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When PaperCrafter met author and mail expert, Michelle Mackintosh

We catch up with graphic designer, illustrator and author, Michelle Mackintosh, to celebrate the charm of crafting and sending hand-written cards. Ahead of Thinking of You Week (25th September - 1st October), Michelle reveals the benefits of sending cards and offers her greatest tips on how you can get the most out of post.

When PaperCrafter met author and mail expert, Michelle Mackintosh

How has the letter-writing industry changed over time?
The beauty of writing down words, thoughts, feelings and really thinking about what you want to say has of course changed with the rise of social media. In a society where the only mail you may receive are bills, a lovely hand-written, hand-decorated letter sent with love will put a smile on your face. I know many who still practise the art and craft of letter-writing, and they see it as a way to capture moments and deep feelings. It has become apparent to me that people of all generations love to put pen to paper. Following the release of my book, Snail Mail, I received letters from girls as young as 11 up to people in their 70s. It’s lovely to know there are no age or class boundaries.

What are the benefits of sending post?
I love having pen friends because it is the most wonderful way to understand how others live. You can learn about different cultures and connect with all sorts of individuals. Forming relationships with people on the other side of the world is the most incredible thing. It helps me to understand myself, my own circumstances and the world around me. It’s the smallest things that come with posting a letter that gives me a huge boost — I even just enjoy visiting the staff at my tiny local post office. If a new stamp has been released they think I will like, they’re so happy to show me. Sending mail to someone in the next suburb is as important to me as sending a letter overseas. Please try it — It is very addictive and once you start, you won’t be able to stop!

Ahead of Thinking of you Week, how can our readers get involved and spread joy?
Think about someone who has been kind to you. It could be the person who bought you that coffee in the morning, your child’s teacher, your neighbour who brought your bins in last week, or that friend who is always there for you. Why not send them a little thank you in the mail? They won’t be expecting it and it will make them smile. Try popping a handmade bookmark in the envelope, or filling it with confetti. Why not colour your envelope or try making your own from scratch? Go down to your local post office and ask to see the limited edition stamps. They will often cost the same as a regular stamp and you can choose one to match the recipient’s personality.

What’s the best thing you have ever received in the post?
I have a Canadian pen pal who is a postman. He sent me a letter after buying my book and he adores sending letters as much as he loves delivering them. He composes poetry and sends it to friends and always posts greetings for Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Halloween. He started out modestly decorating his letters, but now every time I receive a new letter it is more intricately adorned! As I am a huge lover of cats, many people’s friendly felines send me letters and I receive lots of cat toys, outfits and paintings in the post. I have also received hundreds of letters and parcels from my Instagram followers — I am very lucky!

Hear more from Michelle in her beautifully illustrated book, Snail Mail (£14.99, Hardie Grant). Available to buy here

You can also read more about how we are celebrating Thinking Of You Week 2017 in PaperCrafter 112, on sale now!

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