Sunday, November 15, 2009
I am so thrilled to bring you an update from Traveling Postcards. There has been a surge of momentum and I am happy to bring you news from an amazing woman, doing amazing things!
April Rovero is a wildlife nature photographer and Soroptimist Club leader. She recently traveled to Namibia carrying with her a dozen or more Traveling Postcards. All the cards were made by women and girls who work with or volunteer their time for Soroptomist International in San Ramon Valley, California. It was their dream that these cards would travel to Africa. I am happy to share some photos and stories of her trip.
April met Patricia, a single mother of eight children while staying at the Sossusvlei Lodge in Namibia. Patricia chose a card that has special meaning to her and shared with April her story of hardship and economical struggle.
Patricia had been working hard to support her family and yet when her manger offered her an opportunity for more leadership at work she had been reluctant to take it. Patricia was fearful of more responsibility and felt that she did not have the education or skills to accept a new role. She originally tuned down the offer. After much persistence, her manger convinced her to try.
Patricia told April that she discovered that she indeed was up for the challenge. She felt that “the Traveling Postcard would be an on-going reminder that she should not be afraid to try new things.”
During their visit, Elizabeth had told April that she was saving money to buy a computer so that she could learn the new skills necessary for her next assignment! Upon her return home, April found a good used laptop computer and is looking for a way to send it to her.
April emailed me “The simple sharing of a Traveling Postcard with a young Namibian woman may end up changing her life if I am successful!
By now you have all seen the beautiful picture April took while visiting the Himba people in their native village. She was not sure if her translator (pictured standing in the center of the mother and her daughter) was able to fully describe Traveling Postcards, but did say that these women thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the beautiful cards.
My intention is that Traveling Postcards will withstand language and cultural borders, and that creativity and beauty will send a message from the heart no matter what.
Coming soon! Another amazing woman’s story with Traveling Postcards in Ghana.
ALSO Look for our brand new website coming in January. Our new site will have an updated resource section as well as detailed participation information and of course a gallery of beautiful postcards from all over the world!
Thanks to everyone who is participating in this project of kindness and connection. We can make a difference!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I have just returned from an amazing adventure in Punta Banco, Costa Rica!
I am happy to report that Traveling Postcards was met in
Through the heroic efforts of both Jan Jastrab and Ashlie Gaos, my intentions to connect and honor women worldwide were easily translated and a group of women and girls set to work! I was struck with how effortlessly women express their voices given the opportunity, and how often their voices speak about love, and forgiveness. Many women made two or three cards and everyone of them was brought home in my suitcase and are bound for new travels in Africa and the United States.
A highlight of the trip was an opportunity to travel high into the jungle to visit an indigenous Guyami family. There we were
greeted by a Ramon, Elena and their four daughters.
We were completely soaked from both sweat and rain and gratefully settled in under their thatched roof for a cup of sweet coffee. Slowly we brought out pastels and paper and eventually moved to making and giving Traveling Postcards. The Guaymi are known for their beautiful “Panamanian” hats and small bags all handmade from plant fibers. The women make beautiful dresses which always looked perfectly clean and ironed! I don’t know how they do it, as I always seemed to look like a drowned rat! Their culture is extremely creative, and most of their income comes from selling their wares to tourists like me.
I have learned that there are so many paths to creative expression and so many paths to understanding our deep connections with one another.
I left all the art making supplies I had with the two youngest daughters and was grateful that I could make a small difference. Each girl owned a backpack that hung on a wooden pole of their hut. After receiving and looking at their Traveling Postcard, they quickly put their card into their pack. I felt sure in that moment, that these girls, who live in a very remote part of
My experience in the town of
Please help to spread the word that women care for each other deeply, that their sons and daughters and partners honor their lives and that sharing the knowledge that rests in our hearts can help ease suffering worldwide.
Please look to www.travelingpostcards.org to see all the beautiful cards that were made.
Don’t forget that anyone can hold a Traveling Postcards event in their own community.
I am always looking for new opportunities for Traveling Postcards, and new ways to spread the word. If you would like to participate, please email me a firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to continue to receive new posts, (which I hope you will!) please subscribe to my blog by clicking the link. Once you input your email address, you will receive an email from Feedblitz asking you to confirm your registration. That’s it! Thanks so much for your continued support.
Happy new beginnings!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Summer always seems to carry the promise of unlocking our imaginations. It offers a time to dream and a time to reflect. I feel that even in the busiest of times, a swim in the lake under a beautiful blue sky, provides just the right conditions for dreaming of all that is possible.
This summer, on July 23rd, I am Traveling to Punta Banco, Costa Rica! I bring with me a whole suitcase dedicated to art making supplies; my camera, a portable printer, paper, glue, pens, film, art books, string, etc! Never have I taken a trip where art making was the focus. Needless to say, I am thrilled! I will be traveling with Robbyn Alexander (our fearless leader) and a group of Transformative Artists from JFK University. Together with the ComunicArte project, we will be working within the Punta Banco community to help promote meaningful learning experiences that emphasis ecological awareness and self expression.
I will not only be bringing Traveling Postcards to distribute and to create, but I also plan to facilitate the making of ‘family trees’ I will have a mini photo booth (a camera, a tripod and maybe a tree stump to sit on!) set up daily and will encourage everyone who wants, to come and take a photo of either themselves or a family group. I will print the pictures on the spot and will provide very simple materials from which to make photo albums. Albums can contain all kinds of elements that symbolize how we are all inter-connected to each other and to our environment; pictures, fabric, leaves, anything that represents our relation to the larger family tree of man!
Certainly I hope that the Traveling Postcards that are received and the Traveling Postcards that are made in Punta Banco will help further the larger compassionate connection women share all over the world.
Some more good news! Over 50 Traveling Postcards will be received in Malawi, Africa in late August. Mary Tuchscherer will be arriving with her group from Voice Flame Writers to conduct a series of Legacy and story writing workshops. She has promised to distribute all your cards and I eagerly await some pictures and reports from her fabulous trip!
In addition…our fearless leader from the International Soroptimist Club, April Rovero, will be traveling to Namibia, Africa in September and will be carrying with her a suitcase of postcards that you made. She is eager to distribute the beautiful art work and extraordinary sentiments to the women she meets on her trip.
All and all it will be a wonderful summer for connecting, sharing and growing our awareness of the deep bonds we all have with one another.
May your summer be blessed with imagination!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The June 12th ArtDate marked the seven month anniversary of Traveling Postcards. Over 200 cards have been made, half of which are in transit or have been given away. Each card represents one voice, one expression of love and one understanding that a woman has been seen.
Every event is unique and this Traveling Postcards was no exception. We had our first male participant! Richard Bacon is a student in the MA Transformative Arts program at JFK University, and he created 4 different cards in which he honors 4 special women. One of the important aspects of Traveling Postcards is the ability to dedicate a card to a women who has made a difference in your life.
Richard has made a moving and beautiful tribute to these women by acknowledging all that they have meant to him, and has given other women around the world the same opportunity to see themselves through his cards.
We had many other spectacular postcards created at ArtDate as well. Please visit www.travelingpostcards.org to see all the handy work!
Next up, more fun with Soroptimist International and a long awaited trip to Costa Rica!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
ArtDate is a free, drop-in art-making party designed to inspire and connect you with your inner muse. Robbyn Alexander, core faculty member at
This month’s ArtDate is on June 12th from at the JFK Berkeley campus. http://www.jfku.edu/campus_directions/berkeley/
ArtDate offers Traveling Postcards an opportunity to increase awareness of women’s needs all over the world to an expanded Bay Area community. I welcome women and girls of all ages (and even men!) to come and make a card to give away. Come and honor a woman you love, make a card in her name and connect with another woman across the world without leaving your home.
Join us in making postcards for a woman who is waiting to know that you care for her. All cards made will be going to the
I hope to see you soon! Please remember to bring a photo of yourself or of an ancestor to place on your cards. If you do not have one, it is okay. All materials will be provided so that you can make an amazing work of heart! To view more cards that have already been created, please visit www.travelingpostcards.org.
To see more ArtDate projects, visit artdate.blogspot.com and www.jfku.edu/artdate
*traveling postcard made by Naomi Raine MA Transformative Arts
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Traveling Postcards arrived at Soroptimist International of San Ramon Valley on Saturday, April 11th. My good friend April Rovero believes that making postcards for women across the globe is a wonderful way to uphold the club’s motto of “Improving the lives of women and girls locally and throughout the world.” Soroptimist means “Best for Women” and certainly work like “Project Sierra” and the “Women’s Opportunity Award” are examples of this organization’s mission to help all women be their best. Please take a look at the Soroptimist International website to learn more about an amazing group of women who have been working together to support the rights of women for over 85 years. http://soroptimistinternational.org/
Saturday was a day filled with bright and talented 16 year old girls from a group foster home who used their creativity and natural enthusiasm to create postcards for a woman they may never know. Each girl chose a group of women to send their card to. On this day we made Traveling Postcards for women and girls in the Congo, for women with breast cancer and for women in Costa Rica. The girls sent messages of hope and perseverance; their young age belies the fact that they are survivors of much loss and suffering and have already earned great wisdom and strength.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these girls and I hope that they will continue to grow and make positive changes in their lives not only for themselves but for all the other girls who are looking to them as potential role models.
Please look at the Traveling Postcards website to see all the great work that has been created for the sake of women knowing that they are cared for and that their voice matters.
*postcards made by girls working with Soroptimist International of San Ramon Valley,CA
Sunday, April 12, 2009
“Baile para sentirse joven” ,
“From our hearts to yours with love, compassion and truth. May you be love and only love.”
Twenty women traveled from across the Bay on April 4th and made Traveling Postcards for the women of Punta Banco. In conjunction with the CommunicArte Project’s beautiful video and art display, there was plenty of creativity and inspiration to go around!
Please have a look at the Traveling Postcards website to view all the beautiful cards that were made at this event, and be sure to check out www.comunicarteproject.org or www.travelguideforthesoul.blogspot.com for more information about our upcoming Costa Rica trip!
Next up…Soroptomist International!
*postcards made by Alaya Tchirkine and Saumya Kodippily
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Please join Traveling Postcards for an amazing FIESTA on April 4th, 4:30-6:30pm at the Department of Arts and Consciousness, JFK University, Berkeley campus. Come and make a card for the woman of Punta Banco and join us for an evening of art, music and creativity. I will bring all the supplies, and you will bring a photograph of yourself or a woman you would like to honor, and together we will make a card to acknowledge women all over the world.
I will be traveling to Costa Rica this summer with a group of artists from JFK University and the CommunicArte Project. We will engage in an art and ecology program that provides multi-cultural learning exchanges between artists, teachers, students and locals. I will bring with me all the Traveling Postcards that are made during the Fiesta and give them away.
I am hoping to integrate the need for women’s voices to be shared around the world, by making cards with the woman in Punta Banco and by working within a larger context of a community art project that is co created with the residents of Punta Banco.
Please take a look at the CommunicArte website and read about all the wonderful projects that have occurred over the last year. I am inspired by their motto!
“CAP art projects are driven by everyday concerns, by real-life experiences that inspire or drive us to respond.”
Creativity has the power to heal and transform. There are so many simple acts of kindness that can change the lives of many.
For more information, please visit:www.jfku.edu/costarica or
*traveling postcard made by Susan Seraphina
Traveling Postcards would like to stand behind Eve Ensler’s VDay 2009 “Power to Women and Girls of Democratic Republic of Congo” campaign.
TP will be making postcards for the women who are in Panzi hospital in the DRC. Through the action of creative joy, our efforts will bring awareness and healing to a large number of women who are survivors of rape and torture.
Join me in letting these women know they are not alone, and that their stories matter.
I am looking for any groups of women and girls who would like to participate in this project. Please contact me at email@example.com for more information on how you can help. More Info: www.vday.org/drcongo
Traveling Postcards is able to travel to your hometown! Informational kits are available to purchase so that you can hold a TP event in your neighborhood. TP Kits include facilitator directions, samples, blank postcards and a few bits of artistic fun!
Every card that is created will be sent back to me where they will be documented and added to the online collection before they are sent on their way!
Join me in celebrating all the ways women reach out to each other.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
The online attention IMOW brings to Traveling Postcards is a valuable tool for bringing awareness and hope to women worldwide.
I welcome new ideas and destinations for Traveling Postcards. Please take a look at where we have been and let me know where you would like to go.
Right now Traveling Postcards is looking for:
Destinations that create voice and visibility for women
Art materials that contain color, beauty and expression
Fund Raising ideas that enable Traveling Postcards to be self sustaining
Friends who are willing to contribute their wisdom to the project.
If you can help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, February 16, 2009
The last two Traveling Postcards events have had a tremendous impact on my life. I have been deeply moved by the beauty and depth of each woman’s desire to be a part of a project that connects us all in a compassionate and caring way.
February 4th brought Traveling Postcards to JFK University in Campbell, CA. Over twenty one women participated; a record attendance! I set up three long tables in a hallway, and women literally stopped in between classes, just long enough to make a card. I am always impressed with a woman’s ability to make time for a project that speaks to their hearts. I heard comments like “I had no idea what to say or make, and within minutes the card just seemed to appear!”
Creativity speaks to everyone. The allure of beautiful paper, bright colors and interesting buttons, fibers and textiles, can encourage and inspire the most reluctant artist. But more importantly, women who call out to each other, within a safe and caring environment are able to create heartfelt messages of hope.
Every postcard created at Campbell was given away to a woman at STAND.
STAND= Stand Against Domestic Violence
Traveling Postcards’ mission is to give all women an opportunity to share their voice, their wisdom and their hearts. On February 10th, nine extraordinary women from the STAND community received their postcards.
STAND is a nonprofit local organization that is committed to ending domestic violence through the provision of prevention and intervention services. STAND is a multi-service agency that serves over 10,000 people annually.
Shelter clients and others who choose to start a new life, can stay in Stand’s transitional housing program The Center provides 13 apartments for women and children. The primary focus is on achieving economic independence through education and employment. It is these women who received cards as well as added their own unique voice to the growing numbers of Traveling Postcard participants.
Many of the women’s cards reflect their desire for a home and for the stability of a family that is safe. These women are brave, determined and intelligent and are sharing their wisdom with you. Please go to Traveling Postcards’ website to view all their beautiful cards. www.travelingpostcards.org
I welcome new ideas and new destinations for Traveling Postcards. Please email me at email@example.com with your brilliance!
Monday, January 26, 2009
My fascination with postcards continues.
I find that aspects of memory, art and relationship are all present in the act of collecting postcards. I hope to present a brief postcard history here in order to highlight the rich background we all share in communication through words and imagery.
UNDIVIDED BACK ERA: (1901-1907)
Most postcards up until 1898 are "Undivided Back" cards meaning they do not have the line going down the center of the card. Writing was not permitted by law on the address side on any postcard until March 1, 1907. Any messages were written across the front over the photographs or artwork on the card.
REAL PHOTO POSTCARDS
Around 1906 Eastman Kodak started making an affordable camera called the "Folding Pocket Camera". The public was now able to take black and white photographs and have them printed right onto postcard backs. The negatives were the same size of the postcard and the photographer had a small metal tool that allowed them to write directly onto the image. It is said that the publishing of printed postcards during this time period doubled every six months.
DIVIDED BACK ERA (1907-1915)
The divided back postcard made it possible for both the address and the
message to be on the back of the card leaving the front of the cards untouched showing only the beautiful artwork
or photography. The images filled the entire card with no white border.
WHITE BORDER ERA (1915-1930)
The White Border Era brought an end to the postcard craze. The golden age ended as imports from Germany ceased and publishers in the U.S. began printing postcards to try to fill the void. The cards were very poor quality. They are easily distinguished by the white border around the pictured area. The higher costs of post war (WW1) publishing combined with the inexperience of making cards brought down the quality significantly. To save on the price of ink, "white borders" were left around the postcards.
The exception to the decline was the "Hand Tinted" postcards being produced in France and Belgium. These were photo postcards with various topics which were colored by hand giving them a realistic color look. Many were true works of art. Unfortunately these cards did not last long. The process of hand tinted card was very labor intensive and unhealthy! Mostly women artists sat in rows while the postcards were passed down "assembly line" style. Each woman was responsible for a particular color. The cards were small, the artwork detailed. Women would wet the tip of their brush, usually cotton covered, with their lips as they worked. Soon the lead in the paint took its toll as women became sick. Hand tinted postcards soon were discontinued.
Going to the movies became the new "visual" experience. The telephone quickly replaced the postcard as a way to keep in touch and thus was the end of the "Golden Age" of postcards.
MODERN PHOTOCHROME ERA ( 1939-present)
A new type of postcard, the color "Photochrome" appeared in 1939. "Chrome" postcards started to take over the marketplace immediately after they were launched by the Union Oil Company. Sold in their western service stations, they were easily produced, were of high photo quality and of most importance, they were in true living color!
These cards were the first cards to catch my eye as they reminded me so much of my own family's car vacations. I first started working with postcards to add a new dimension to my Drive By series and later became interested in their ability to communicate both visually and orally important aspects of our every day life.
I believe that it is the small things that we do everyday, either at home or on a trip, that remind us that we are of value and have something to say.
Next Traveling Postcards event:
February 4th JFK University Campbell Campus
February 10th STAND community, Contra Costa County