01 October 2013

Snail Mail My Email


Please, see the comments below this post. It contents first-hand information about how the project worked.


Snail Mail my Email is a collaborative art project where volunteers handwrite stranger's emails and sent physical letters to the intended recipients, free of charge.

The project was created in 2011 by artist Ivan Cash, during which 234 volunteers collectively sent 10,457 letters to 70 countries. Those letters inspired the book Snail Mail My Email.

So far, a total of 431 volunteers have artistically interpreted and collectively sent 13,968 letters across the world.

To know more, visit the website of the project.


  1. I participated in this project last year and it was one of the most demanding, unrewarding experiences of my life. And I spent a fortune in postage and supplies. Volunteers are not given a stipend for expenses, and when I started I thought I'd be fine with the 30 or so letters I'd write, but the requests were so very elaborate and most required much more postage than a regular letter (see some of the letters I wrote here, http://instagram.com/postmuse). I'd read nasty comments on the Facebook page from people who thought a particular volunteer's letter looked unprofessional. Mostly, I was amazed at how very demanding the letter requests were, especially given that the letter was FREE. The organizers got lots of lovely publicity for their book and future endeavors and they pretty much ignored their volunteers unless they wanted to publish their photos, without credit.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience in this project. Obviously I didn't participate; I just wanted to share what it seemed to be a good idea. Now I've read your comment I didn't like the fact that I made publicity of this book!

      I had a look to your letters and they look beautiful (as your mail always is!).

      Now I wonder... why people don't do that themselves?

    2. I think the book is a fun "coffee table" book, and bought it even after the mess last year :) However, I just feel so strongly about how bad the volunteer experience was for me. Many other said it was wonderful, so my experience may be unusual.

      Just received delightful mailart from you! I suspect I can't send alcohol mailart to you without making sure it is "undercover," right?

    3. I'm not sure about the alcohol mailart. Alcohol isn't' forbidden here. It's just socially looked down upon, and a little difficult to find, especially in the villages. I suppose there is no problem by sending anything but, who knows? I don't want to take the risk of bump into a fundamentalist in the post office!

      I'm happy you like what I sent.

  2. This year (2015) I participated for the very first time.
    I think meanwhile they have so many volunteers, that I only had to write four letters. As I am a kind of perfectionist (in this case, in other things not always) it took a lot of my time, but 4 letters was o.k. to me. (first they thought it would be 15 per person, which, after all, would have bene far too much for me)

    I posted three of the four on instagram, where I felt rewarded by the comments some people made.
    Coincidentally the writer of the last email found me - and her snailmailed email text - there on instagram. As it was a special letter for an emotional occasion, it felt good that I had written the letter, and it felt even more good that the original writer thanked me for that.

    But as Bonnie Jeanne says, concerning the other letter I (we) will never know what the writer and receiver would have thought of it.
    The good thing is that via social media (in my case instagram only) we can inspire others (hopefully new snail mailing people too) and get inspired by other snail mailers.
    After all I think I will participate again next year, and - in case they will send too many requests - restrict myself to 4 to 5 letters only.

    1. I'm glad that your experience was good. I've seen your letters on instagram, and they look very professional. Honestly, I don't know anybody who could not to love your mail, Heleen!
      I think more that 4 o 5 letters could be overwhelming!


Thank you for coming. All your comments make me extremely happy.