Why I Love Junk Mail

Why I Love Junk Mail - Seriously, who loves junk mail? I used to toss every last piece of it until I came across Carla Sonheim's Junk Mail Artist's Book class. Oh my goodness, it's such a fun class! This is the very first book I made, and I'm officially in love with junk mail. :)

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I never thought I’d write this sentence, but I’m officially in love with junk mail right now. Seriously. Who says that? For years, I’ve faithfully collected the mail, sorted the junk to one side and the bills and letters to the other; I’ve ripped open envelopes and added those to the junk trash. And never once did I think, “Hmm, these envelopes and postcards and flyers about oil changes have potential.” Here I talk about using what you have, and I was throwing away piles of paper that could be re-purposed into something quite magical.

I’ve been a fan of Carla Sonheim’s work for some time. I wrote about her book, Drawing Lab, in this post, and have since checked out pretty much everything she’s written from our local library (as well as added them to my Wish List on Amazon!) She regularly adds new classes to her website, and I finally took the proverbial plunge recently and purchased her Junk Mail Artist Book class. All I can say is, “Where has this class been all my life?!”

I’m not an affiliate for this class or receiving compensation for it, though I wish I was! I sincerely love it and think you will too. :)

Why I Love Junk Mail - Seriously, who loves junk mail? I used to toss every last piece of it until I came across Carla Sonheim's Junk Mail Artist's Book class. Oh my goodness, it's such a fun class! This is the very first book I made, and I'm officially in love with junk mail. :)

I’ve been on somewhat of a online classes fast because I was in this space of learning-learning-learning instead of doing-doing-doing. I’m a big advocate of learning, but there comes a time where you need to turn the computer off and Just Do It. That said, what I loved about this class was because you are making a specific project, the whole class is action. The videos are short and succinct—giving you enough information so you can be successful, but not holding your hand and telling you what you need to draw and what colors to use. And the class itself includes six lessons (each lesson includes a drawing and painting portion.) I also appreciated that Carla includes daily warm-up exercises that are specific to the class.

I now wish I had photographed my junk mail before it was transformed but I guess you already know what junk mail looks like. For this book, I used a couple of envelopes, some glossy flyers and an ad for a mansion we were pretending we could buy someday, haha. (Okay, it wasn’t a mansion, but it had a mansion’s price tag!)

Why I Love Junk Mail - Seriously, who loves junk mail? I used to toss every last piece of it until I came across Carla Sonheim's Junk Mail Artist's Book class. Oh my goodness, it's such a fun class! This is the very first book I made, and I'm officially in love with junk mail. :)

Because you use several different pieces of mail, the shapes form a puzzle of sorts. Carla teaches you how to do this, and she is much more brave in that she makes all sorts of quirky and fun animals. For my first book, I stuck to my old standbys: branches and leaves, quotes, and little girl drawings. And for the second, I immediately saw a mouse-like creature in the shape of the pieces and just went with it.

Why I Love Junk Mail - Seriously, who loves junk mail? I used to toss every last piece of it until I came across Carla Sonheim's Junk Mail Artist's Book class. Oh my goodness, it's such a fun class! This is the very first book I made, and I'm officially in love with junk mail. :)

I loved that this class used materials that I either had on hand (junk mail, watercolors, packing tape) or that were easy to come by (a jar of gesso). If you’re curious, here’s a list of the supplies you’ll need. I actually didn’t use the charcoal and think my book turned out fine, though I will probably use it in the future for other books. Because I made more pages than I needed for this initial book, I now have the opportunity to experiment and make more. I’m going to try one with an ocean theme next, although I might just end up using the patterns from shell sketches for something completely different.

Why I Love Junk Mail - Seriously, who loves junk mail? I used to toss every last piece of it until I came across Carla Sonheim's Junk Mail Artist's Book class. Oh my goodness, it's such a fun class! This is the very first book I made, and I'm officially in love with junk mail. :)

Oh, how I love this texture! I might use this technique in the future for some other projects I have in mind. What am I saying? I WILL use this technique again. :)

Anyway, I wanted to share the love with you today because this class is so much fun. If you’re looking for something a little different to get you back into your creative groove or maybe just something to let yourself play, definitely check out this class (or any of Carla’s classes, for that matter). I think you’ll really love it!

Hope you have a wonderful {and creative} day, friends!

7 thoughts on “Why I Love Junk Mail

  1. Hahah! A gal after my own heart! I live in Sweden and they sell “No Junk Mail Please” stickers to put on your apartment door. A month or so ago, I covered up the sign with my own handwritten: ” Junk Mail, Yes Please! :)” sign. First of all, they are great for learning the subtleties of another language, and second, they are fun! Now if I can re-use them for another vehicle, as you and Carla have, I’m in clover! Really inspiring, thanks!!

  2. As soon as I saw the title of this post, I got a little excited, because I love re-using stuff that most people would throw away. To tell you the truth, I don’t do it very often, lately, but still, I like doing it, haha. This class looks like fun!

    1. It’s totally something I could see you doing, Maggie! :) I’ve made piles of paper since I took the class and when my mom recently visited, she was able to use some as a background for one of her projects. I also made a book with no words and images for a friend to decorate. It’s really fun. :)

  3. What a great idea to use up the junk mail we ALL get to use for art! I am a doodler and often look for scraps to work on, but since most times everything has been recycled, I will draw in margins or new paper. Very inspiring post and photos! Thanks Jennie!

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