My name is Puk Hyllested, I'm 42 years old. I come from Denmark and I live in Zealand - an hour's drive from Copenhagen. Currently I'm working at an art museum and teaching art to a group of children aged 7 to 14 years. I live in a house with a big garden with my lovely husband and two sons (they are also very lovely). We have a cat, a dog and a rabbit too.
I started writing letters from a very early age. My best friend from after school care moved to another city, and I missed her terribly, so we started writing letters and sending small drawings and stickers to each other. I was 9 or 10 at the time. When I moved to Zealand from Jutland when I was 19 years old I started writing a lot of letters to my friends and family. It was before the internet and I don't think I had a phone where I lived, so it was better to just write.
My penpal journey began 4-5 years ago as I started to write people from other countries on a regular.
Most of my penpals are sweet people I've come into contact with through Instagram. One time I made a post saying that the first three people who commented would receive a handwritten letter from me. I wrote the three people and two of them answered back. One is from Norway and one is from Denmark, and we have been penpals for more than three years now.
- How many penpals do you correspond with on a regular, and where are they from?
I have seven-eight penpals that I correspond with on a regular. They are from The Netherlands, USA, Japan, Norway, Denmark, Germany and The UK.
I like the fact that you have to sit down and relax - be present in the moment - if you want to write a good letter. And to me writing is a way of understanding more about myself - when I explain things that happened to me, or experiences in my life to my penpals it seems easier to comprehend and you seem to reach a new level of understanding.
I like the creative process too - putting together a beautiful envelope, decorating the letter with stamps or colourful tapes is very satisfying and I love to add some beauty to this life and send it to people I care about.
- If you can, how would you describe your snail mail style?I'm very inspired by everything Japanese. I love stamp carving and often decorate my letters with stamps and masking tape. I like vintage stamps and ephemera, but sometimes I go for the playful look with lots of colours and stickers.
- What are some of your favorite stationery brands or tools you enjoy using?
I like everything from Classiky - paper, stamps and envelopes. Best washi tapes come from mt and masté, but recently I've found that La Dolce Vita makes lovely tapes as well. I like finding old books and stamps in charity shops and make envelopes from maps or floral books.
Handwritten letters, small gifts - could be something I crocheted, small envelopes filled with ephemera, inspirational quotes and pressed flowers are my favourites.
- What are some things you enjoy receiving?
Everything handwritten, letters from my friends, stamps, stickers, quotes, notebooks and washi tape or scraps of paper. And I cherish handmade items very much and all of my penpals are very talented - some of them are illustrators, some of them knit, make embroideries or paint - everything so wonderful!
Oh, that's hard to say! I love every letter I receive and all of my penpals write lovely letters and decorate them nicely, but I have a small bunting hanging on my wall - made of scraps of vintage and hand-dyed fabric with beautiful handstitched details on it. That bunting was made by my penpal, Giova, and she makes the most wonderful things (and write great letters too).
- When is the best time for you to put together your snail mail?
I write letters mostly in the evenings. I have a small crafting table upstairs in our bedroom. It's nice and quiet and I love to put some snail mail together here.
Yes, I've met two of my penpals in person. I visited my penpal, Giova, in Amsterdam, and she showed me all the great places to shop for stamps and paper, and we just had a great time together. Our oldest sons are the same age, so they spent time together while we talked and crocheted.
One of my penpals from Japan, Konomi, moved to Berlin recently, so suddenly it was not that far to go and visit her. We met in Berlin and she has visited me in Denmark too.
It's a great experience to meet your penpals in person. I was very nervous before meeting my penpals, but at the same time I knew them so well through our letters. I think that most people who write letters are very warm-hearted and cultured people, so you can never go wrong with meeting someone you've exchanged letters with.
- Other than sending lovely snail mail to friends, what other hobbies & interests do you enjoy?
I like to knit and crochet. My hands are always busy working on a project. I'm doing art journals and teaching other people how to keep a journal. I have a passion for linocut too and like to make prints for my small webshop. Other than that I love to walk my dog :)
Be sure to stop by Puk's Instagram and webshop to see more of her crafty snail mail crafts and hobby!
Read more snail mail lovin' guests here.