February 6, 2012


I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but have I told you how fabulous I think Heleen de Vaan is? Well if you didn’t already know, me and Elena think she’s GREAT!

Already a firm favourite since putting together some wonderful pimped photos some years back, Heleen has made us smile month after month, with her wonderful drawings and at Christmas we received a surprise package with her unmistakable writing and drawings on.

Imagine our delight when we found it covered in Postcrossing stamps and filled with…5 bars of chocolate! So to those of you wondering how to get a full feature here on my REAL wall, watch and learn!

Elena saw immediately what the letters meant, but when I laid them out it actualy took me a few days to decipher. Can you mailartists guess what it is yet?

February 5, 2012

my REAL wall – 5 February 2012

It’s been a really busy week this week, what with arranging the very first Roehampton Teachmeet, and I’m still playing catchup with postcards from the end of last year.

Up on the wall today are some lovely new envelopes from Benjamin Shaw Designs and some stickers from an Anonymous source. Over to the right are two cards from some long-time mailart friends, Dumpsterdiver and Heleen and the splashes of green on the wall come from Mim and Hope.

Mailart365ers Lindsay, BrisCris and Dewi are also on the wall for the second time. Dewi actually put that card up himself when he came over to stay!

January 30, 2012

my REAL wall – 30 January 2012

Gosh what a year 2012 has been and it’s barely started!

Already this month, I’ve taken 4 mailart-related lectures, with another one scheduled tomorrow. Tomorrows talk is part of a big event i’m helping to run at Roehampton university called Teachmeet, where teachers come and share ideas on teaching. Everyone gets 7 minutes to talk about anyidea they’ve used in class, and I’ll be talking about how students at our university used postcards to keep in touch during school experience while teacher training, an initiative I led last year. I’m pretty nervous, as usual, but I’m sure it will go fine.

How is this all related to this wall you may be wondering. Well that postcard in the middle (Getting into Literacy) came from another teacher, @jodieworld, who ran the last Teachmeet I was at, where I talked about my educational postcard project Schoolswaps. I talked about how we still need the postal service despite all these advances in technology, then managed to forget my USB stick in her computer. This postcard accompanied the USB stick in the post, which neatly proves my point.

That lovely pic of a happily married couple comes from my best friend at University, Jay, and shows him and his wife, who really is just perfect for him. Me and Elena went to see them last Wednesday as it was my birthday and we went go-karting, which was great fun.

In the right hand corner you can see a runner drawn by Dewi when he came to stay at our house and went walking in Richmond Park. His eye was caught by the strange hand position of this bearded runner and made him his 365th piece in Mailart365, which he then gave to me by hand in my house, from Canada via Tuscany. now THAT’S dedication! Wish you could join us in France Dewi!

Next to that is the 2nd 365 by Katerina Nikoltsou. She actually got to 365 and sent it to me, but I didn’t get it as she’d put the wrong number on the envelope. So they sent it back to her. Meanwhile she made an exact replica of her 365th piece and sent me that instead. That arrived to me and the other arrived back in Greece. Not wanting me to miss out, she sent me that one too, so i can now say I own 2 #365s from Katerina. Yay!

January 23, 2012

my REAL wall – 23 January 2012

“Why the long delay between REAL walls at the moment?” you may be wondering. The answer is really simple. Winter.

Our present house is rented, which means we can’t just stick up willy-nilly as we did in our own house previously, as the adhesive we use, Blu-tac, sometimes rips off the paintwork and we would rather like our deposit back.

So the wall I’ve chosen as my main REAL wall is in the conservatory, and most of your postcards are opened then put in the conservatory in an ever-expanding pile waiting for it to be warm enough for me to bear to go out and stick them up on the wall. December and January have been WAY too cold for my pathetic little body to take, not to mention the winter hibernation, but this weekend was finally warm enough to get some postcards on the walls.

The large painting is a long-overdue posting which came from Clohn Art to me while I was still at my old address. The reason it’s taken so long to go up on the wall is that I thought it was so good, I couldn’t help but take it into work, where it’s been next to my desk for the last 4 months. Check out the Clohn art site, where you can pick up a sample of trash art for bargain basement prices.

The 4th wasp in Cornpone‘s series is next to that, and those pieces are joined by some of my favourite mailartists of all, JJ, Heleen (complete with Postcrossing stamps! Yay) and Katerina Nikoltsou, who I will be seeing next month in Paris as part of the Mim mailart meetup.

Other gems on the wall come from Kerri Pullo, Mim and Hope, whose Keep writing project is well worth the asking price on Etsy I can tell you.

Thanks to everyone on the wall for contributing your fabulous art and post from all over the world as ever.

If any mailartists do happen to be in Paris in Mid-October, do drop me a line, as I’d love for Mims mailart meet to be HUGE!

January 13, 2012

my REAL wall presents…5 picture story

In my day job as an e-learning advisor at Roehampton university, my role is to advise lecturers on the best technology to use for teaching their subjects. Most the time this is something electronic, for example a forum or a blog, or a video camera, but sometimes the best technology is the most basic and I never draw the line at electronic learning tools.


This term I was asked by a lecturer to suggest the ideal tool for getting students to express their feelings about an event that happened to them at school when they were younger. I wanted for the students to be able to reflect on this experience and to use whatever they had to hand to express how the event made them feel, without fear of criticism.

For me, postcards have been an ideal vehicle for learning to express myself. The almost-anonymous nature of postcards (you choose whether to sign them or not) and the idea that the recipient is separated from us by time and distance has this effect of freeing the artist to express themselves in a way that real-time social media and face-to-face interactions can’t, yet it still reaches out and makes a connection. For some applications, like Postsecret, this is perfect, and so I decided to suggest postcards for this project.


The idea is for students to illustrate on 5 6×4 inch postcards an experience or series of experiences which happened to them in school that they can remember. After they have done so, they will send these images in to their lecturer and share the experiences if they wish.

This idea came from a lesson I taught while I was schools, and so I showed pictures from this to the students and postcards which have been sent by you to my REAL wall to illustrate what kinds of stories you could tell using the limited size of a postcard.

Uni talk

I volunteered to introduce the postcard picture story project to the students and on Tuesday and Thursday, I went in to the classroom to present to 2 sets of classes, starting with an introduction to my REAL wall and human-human communications in the digital age and moved on to tales of teaching from my past, finally ending up on the task at hand, which was the creation of the 5 picture stories.

The students were really excited at the prospect of sending post and the talks seemed to go down really well. I was asked by the students for some tips on how to get into sending post and I recommended Postcrossing as a good place to start as well as of course, looking on the sidebar of my REAL wall for some great postal folk. In addition, I’ve added a link to my article “How to make your mailbox more interesting” in the sidebar, so if anyone does want more than bills in their postbox next week, why not give it a read.


Looking forward to seeing what delights the students produce and if I get permission I will stick some of the best right up here on this site.

When I was at school, I used to love writing stories until the day that I wrote a literary criticism of Macbeth for English literature, in which I drew parallels with the Ninja clans of ancient Japan. My English teacher ripped it to pieces verbally and I never wrote again. Perhaps I’ll make a mailart piece about that some day…

January 4, 2012

Just in time for 12th night!

I’ve been way behind on posting, but had a deadline on this one as it’s bad luck to leave your Christmas cards up after Twelfth Night.

Happy new year!

December 31, 2011

my REAL kitchen walls

As 2011 draws to a close, Andy and Elena want to wish all the readers and contributors to my REAL wall a HAPPY 2012!

Lately, my artistic output has ground to a halt as I’ve taken time to settle in to the new place. Since Dewi came over in October, I’ve taken up cooking, hence why this shot is taken in the kitchen. Elena kindly decorated the kitchen for me with her favourite postcards, which are classics, rather than the new ones that we’ve been receiving.

Hope you can all join me in the new year. See you in the post!

November 6, 2011

my REAL wall – First wall in Kingston

my REAL wall has been keeping a pretty low profile lately. The reason we’ve been out of action is because me and Elena have been moving house!

Now, the best address to send your posts to to get onto my REAL wall is

53 Haygreen Close
United Kingdom

The new place is much more befitting of a newly married couple. It’s much bigger, has 2 rooms and a conservatory where this picture was taken where we have an art table. Yes, you read that right. We have a table dedicated to making ART!

So much has happened since the last post. Notably, we have met up with 3 mailartists and been to Turkey. We met Dewi last month, who is a mailart365 artist. He popped over from Canada via Tuscany and showed us his sketchbook. It was great!

Katerina Nikltsou, another 365 artist, came over from Greece and stayed in Notting Hill, just around the corner from our old place. We popped in to see her, and she gave us that lovely acrylic painted piece that dominates todays wall.

Mim, the other 365 artist who is on track and whose piece is on the wall below Katerinas, came over earlier on in the year, so technically that means we’ve met every artist on the 365 who is set to complete the project on December 1st. Only 26 pieces left to go for those heroes!

Another notable artist on the Mailart 365 project that I’ve met is Postively Postal, who is currently running a project in conjunction with the Royal Mail called “The A-Z of the UK”. Check out his site for details of how to pick up some exclusive stamp packs from the Royal Mail

One person who could easily be on 365, but isn’t is the great Ruud Jansen, who runs IUOMA. He came over from Holland last month on business and I very nearly met up with him, but he ended up too busy, which was a shame. However he did send some mailart through, which you can see here.

That lovely cut out butterfly is from Spopod, the index card is a classic Lindsay Killin piece and there’s a new piece from the Keep writing project by Hope, who’s work keep making me smile. This time, I’ve got a recipe for chocolate cake from her, and I need to dig up a decent recipe of my own and send it back. If you’ve not seen the Keep writing project, check it out RIGHT NOW at www.keepwritingpostcards.tumblr.com

September 19, 2011

Farewell Housey 3

The final REAL wall of my old flat belongs to a single person, who sent in 8 postcards in one single batch. There’s no return address so if you want a return post, please get in touch and tell me what you signed your name as and I’ll be more than happy to send you a return postcard!

This is the shower we used for 2 years. I’ll be sad to not use it again, especially as the new shower is so weak.

Thanks to everyone for keeping the walls of our house decorated for over 2 years, and I’ll be updating our address soon. Watch this space…

September 16, 2011

Farewell housey 2

For the second to last REAL wall on the walls of our old flat, here are your postcards above our radiator, complete with a few pairs of my cruds in homage to the early days of my REAL wall, which early viewers will no doubt reminisce about.

As part of the move, Elena took apart the age old blue banner, saying it needs an update, so this is the last time you’ll see it.

As far as I know, we hang our clothes outside in the new place and with central heating and stuff, we may not even have radiators, so perhaps it’s the last time you’ll see my cruds on such audacious display too!