2025 Festival Dates: 5 & 6 July

Amy Pennington + Heritage Envelopes. Return to Sender

Creating a direct mail artwork posted through 10,000 doors in Blackburn – artist Amy Pennington invited the general public to explore the manufacturing journey of an unassuming everyday object – the envelope.


Asking the general public to look out for the makers initials printed on the envelopes Amy encouraged a dialogue between strangers, from the ‘return’er to the sender’. Usually a one sided conversation, questions posed to the factory workers explored the theme of ‘work’ and revealed the perspectives of the machinists. Return to Sender is a sensitive look at how to subvert a mass produced object to create an intimate exchange.

As part of Art in Manufacturing Season Three, Amy Pennington was partnered with Heritage Envelopes, a manufacturer who produce 2.2 billion envelopes a year. Pennington’s Return to Sender, will open at The National Festival of Making 2019.



Artist Amy Pennington makes people the core part of her practice. Often using such mediums as performance, drawing, film, events and conversations, she works with accessible materials such as cardboard to bridge high and low art, while also having turned walls, shops and arcade machines into socially-engaged artworks.

Producing 50 million envelopes a week from their Blackburn factory, Heritage Envelopes is part of a global brand operating across 50 sites in 23 countries. Specialists in printed envelopes for business as well as retail stock for high street stores and people’s personal letters, the company is an undetectable presence in many households every day and offers rich vein of inspiration to their artist collaborator.


“I’m absolutely amazed by what goes into making envelopes on this scale – the engineering is something else.” Amy Pennington, Artist


Read more about the Art in Manufacturing Programme here.



2019 Trusts & Foundations

The National Festival Of Making Delivery Team

National Festival of Making is supported by the Arts Council England, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Brian Mercer Trust and Foundations and Partners. This project is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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