, I wandered down an aisle of clearance items, stumbling upon this handheld perforator. I ask you: What more does a mail artist need? It made that particular trip to Michigan worthwhile.
At the end of a long day spent gadding about exotic foreign locales, I love to head back to my hotel room (or a favorite café) and spend some time writing about the day’s exploits. Putting these adventures into words on a postcard is often one of my favorite experiences of any given trip. I know I can always rely on my correspondence kit. As they say: Have kit, will travel!
Jennie Hinchcliff of Red Letter Day receives odd items in the mail on a fairly regular basis. As a mail artist and co-author of the book “Good Mail Day“, she is constantly intrigued by the correspondence which arrives at her PO Box. Her blog chronicles the myriad adventures and interactions she has with the Eternal Network as well as the USPS.
Photos: Von Span, 2011