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feet with heart

Sure, sure: today’s Friday the 13th. But have you seen this morning’s blog post over at uspsstamps.com?! Featuring the work of mail artists Sally Wurlitzer, Stan Askew, Niko Courtelis/Philatelic Atrocities (and yours truly), there’s a slew of delicious eye-candy, postally speaking.

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photo via uspsstamps.com

Each artist was invited to create work inspired by 2015’s new USPS Forever Love stamps, the post office, and Valentine’s Day. In addition, we were asked to discuss our working process and reasons why we “love the Love” so much.

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Thank you so much to the USPS Stamps blog for inviting me to participate in this article as well as highlighting contemporary correspondence artists! While USPS employees “move the mail” every day, designers behind the scenes give correspondence artists additional tools (i.e. beautiful postage) to work with. A beautifully designed postage stamp is icing on the (cup)cake, so to speak: a thoughtful detail which completes a single work of (mail) art.

–JH

PS: interested in reading about why I make the things I make, and mail the things I mail? uspsstamps.com interviewed me last year about what it means to be a contemporary postal modern. Take a look here.

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February: already?!?! I can’t believe it. And yet, I look at my calendar and the proof is right there in black and white: today is February 4th.

This month heralds many things to the postally-minded: construction paper hearts  of bright pink, the debut of the USPS’s annual Chinese new year postage, a smattering of red glitter and glue stick. The days are (slowly) growing longer, which means a few additional minutes to dash over to the P.O.

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The end-of-year holiday bustle is over (whew!), so that also means there’s a bit more “breathing room” when it comes to doing things just-for-fun. To that end, I discovered something I’m excited to share with you, RLD mail art creators!

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First: some background info. Located in Berkeley, CA, Castle In The Air is a heaven on earth for folks who can’t get enough of the following things: the smell of fountain pen ink, the feel of finely milled paper, and the sound of hand bound journal pages softly whispering through the air. A world unto itself, “The Castle” is a nook you never want to leave — a fairyland of shelves and drawers filled to the brim with pens, nibs, books, and things of beauty. (personal plug: they also carry Red Handed Rubber Stamps!)

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store photo via businessinsider.com

Castle In The Air loves correspondence and all things related to mail art, letter writing, penmanship, and beautiful missives. They believe in old school correspondence so much, they have a gem called the “Blue Castle Badge”, which I KNOW you are going to want.

But you have to earn it!

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How do you earn a BCBadge of your very own? Start off by heading over to the website, and perusing the guidelines for mailing

Some additional advice for readers of the RLD blog:

  • –address your letters/postcards to “Blue Castle Badge/Castle In The Air”, etc. etc. ; this will help the Castle sprites sort your missive into the correct place and stack.
  • –interested in creating a themed postcard or envelope? Show/tell Castle In The Air why you love letter writing, correspondence, mail art, fountain pens, calligraphy — anything related to the paper or book-ish arts!
  • –if you’d like, feel free to mention that you read about the Blue Castle Badge right here at the RLD blog.

In return, you’ll receive a lovely enamel pin to wear proudly on your label. Or, perhaps – if you’re like me – it will adorn your pencil case!

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Happy creating! Go forth and share your love of correspondence and let me know what you send off to The Castle!

–JH

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January 20th will be a thrilling day for Portland, Oregon folks who are fans of mail art, correspondence, letter writing, typewriters, old ledger paper — heck, anything that has to do with sending things thru the posts.

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Why’s that, you ask?

It’s the inaugural meeting of the Portland, Oregon Correspondence Co-op!

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Spearheaded by Niko Courtelis (a.k.a Philatelic Atrocities), this monthly event will take place at the IPRC. As you can see from the above photo, there will be some super-foxy passports for newly minted members to fill with rubber stampings, artistamps, and all manner of delicious postal ephemera.

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“Meet/Make/Mail” is the PDXCC’s motto; with a call-to-arms like that, how can you possibly be anywhere else on Tuesday night?

Details for January 20th’s meeting can be found here; if you’ll be in attendance, be sure to take plenty of snaps and send us a postcard! The membership of the SF Correspondence Co-op sends heartfelt wishes to the PDX Correspondence Co-op for a creative and inspired “first meeting”, as well as full mailboxes for all members!

Viva le Mail Art!

–JH

 

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At last year’s G.A. Cavallini show at San Francisco’s Italian Cultural Institute, you may have noticed an eye catching artistamp displayed alongside an autographed photo (to E.F. Higgins!) of GAC. This artistamp was fascinating to me, with its rocket bright colors and red-hot typography. After posting a photo of the stamp on the RLD blog, creator Otto David Sherman got in touch and mentioned that it was one of his.

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Over the course of my mail art career, I’ve been the lucky recipient of many of Otto’s creations. It was a treat to meet the man-behind-the-artistamps when I was in NYC in 2011; Otto is just as bold, colorful, and creative as his stamp sheets.

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Every time one of his envelopes arrives at the RLD P.O. box, I know I’m in for a roller coaster ride of pop culture references, eye-popping color, and in-my-face politics.

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 I love it all.

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In Otto’s world, there are no sacred cows; first world leaders share equal time with dictators of banana belt countries. Cardinal Dolan sports stiletto heels and Vladimir Putin puts on a top hat. Another day in paradise, right?

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Even the inside of Otto’s envelopes are a sight to behold:

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Interested in seeing more? Visit Otto’s IUOMA page. His mail art and artistamp philosophy is discussed over on the Mail Artist Index page.

–JH

PS: if making your own artistamps is something that you’d like to learn, I’ll be teaching a class on creating faux postage at the SF Center for the Book on January 22nd. Take a look!

 

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(warning: the following post is filled with a heapin’ helpin’ of words and is pretty low on visuals. But don’t worry: I promise LOTS and LOTS of beautiful eye candy in future posts!)

2014 has wrapped up and I have to say that it was one of the most interesting, educational, and inspired years in recent memory. Things started out with a bang: Ex Postal Facto seemed to be the pace car, setting the bar high for mail art interactions and postal socializing (postalizing?) From there, I jumped headlong into Red Handed Rubber Stamps and all the details a new business requires: sourcing, purchasing, designing, phone calling, marketing, and a thousand-and-one other niggling details that keep a girl awake at night.

That was May 2014. Sure there was a trip to NYC and a completed artist book as well as an interview with the USPS, but for the most part I kept my head down here in San Francisco, working on a handful of pet projects that had been put aside since 2013. By the time summer arrived, I was neck-deep putting together SF Zine Fest. My fellow organizers — an incredibly talented group of writers, illustrators, and zinesters — are some of the hardest working folks I know, with a refreshing take on the DIY scene (and small press publishing in general.) It was a pleasure to work with them (once again) in 2014.

SFZF always marks the beginning of autumn for me. The event takes place on Labor Day weekend, traditionally a time associated with the end of summer and the beginning of the fall teaching semester. Just like every other year, the last few months of 2014 were booked solid: SF Correspondence Co-op meetings, workshops at SF Center for the Book, teaching in the Printmaking Department at the Academy of Art. Recently, I’ve been completely buried (once again), hard at work putting together another artist book edition for the upcoming Dig show at Central Booking in NYC (but I’ll talk about that in a different blog post.)

Looking at the above paragraphs, it’s no wonder I haven’t had much of a chance to update the RLD blog! My time has been spent getting together with other artists, working in the studio, creating things with my hands  — activities which make all the (other) hard work worth it. Meeting people face-to-face is a far different interaction than sitting solitary behind a screen; 2014 showed me that I sometimes need more of one than the other, and that’s just fine.

So what does that mean for the RLD blog? Well, a bit of a re-tooling for starters — but nothing too too drastic, I promise! I’ll be trying a few things out, to see what you guys are interested in. Instead of my usual, super-wordy blog posts (do people even read that much these days?!) I’ll be posting more photos of mail art and postal related things: an occasional piece of mail, inspiring articles from around the ‘net, projects I’m working on. I’m hoping this will be a new direction of interest to all RLD readers, regardless of which side of the screen we’re sitting at.

That being said, my email inbox is always open (and my PO box too!) I love hearing your feedback, dear readers — your ideas help make a good blog even better! Back in 2009, when I started the RLD blog, it was a way for me to reach out to readers of Good Mail Day and connect with the mail art community on a deeper level. Today, I count that as a goal which has come to pass, and generated incredible interactions with each of you, on so many different levels. Together, with each letter/postcard/artwork sent and received, you and I are creating a new wave of postal Networkers. Our shared love of bonding via words, art, and writing is something I give thanks for every day.

Viva le Mail Art! (and happy new year to all!)

–JH

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Over at the Red Handed Rubber Stamp blog, I mentioned that October 2014 has been a month (so far) of pumpkin pie, production, and non-stop creativity. October (for me) always seems to be chock full of things-going-on, but somehow this particular October has been exceptional.

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I’ve been whittling away on Mt. Correspondence and am happy to report that mail from Ex Postal Facto seems to be caught up — believe it or not! There were postal gems to be found at the bottom of that mountain and I’ve finally managed to return-reply to every single one (as far as I know!)

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The “production” part of late September/early October has consisted of full-speed-ahead work for Red Handed Rubber. Halloween is currently a smashing success and — what can I say? — Christmas is right around the corner. (ho ho ho, indeed!) Right now, every spare thought is crammed full of sugar plum fairies, striped stockings, and dancing candy canes. Keep your eye on the RHR blog, as that’s where I’ll be posting new designs.

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However: we’re still in October and Halloween (my favorite) looms on the horizon. For you, dear RLD readers, I have something that’s all treats (no tricks!); I’d like to invite each and every single one of you to:

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That’s right! Join Yellow Owl Workshop, Leavenworth Jackson, and Red Handed Rubber (that’s me!) — among others — this coming Saturday at Flax in San Francisco for a rubber stamp-o-rama! I have it on good authority that there will be demos and make-n-takes, as well as a whole lot of stamp-y goodness — free for everyone. Come get your fingers inky — I’ll have special Halloween themed postcards for you to stamp up!

(details about the event can be found here.)

Hope to see you there —

–JH

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I’ve been receiving some red hot mail (with super-cool cancels!) at the RLD PO box during these last few weeks of summer. Above, you can see a delicious little stack sent to me via fellow SF Correspondence Co-op members. (clockwise, starting with the turquoise blue postcard: Cece, RLD, S. Wurlitzer, The Punk Bassoon Connection, Gina Visione, and JU13)

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One of the things that made this particular stack so much fun was the fact that each card was postmarked from Burning Man (see above.) That’s right: the giant playa party in Nevada has its own PO and sends missives both internally (within the city limits of Burning Man) and externally (“real world” mailing addresses outside of Burning Man.)

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This year, the BRC PO set a goal to send 70,000 pieces of mail from Burning Man. I haven’t heard whether that goal was accomplished, but I applaud the Postal Playa Union for giving it a shot. I know how crazy my own “mail mountain” is, so anyone taking on an agenda of 70,000 pieces of mail is a hero in my mind.

For more info on the BRC PO (Black Rock City Post Office) and the Playa Postal Union, take a look here. And if you’ve heard anything about the outcome of this project, be sure to post in the comments!

–JH

 

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