The Unwinding Cards

By Jackie Morris

A collection of 100 illustrated postcards taken from The Unwinding.

Friday, 2 September 2022

63% / 315

Dear all of you who have so far signed up to these cards. John (boss man), Alison (designer), Alex (editor), had a great meeting about the cards. As ever Alison came up with a few brilliant ideas, including having a kind of 'contact' sheet with the box so you can keep track of where and when and who you send cards to. Brilliant! She also talked about her and a friend, who some time ago bought a box each of the same 100 cards. Alison had lived in UK for a while and was travelling home to Australia. They decided that as they both loved the cards so much they would send each other a card regularly, 100 times, so when each had used up all their cards they would have a full box. What a beautiful idea. And what a treasure of communication that would be. 

John showed us a box of cards where the back of each is different. Meanwhile I wondered whether they could all be threaded together as a poem, but that way lies madness!

I have been writing ( see above) and painting ( see below- this is work in progress for The Book of Birds, that I am not supposed to show in public, but I figured it is hidden here, so not many people will see it, and it is good to offer something secret to all those who have been good enough to support this project at such an early stage).

It is my birthday next week. For my birthday (8th Sept - and also a postal strike) I would like as many people as possible to post a postcard, into a postbox, just a card to a friend you've not spoken to for a while, a family member, someone you know who is having a hard time, to a place you love, somewhere you've stayed, anywhere. When I was young the post office was such a treasure. A wonderful and magical place where the price of a stamp would carry your words far across the world. When I was a bit older the government took it upon themselves to begin to break this essential ecosystem by ending the monopoly they had on some things. At one time you knew your letter was safe. Now thanks to cutbacks, I send post off with a wish, a prayer and a spell, and in return get post for other houses and parcels for me dumped at holiday cottages. Postal workers in rural communities are sometimes the only people some folk speak to. They notice when things are wrong. They do more than deliver the mail. So, in solidarity with their strike, as a protest that is also an act of kindness and communication, and if you are so inclined, write to a friend and post your card on 8th. 

Leave a comment below with a post story, and I will do a sweep of my studio for random cards later today and send them to someone from the people who comment. Meanwhile, here is a picture or two of The White Cat walking.

Looking forward to going into the corners of my studio to find cards.... I have made so many during the 40 years I have been working. 

Thank you for reading, and for sharing the cards. Need to push on to that 100% target..... 

Meanwhile, here is some of my favourite washing up. Antique watercolour pallettes. 

I'm trying to buy some watercolours from GreenleafandBlueberry. It's not that I need any paints. But they just look so gorgeous. Mum told me 'not to waste my money buying more paints', a curious thing to say to a person who makes their living painting. In some ways she is right. If I painted all day, every day from now until I die I couldn't use up all the paints I have, but, well....... 

The garden this morning was rich with the song of starlings and finches. My neighbours have left the teasels to grow wild and crazy. 200 or more goldfinches. What a thing to wake up to. I will go and get photos later. Meanwhile:


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Sheila MacNeill
 Sheila MacNeill says:

Thanks for the update and what a wonderful idea for your birthday. During lockdown I sent quite a few cards randomly to friends and family, just as something tangible when we couldn't meet in person. This is a great reminder to send few more, so my post box will be busy on the 8th. Hope you have a lovely birthday and thank you for sharing the updates on this project.

posted 2nd September 2022

Pen Thompson
 Pen Thompson says:

As ever what an uplifting update . I will send a card on the 8th to my longest standing friend Mary , who is in Bristol and with whom an overdue get together needs organising. And it’s my birthday on the 13th so I know I’ll get a card from her ! The card boxes are things of beauty - my first Wild Cards one is nearly empty and will be reborn as a treasure box for a grandchild . My second Wild Cards box can then be opened and sending continued. And before long we will have the Unwinding Box! Thank you for your art and humanity . It’s beauty and dependability is uplifting. Pen x

posted 2nd September 2022

Araminta Greaves
 Araminta Greaves says:

What a lovely newsletter! Thank you so much for taking the time to share. In return I will share with you something about post.
In the first year of my relationship with my husband, back in 1989, he had to go off to Spain for a couple of months. I missed him but wasn't sure of him as it was early days in our love story. Then the post began to arrive. He wrote me such beautiful letters, in almost illegible handwriting, full of tales of his adventures mapping the geology of the area he was exploring. Each letter had several little sketches of fossils he had found, prehistoric creatures that would have lived where he was writing from, nature's treasures that he had stumbled across, dotted about within the writing. These letters lead me away from insecurity and doubt and towards the love of my life. Letters can be such a powerful way to retain and build relationships at a physical distance. I love the post and the postal service!

posted 2nd September 2022

Barbara Valentini
 Barbara Valentini says:

Thank you for the update, and for sharing the beautiful glimpses of your secret projects - thise birds are wonderful! I've a few people in mind to send postcard to, somebody new I met in the hotel on my recent holiday, my cousin in Rome and my very private neighbour, who seems to be very unwell and has retreated in her home: it would be a dicreet but lovely way to offer help if needed, I think. Wishing you a happy run up to your bithday and a great day of celebrations on the 8th! Barbara x

posted 2nd September 2022

Emily Chaplin
 Emily Chaplin says:

Jackie, thank you for your suggestion to send someone a postcard, it’s something I had always done in the past when travelling. Usually they would be sent to family members who lived far from me but very close in my heart. Recently, my uncle who has always been more like a big brother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and I know he’s not coping well (the Welsh healthcare is failing him badly) I will begin this weekend by sending him bits and pieces by mail, as he does me periodically, usually cuttings from the local Pembrokeshire paper’s. Sometimes when we are searching for something to reach out but we’re far away, a phone call doesn’t always seem to be enough. I know his spirits will be lifted with a card on the mat. Again, thank you, I feel that you have answered a question of ‘what can I do’ xxx

posted 2nd September 2022

Donna Miller
 Donna Miller says:

I moved away from Philadelphia and many lifelong friends three years ago. While email and text have been little lifelines, it is the cards and letters that catch my heart. Opening the mailbox to an unexpected envelope is a delightful thrill. For my last "mass mailing", I wove coasters for everyone on my list and tucked them into a note card.
We have endured terrible assaults on our postal service in the US, instigated during the last awful administration, which saddled us with a truly awful Postmaster General. Like every other good thing we took for granted, our mail is now in peril.

posted 2nd September 2022

Raymond Lowell
 Raymond Lowell says:

I started sending physical letters to a handful of friends in Jan 2021 and send a batch every single month on or near the 7th. (Needs to be a day when the Post Office is open so I can send the batch of cards to a Dutch lady with MS, her carer husband and her sister, the latter of whom I befriends on Twitter.) I have also, since earlier this year, been writing a set of cards to strangers with cancer which are then distributed via From Me To You, a charity set up to do precisely this. I tend to send cards with flowers on for the FMTY folks because I figure flowers make just about everyone smile! I also have acquired a penpal, who's also a children's author and she recently sent me the "wet proof" of the paperback edition of her MG book and it was a joy to take it from the Postie's hands and discover just what was in the mystery envelope! Honestly, I love writing letters. I even joined the Handwritten Letter Society on Twosday (02/02/2022)!

Anyway, have a fabulous birthday on the 8th and I hope this project gets itself funded! <3 Pers

posted 2nd September 2022

Mary Berry
 Mary Berry says:

Thank you for the update. I took the fox postcard you sent me (part of 100 postcards you sent out) into hospital with me for my hip replacement surgery. I needed the spell to keep me calm and centred. I have so enjoyed sending and giving your postcards far and wide. One is on its way to Limeuil, France to the campsite owners we go to every year (20 yr) to tell them what a joy it was to visit after 3 yr break. Loved seeing you painting Live at Cambridge Folk Festival ❤️. I really hoped I would bump into you in person. I won’t forget your birthday ever now as it was my Dad’s birthday too. Sending love, light and joy your way. Xx

posted 2nd September 2022

Racheblue Love
 Racheblue Love says:

What a beautiful post Jackie, thank you! Yes, happy to help bring the magic back to our postal service. We do try to send cards & letters instead of emails but my 8 year old & I will make special endeavours to post as many cards as we can on the 8th to dear friends abroad and to family who are unwell or alone.
Love Alison's idea of a contact sheet and her card exchange with her friend is a lush story! :)
Thanks again and we wish you a happy birthday next week xx

posted 2nd September 2022

Janice Hopper
 Janice Hopper says:

My birthday is next week too! There's a person I follow on Twitter who shares the same birth date. She mentioned a few years ago that she liked to get postcards. I've been sending her a happy birthday postcard for a few years now.

I recently signed up at I've sent and received just a few postcards so far. I'll send more out next week, and think of you and your birthday while I do! Best wishes, and have a happy one!

posted 2nd September 2022

Denise Boggs
 Denise Boggs says:

The White Cat is glorious, as is ‘where to look for you’. Excited about the cards. Wishing you a lovely birthday on the 8th.

posted 2nd September 2022

Pearl Melvill
 Pearl Melvill says:

You have so many lovely projects on the go! A very happy birthday for the 8th. I hope it’s filled to the brim with love and laughter… I will be sending a postcard to Sri Lanka. I spent many months there in my early 20’s and still keep in contact with the family I stayed with 35 years ago…Their beautiful country has had a very difficult time in recent months and I think a postcard or letter makes them feel that they are remembered, not forgotten.

posted 2nd September 2022

Soyka Krupa
 Soyka Krupa says:

I hope the 8th brings connection, I have your reading cards on my classroom wall and the children love them- I ask them which one they'd like to be and it always surprises me which ones they choose. I think the glory of receiving a letter or postcard in the post cannot be beaten- my mother -in-law is brilliant at it and my children, now 20 and 22 really appreciate the effort she goes to. We recently sent her a botanical card, however I am of the opinion you can never have enough lovely pieces of mail, as opposed to the brown and white envelopes with circulars or reminders on! I will write a card now. many thanks for all your beautiful artwork and The Snow Leopard- I use it often with my pupils at primary- glorious language, story and illustrations. Soyka

posted 7th September 2022

Bee Ramachander
 Bee Ramachander says:

OOOh you do inspire on lots of levels. I'm very excited about your "Book of Birds" and hope you're having a good celebratory day today, somewhere you love with those you love. Back in 2018 I had to go through a series of operations as part of a cancer treatment. One of my dear friends chose to send me a set of postcards to cheer me along the way. It was very much part of the journey and set of close friends that got me through that time. My cousin, who I see very infrequently, is currently going through a similar if not more difficult health journey. Your note prompted me to send her a postcard today - hopefully it might bring some light to her day when she receives it. Thank you for reminding me that often the smaller gestures and unexpected gifts go very far in carrying us through times of difficulty that we may experience in life. Bee x

posted 8th September 2022

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