Posts Tagged ‘mail art’

eeny, meeny, miny, moe...

eeny, meeny, miney, moe…

There’s nothing I like better than starting a new project: the initial planning stages, organizing the tools I’ll be using, working out a concept or design. As many of you may know, I love to incorporate aspects of random chance into my work, whether that means text, imagery, or materials.

why make a decision...

why make a decision…

Last week, I received an invite from the Brenda May Gallery to participate in just such a project. The “On GOING GaGa SaGa” (curated by Akky van Ogtrop) is an exhibition featuring multiples, artists’ books, zines, and printed ephemera.

...when you can use them ALL!

…when you can use them ALL!

Given a mere three minutes in which to work, artists create a zine or artist book out of materials at hand. After assembling a handful of key elements, I was sprinting out of the gate!

Three minutes can feel like an eternity or fly by at the speed of light (in this case, it was the latter). I had put together “something” by the time the buzzer went off, but I felt like I was really only halfway finished. So I gave myself another five minutes to wrap up the project!

Having that extra five minutes made me feel better about my fast-and-furious project; there’s something about the addition of a cover on a book/zine that gives it an air of legitimacy, makes those loose pages feel like a “real” book.

X marks the...oh, nevermind.

X marks the…oh, nevermind.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the project was the time constraint. I was reminded that a person really can make something interesting in 10 minutes. Sometimes I get caught in the hamster wheel of overthinking projects;  spending waaaay too much time on a single postcard will result in putting it at the bottom of a pile. “It looks so overworked,” I’ll think and eventually shred it up (months later) to use in something else.

all those delicious rubber stamps...

all those delicious rubber stamps…

With a 10 minute time limit, you don’t have the luxury of “thinking”; it’s all about the “doing”. Happy accidents and creative concurrence can take place, without the brain chatter of “move this to the left” or “why don’t you try blue colored pencil?”

...on a single page spread!

…on a single page spread!

Needless to say, doing this project helped me out with another upcoming project; creative roadblock: removed! In just a few short minutes of whirlwind “making” via one project, I was able to problem solve a different project – funny how that worked out!

So now it’s back to the studio with some fast-forward momentum; look out October and November – I’m comin’ at’cha with a whole slew of new zines and book projects!


PS: if you’re interested in following all of the different artists for this project, take a look at #gagasagafluxusbox on Instagram

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it seems like my desk is always a MESS...

it seems like my desk is always a MESS these days…

It’s a brand new week and I’m looking at a cavalcade of looming deadline — most notably, the SF Zine Fest! Are you a fan of DIY publishing? Indie culture? Free events? Then SF Zine Fest is for YOU!

which of these items will make it onto the table at SFZF?

which of these items will make it onto the table at SFZF?

This week I’m rushing to finish up a couple new projects that have been in the works for weeks. I can also promise a few “burmuda triangle” projects that will make an appearance on the RLD table (issue #4 or RLD, anyone?) And guess what else? I’m sharing a table space with Happenstance Type-O-Rama, who has a GORGEOUS artist book featuring Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”. (I can say no more…)

beauty-in-progress, from this past weekend's Co-op meeting...

beauty-in-progress, from this past weekend’s Co-op meeting…

The SF Correspondence Co-op is hosting the Perennial Postcard Project for one day only, on Saturday, August 31st from 11am to 2pm.

it's the mail art "creation station"!...

it’s the mail art “creation station”!…

Wouldn’t it be great fun to come by and collage some artwork on a GIANT piece of paper, in order to receive a piece of that collage in the mail?



I think so too!

more mail art happening...

more mail art happening…

I hope you’ll be able to stop by table #96 and say howdy! And here’s a PSA for y’all: the Oakland Bay Bridge will be closing on Wednesday, August 28th thru September 3rd. If you’re travelling to SFZF from the east bay, be sure to plan accordingly!

In all things postal –


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via the "head vs. heart" blog...

via the “head vs. heart” blog…


Red Letter readers, I have something unbelievably exciting to share with you! I know its Monday. I understand the weekend’s over (sniff). But this is really really good, so I’ll need your undivided attention.

Ok, good.

Ready, set, go:

EXTRA! EXTRA! read all about it!!!

EXTRA! EXTRA! read all about it!!!

I am thrilled that you, dear readers, are among the first folks to learn about the Ex Postal Facto Conference – you’re hearing it here FIRST! Taking place February 2014 in San Francisco, Ex Postal Facto promises to be a three day, fun-filled celebration of correspondence art, faux philatelics and all things postal.

comin' right at'cha!

comin’ right at’cha!

Venues include the SF Center for the Book, the historic SF Elks Lodge, and the SF Public Library. A major mail art exhibition (and opening reception), vendor expo, and afternoon of lectures are already on the docket for February 14th – 16th. Believe it or not, there’s more to come; I’m hard at work with the Ex Postal crew, fine tuning details for the weekend. (saying that we’re sorta like Santa’s elves would not be too far from the mark…)

hey look! it's my palm pilot! (I NEVER get tired of that joke...)

hey look! it’s my palm pilot! (I NEVER get tired of that joke…)

So what does that mean? It means that I’m really, really, really hoping you’ll be able to join me and the Ex Postal crew here in San Francisco in February! This will be an historic gathering of new school and old school mail artists, artistamp makers and Networkers – in short: a MAJOR mail art congress will be taking place. And it’s really happening.

outgoing, with help from Neenah Papers...

outgoing, with help from Neenah Papers…

There are many ways to get involved, even if you’re not local to San Francisco. Would you like some “save the date” postcards to send to your mailing list? I’m happy to send you some! Want to submit artwork for the “mail/art/book” show at SF Center for the Book? Take a look here. Are you a blogger or interested in writing about Ex Postal Facto for a print publication? By all means, send me an email (or a postcard, whichever strikes your fancy!)



An event is only as good as the people participating. I am so very fortunate to have an excellent crew, an incredible co-curator for the mail art exhibition and amazing friends who have helped out with venue space. Moving forward, the next part of the process is equally exciting: finding a way to make sure all of my postal pals from near and far (that’s YOU GUYS) can be in attendance!

I'm ready to go to Ex Postal Facto!!!

I’m ready to go to Ex Postal Facto!!!

My fingers are crossed that we’ll all be in the same city next February. (that’s some pretty good news, huh? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!)

In all things postal –


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for you, and you, and YOU!

for you, and you, and YOU!

…even though it’s grey and foggy outside my studio window!

Today has been spent putting together/packaging all of the orders from the RLD store; thanks for stopping and shopping! Secretly, I love the “boxing and bundling” aspect of online orders: the special labels, the packing tape, selecting the perfectly sized box. Shall we discuss bubble wrap? (I know, I know: I hate packing peanuts too…)

Once everything was good to go, I sauntered off to the PO.

one of two bags, dont'cha know?

one of two bags, dont’cha know?

I’ll be listing more vintage and Japanese goodies this coming Friday; here’s a little tidbit for loyal readers: airmail stripes will be involved!

I’m just sayin’.

Last week was an exceptional week as far as postal yum-yums were concerned. I put together a video for RLD readers, so you can get an eyeful of all the awesome! I swear: I’m the luckiest girl on the planet when it comes to mailbox love. I can’t even begin to describe how I feel, each time I stop by the PO…awe struck? amazed? impressed beyond belief?

Yep — all of that. And incredibly fortunate.


(many of you mentioned in the “RLD Reader Poll” that you enjoyed watching videos and tutorials, so I’m going to be better about posting those items!)

Back at the studio: I’m putting together some blank journals — with any luck I’ll have these guys for sale at SF Zine Fest  (August 31/Sept. 1st), along with some other zine items which are currently in progress…




And there are a handful of projects that I am SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED to write about, but I’m not allowed to mention them yet. However, in the upcoming weeks, you can bet your favorite rubber stamp that RLD readers will be among the first correspondents on the block to hear all of the big news. Believe me: it’s B-I-G!

this little sign is going somewhere important!

this little sign is going somewhere important!

That being said (written?), I’ll sign off for now. How are you guys doing? Are remarkable and inspiring mail received lately? Let us know!



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those lydia mendoza stamps are SMOKIN'...

those lydia mendoza stamps are SMOKIN’…

I have returned from the great state up north (Oregon) where I had a most excellent time teaching at the Focus on Book Arts Conference. All of my students were enthusiastic and ready-to-bind, even in overly warm classrooms (it was in the 90s all weekend!) The conference organizers were helpful and well practiced in the ways of running a two day event. I met some of my book arts heroes! What more can a girl ask for? (ed. –> cake.)

you know that feeling when you return home from vacation?...

you know that feeling when you return home from vacation?…

I was happy to get back to SF, since I have a mountain of projects staring me in the face. But before I could do any sort of work, I had to get down to business.

that feeling of "it's so good to be home, but DAMN this place is a wreck..."

that feeling of “it’s so good to be home, but DAMN this place is a wreck…”

“Business” meant cleaning, sorting, and organizing the studio. Stacking, piling, putting things into boxes. (ed. –> that will be a whole post in-and-of-itself, in the future) For the time being: I’m a whirling dervish of organization…

And that means great things for RLD readers!



As you may know (or suspect), I have a studio full of things that are delicious, postally speaking. Gridded paper, address books from the ’40’s (pristine!), rubber stamps from Japan: I’ve got it all and then some. Many items I’ve been holding on to for years; some things have been acquired via trips to Tokyo. Other items just find their way to my house. (ed. –> you know how it goes.)

Now the time has come to send some of these first rate goodies out into the world, let other correspondence kids and mail art aficionados put them to good — no, GREAT– use.

somehow, I managed to get a few things sent out this week...

somehow, I managed to get a few things sent out this week…

On Friday, July 19th I’ll be updating the RLD store with a handful of new product — a little something for everyone! Quantities are limited and some items are “one off’s”; I’ve only got one, and when it’s gone, it’s gone so get ‘em while they’re hot! Preview photos and prices are currently posted in the RLD store, so feel free to wander over and take a look.

As a bonus: each order placed through August 1st will receive an additional present and I’ll give you a hint: it’s a postal related zine!

without you, I'm nothing...

without you, I’m nothing…

So there you have it! Sort of like Christmas in July, in a manner of speaking. I can guarantee you’ll find a little treat for yourself and you won’t have to bake a single fruitcake…

In all things postal –


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these folks want to sell you some fireworks...

these folks want to sell you some canceled postage…

The season of the “big boom” is upon us. Already the smell of burnt paper wrappers and smoke is wafting through my neighborhood, along with the sound of M80s that folks seem to be so crazy about. Of course I’ll join the San Francisco masses, wending my way carefully along the Embarcadero in order to find a choice spot for fireworks viewing on the fourth of July.



I’m assuming most of you know that Benjamin Franklin was our first postmaster, way back when. Via the National Postal Museum‘s website, I also learned that Ben got axed from the job in 1774 for “pernicious activity” relating to the affair of the Hutchinson Letters as well as his extended absences from the colonies for diplomatic work in London. The fact that our first postmaster was an active political agitator rings true today, when mail artists and correspondents are rallying together to support the USPS and save individual post offices in any way they can.

flapping gently in the breeze...

flapping gently in the breeze…

Many readers of the RLD blog are likely familiar with Jane Davies’ story from last year (she rallied to save her small size post office and won!) Mail artist (and amazing printmaker Art Like Art has also wrapped up the successful “Save the USPS” mail art project. Everywhere, artists and fans of the post office are raising a hue and cry.


How can YOU get involved? It’s easier than you think. All you have to do is write a letter to your postmaster or the president, letting them know you are concerned about the current legislation around America’s postal system. Delivering for America and Save the Post Office are both great resources for keeping currently on the ever-shifting sand that the PO finds themselves sitting on. Once you’re ready to get your hands inky, you can design your own cards to mail out or download the adorable postcards from Afternoon Pity Party. Another option? Sending out these amazingly fabulous “tiny post office” cards from Power and Light Press.

Thomas Printers strongly encourages you to "save the USPS"...

Thomas Printers strongly encourages you to “save the USPS”…

But there’s more! Letterpress mavens Thomas Printers in Carlisle, PA. have issued a call-to-arms via this year’s HOW Design Conference. Four times a year, for one full year, they will graciously send you a set of pre-stamped, letterpress printed cards! “Helping us save the US Postal Service will also help save the little part of us that loves paper, print, and postage,” they eloquently state on their blog, and I couldn’t agree more.

Cascadia, hard at work...

Cascadia, hard at work…

Artistamp maker and mail artist extraordinaire Cascadia Artpost has just clued me in on his latest mail art CFE, centered around the theme “Keep the Post Office Public”. Motivated by the “current attempts in the US to downsize the postal workforce, discontinue Saturday service, close POs, et. al.”, Cascadia is encouraging all types of mail art relating to this idea; the time is write — ahem — right!

Deadline is September 30th, 2013 and artwork can be sent to: POSTAL CALL/Cascadia Artpost, 4609 Briggs Drive SE, #304, Olympia, WA. 98501.5515. Knowing Cascadia, I’m already excited about this project and looking forward to getting something in the mail ASAP!

do your part to support this man!

do your part to support this man!

Taking the time to address and send a single postcard is no time at all, when you think about it. When the message is already composed for you (Afternoon Pity Party), and the postage is already affixed (Thomas Printers) there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be sending something to someone, somewhere. Every day, individuals use the PO; every day they take a variety of PO offerings for granted: the ability to quickly and easily send a postcard or package, the convenience of over-the-counter postage or the option of purchasing a money order. The USPS provides Americans with such a wide variety of services and options, so I feel it is time to give something back.

With sparkler in hand and a red ink pen at the ready, I’d love to hear more about the ways in which you support the PO on a daily basis!


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hard at work...

hard at work…

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling and teaching lately, which means I’ve been taking a look at the “how” and “why” of my travel mail art kits – the goodies that I can’t live without when schlepping through airports, train terminals, and bus stations. Taking stock of my inventory is not only enjoyable, but I tell myself it’s something I absolutely have to do – I mean, what if I need a new pen? A twee, portable glue stick? Or a pair of folding scissors that can make it through airport security?

I think you can see where this is heading.

coffee? check. pens? check. airmail stripes? check!

coffee? check. pens? check. airmail stripes? check!

On my writing desk at home, the laptop and “real time” writing implements share equal space. (scandal?) Admittedly, I am incredibly susceptible to the charms of a delicious fountain pen or smoked glass ink bottle. But this weekend took the proverbial cake! Lurking in someone’s attic at a garage sale, I ran across this cast iron inkwell. Gleefully, I transported it home, selected three of my favorite fountain pens, and settled down to address some envelopes!

my pen collection at home... (I wish!)

my pen collection at home… (I wish!)

But I don’t usually spend a whole lot of time writing at home. If anything, I find that my “transit time” is best used affixing stamps, writing in a jaggedy hand (thanks muni!), and mapping out which PO I’ll pass by (in order to send missives on their merry way). When I’m running errands around San Francisco, this is the kit I usually bring along.

delicious on the outside...

delicious on the outside…

Originally, this zip case held drafting tools; the minute I spied it in a thrift store, I knew it would make an absolutely perfect caddy for pens, postage, and postcards. The case itself is sturdy enough that it can be used as a flat surface for writing. Removing some of the original spaces and places for drafting tools, I gave the inside of the case a makeover: grey-blue bookcloth seemed like a wonderful complement!

...and the inside!

…and the inside!

Long distance travel is a whole different creature, when bringing along art-making tools. So many questions to address: is there such a thing as too many pens? Do I bring both glue stick AND double stick tape? (absolutely.) Does an ink pad dry up quickly, when used in a pressurized cabin for 11 hours? (the answer is “no”…) Invariably, I always thank my lucky stars that pens and drawing implements are long, narrow, and lightweight – that means I can bring along a few items that aren’t necessarily “necessities, but fun nonetheless.

a long-time friend and travel buddy...

a long-time friend and travel buddy…

These are the tools that I always travel with, no matter what. Upon closer inspection, you’ll note there are a couple things that aren’t mail art related, per se, but they certainly help out in a pinch! Believe me: in a foreign country, when you have a killer headache there’s nothing like good ol’ fashioned Advil to take the edge off. Bandaids are sometimes needed (exacto cuts can happen anytime, anyplace, anywhere!) and batteries (oddly enough) have come in handy more times than I’d like to admit.

all these items, in that unassuming pencil case!

all these items, in that unassuming pencil case!

While these are some of my tried and true favorites, I’ve been trying out some new things lately. The “storage box” from Kiosk is the perfect size for tucking into your carry on and filling with postcards. Having a mini return address rubber stamp is a most efficient thing to own, whether on the ground or in the air. And although I’m a Pilot Uniball girl when flying (who wants to deal with pen “accidents” mid-flight?), I’m eager to give the Parker “Flighter” a chance.

Sending you summer postcards from afar –


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