Mail Art is very dear to my heart, through it I have made many new artist friends and colleagues. It has stretched me to grow into a practice of art that has enriched my life. So…that said what to actually do to convey the memories mail art evokes in me.
I thought back to many of the swaps and trades, “I lost my Marbles”, Gothic Arches, Wreck this Journal. Then it hit me, 2012 was full of art “swaps” and random acts of art, how could I capture it? Hmmm…a perpetual calendar.
With only a week to produce a piece and another Random Act of Art deadline galloping toward me, I realized that I would have to turn to some already made work to come up with a perpetual calendar. One of the most fun things was doing glue pages, glue books, and ATCs with 14 Secrets to a Happy Artist’s Life and 6 Degrees of Creativity – the two online artist groups where I am deeply involved.
I rifled through leftovers. It wasn’t hard, I have a tendency to make extras of everything I do in these trades because sometimes someone hears about it and the deadline has passed. I like to be able to send a little something so that they don’t feel too left out. And hey, I have a daily art practice so it keeps my hand in so to speak.
I found some glue pages (these are 8 x 5 cardstock or ready made index cards covered with collage from magazines, handmade papers, gum wrappers, whatever you see that strikes your fancy. They are often playful, some with hidden messages. Perfect!
I managed to find 10 that were evocative of a month of the year, so I only had to put together two more to come up with a perpetual calendar. The friend I am sending the RAA to is, like me, a bit of a “Dead Head” so each one had a tiny piece with Jerry Garcia’s face or trademark hand with the missing finger on it added to it.
Just in case you’d like a peek … here
Can you find Jerry?
The envelope was created with a single 16 x 20 inch piece of canvas paper. The outside of the envelope was stamped with a tiny script stamp in olive green so that it would sink to the background. Then I painted many coloured yarns front and inside. These symbolized the many “yarns” that have gone between us as we traded mail art and formed deep bonds across oceans and “borders” around the world. Art speaks a language that is understood by everyone!
I applied many used postage stamps inside the envelope. It has two heart shaped holes punched in one of the extensions and 3 very long pieces of yarn were inserted. These are used to close the portfolio envelope and to echo the yarn that is inserted into the glue pages so that the perpetual calendar can be hung.
The materials I used for the glue pages that became a month in the perpetual calendar were 8 x 5 inch cardstock and index cards, glue sticks, matte medium, and papers of all sorts, some were torn from hand-painted artist tissue, some were purchased handmade paper, but much of the collage is from magazines, old or the free ones advertising upcoming events.
Materials for the portfolio envelope are 16 x 20 inch canvas paper, acrylic paints mixed with gloss acrylic medium (to enhance flow), a rubber stamp and inking pad, and used postage stamps. Each item also uses a colourful yarn that I used to knit a grandchild a hat called Flower Power.
By using these things I am sharing my art and my daily life with someone I may never sit down with over a cup of tea, but who is part of my life and so we share what is important to us.
I would definitely encourage anyone to do a little mail art. It doesn’t take a great deal of skill or expensive art materials and it revives an old way to make friends and break down borders that after all are artificial since we are all Relations and part of a great family. One recommendation I’d make is not to use metals or metallic substances in your mail art because Customs worldwide will have clanging bells of their metal detectors go off – which will slow down the delivery of your precious cargo.
Mail art is better than penpals in this day and age … it’s a piece of nostalgia with a twist. Thank you to everyone who has shared a piece of art with me…it’s a piece of you that I’ll always treasure.