MamaBlogger365 – On the Road Map with FeMail, by Suzi Banks Baum and Karen Arp-Sandel

This week, Suzi and Karen discuss their travel dialogue from their FeMail Archive:

Why is it that women are the ones who can neatly return an unfolded map to its proper alignment, creases all even and the multiple folds bending in the correct direction? Some men do not need maps nor can they ask for directions. Is this true or just funny? Women seem to have a special relationship with maps, with routes and courses. Maps are a symbol and a tool of navigation. Women, moms in particular, are like sea captains: we navigate the waters of family life.

Here at FeMail, we share a passion for travel. We always pack our travel art kits as neatly and completely as our toiletries (Only heavier!). We are devoted to reuse and upcycling. Our Travel Kits are plastic zippered bags that once held holiday gifts or pillowcases. We need waterproof, tough containers that slip in to our suitcases and can be easily carried in a backpack once we arrive at our destination.

In our Travel Kits, we carry the bare necessities for making art in hotel rooms or other odd places. We always carry glue sticks, sharp scissors and a bone folder. Karen and I both love to draw and watercolor, so we usually have small travel size sets of paints and pen sets to suit the surroundings. We will show you our travel journals some other day. But here is our Mail Art, made on the road, with maps. Sending post cards to each other when traveling is almost like tearing a page from a travel journal and mailing it! It is a new take on the traditional travel post card, yet it always beckons, “Wish YOU were HERE.”

Circus Boy FeMail by Suzi Banks Baum


Circus Boy, front; Image © Suzi Banks Baum, All Rights Reserved

Circus Boy, back; Image © Suzi Banks Baum, All Rights Reserved



Summer time and Circus Boy beer fueled this card made with a map of the East Burke area of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. I was traveling there in late August with my family. It also happens that Karen’s son went to college there, so references to the ‘Kingdom’ hold special meaning for her. Do you see the chicken feathers? Well, they hold another story having to do with my award-winning chicken calling. Between the circus ticket, the beer label, the bit of marbled paper we’d made together earlier in the summer, our summertime conversation is rich. The other side of the card is filled with the intense colors of a Cape Cod sunset. That dancing woman is balanced on the tip of the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, MA, another family trip for us. There is a tape transfer of a Milton Avery print of the beach from an art gallery guide of P’town. I love to use packing tape when I am on the road for an easy transfer of images or text on to a card.

Visit the Museum of Motherhood blog to view this week’s complete exhibit, including “Where ever you are is the Entry Point” Kabir FeMail by Karen Arp-Sandel, Grand Island and DQ FeMail by Suzi Banks Baum, and more!

MamaBlogger365 needs you! Tell us how you’re re-framing motherhood and help the Museum of Motherhood secure a permanent home in 2011!


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