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Posts Tagged ‘artistamps’

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It’s that time of year again: San Francisco Zine Fest time! Taking place September 6th, 2015 at the SF County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park, this year’s DIY extravaganza is gearing up to be something else.

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Just like last year, Miz Happenstance and I will be sharing a table! And also (just like last year) I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll have a riot of rubber stamps, postal mayhem, and brightly colored goodies for you to look through!

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I’ve managed to put together full sets of issues 1-4 of Red Letter Day…

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…as well as some new copies of Posted (a zine all about artistamps and why I make them.)

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(I’ve got a couple new things I’m hoping to get put together before the event.)

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I’ll also have a selection of Red Handed Rubber Stamps on the table for your delight and consideration! Pro tip: it’s NEVER too late to consider your rubber needs for Halloween and the holidays. Interested in a placing a “special order” and picking up at the Fest? Get in touch (redhandedrubber@gmail.com) and let me know what I can bring to SFZF especially for YOU!

Alrighty: it’s back to the studio for me – of course I’m burning the midnight oil for the next two weeks!

–JH

PS: details about SFZF 2015 can be found at their website: www.sfzinefest.org. Two items of note: 1) SFZF2015 is a ONE DAY EVENT this year and 2) BART will not be running the weekend of September 5th and 6th. You’ve been warned!

 

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(above: samples from the “Introduction to Bookbinding” class taught by Red Letter Day)

It always seems weird to me, every single time: in the middle of summer (or fall or winter) I’m sitting down with my datebook to plan up a storm of teaching. Any workshop instructor knows that most classes are scheduled well in advance; that means I’m already well into the planning stages for holiday 2015 classes while most folks are packing the RV and heading off to Lake Tahoe.

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(above: Non Adhesive Accordion Books, 09.23, SFCB)

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(above: The Book of Flim Flam, 08.24, SFCB)

This year is no exception! If you’re here in the San Francisco bay area, I’d love to see you in one of my classes at the San Francisco Center for the Book.

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(above: Creative Carousel Books, 10.11, SFCB)

I’ll be teaching plenty of favorites: “Faux Postage”, “Creative Carousel Books”, and “Non-Adhesive Accordion Books”…

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(above: Fabulous Faux Postage, 11.18, SFCB)

…as well as a new class or two! (“The Book of Flim Flam” and “Single Signature Hardcover Binding”)

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(above: student work from the Creative Carousel Books class)

Needless to say, there’s something for everyone, regardless of skill set! Just think: if you start planning now, you can give a handmade gift from the heart during the holiday season. Perhaps you’d like to design artistamps for your outgoing kringle mail; maybe Auntie Grace or a nephew would like a created-just-for-them journal. Whatever the case, I’ll be teaching a class that shows you how-to!

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(above: “Introduction to Bookbinding” samples)

Dream it and DO it! (and I’ll see you in class!)

–JH

For more info, visit SF Center for the Book –> Workshops, and search by either “month” or “type”; my workshops fall under both “binding” and “arts”.

 

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GAC artistamp...

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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envelope and artwork by Carl Chew...

envelope and artwork by Carl Chew…

The Italian Cultural Institute is currently hosting the exhibition “Guglielmo Achille Cavellini : 1914 – 2014” in San Francisco.

I stopped by last week to take a look.

title: "stamp homage to picasso"

title: “stamp homage to picasso”

title: "heirloom (text on felt)"

title: “heirloom (text on felt)”

From the art-agenda website: “In 1971, Cavellini coined the term auto-storicizzazione (self-historicization) after he designed sixteen different museum posters each featuring the years “1914–2014″ and the date of a solo exhibition celebrating the centennial anniversary of his birth.”

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Also: “On view are 14 pieces among which are two pivotal series “Crates with Destroyed Works” (1966–1970) and “From the Page of the Encyclopedia” (1973). “Crates with Destroyed Works” is a collection of works Cavellini made by destroying the pieces he was creating and subsequently encasing them into crates. These works originated from an internal and emotional source, revealing an attitude brought about by a deep and obsessive self-search.”

title: "int'l postage 33" (close up)

title: “int’l postage 33” (close up)

And: ” “From the Page of the Encyclopedia” is a series of works originating from a theoretical and linguistic code Cavellini invented as a direct consequence of self-historicization. Starting from actual biography, Cavellini expanded his own life story to temporal hyperbolic appropriations. Fabric, objects, clothing and living bodies would become a direct canvas for Cavellini to “paint” his story.”

GAC artistamp...

GAC artistamp…

The works of Cavellini will be on display until June 8th; a comprehensive, 70 page catalog of the exhibition (published by Colpa Press) is available at the gallery. For more information visit the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco.

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I'll take a dozen! (recipe and photo via the "Hoosier Homemade" blog...)

I’ll take a dozen! (recipe and photo via the “Hoosier Homemade” blog…)

September is one of those months I get really excited about: new school supplies in the aisles, warmer weather takes over (note: SF’s “summer season” has arrived!), and Halloween is right around the corner.

september ='s mt. correspondence?

september =’s mt. correspondence?

Filling the last of my pre-“back to school” days, I’ve been working on a project for friend and postal correspondent extraordinaire, Alyson Kuhn. Let’s just say the project involves Mr. Zip, perforations, and a trip to the National Postal Museum this week!

such a fabulous new space for philatelics!

such a fabulous new space for philatelics!

Here’s the skinny: this coming Sunday, September 22nd, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum is unveiling the William H. Gross Gallery – home to the largest and most complete collection of philatelic treasures in the world.

and get an eyeful of those AMAZING stain glass windows!

and get an eyeful of those AMAZING stain glass windows!

Exciting, right? But things got even more exciting when I found out that Alyson was organizing a Correspondence Salon for Ladies and Gentlemen on the day of the event. The more I heard about the Salon (correspondence kits, letterpress blotters, a selection of themed postage) the more I wanted to be involved. “I could design a commemorative Cinderella for the occasion, something to go along with the Correspondence Kits,” I suggested (with fingers crossed); Alyson thought it was a great idea and work got underway, right away!

laptops were involved, as well as pantone swatchbooks...

laptops were involved, as well as pantone swatchbooks…

Rolling up my sleeves, I settled down to design some Zippy cinderellas. When completed (and printed!) it was time to step away from the computer and move into the studio.

it seems like I'm always posting photos of the messy studio!

it seems like I’m always posting photos of the messy studio!

(but I obviously had to clear some table space first!)

looking in the rear view mirror to see where I'm going...

looking in the rear view mirror to see where I’m going…

Imagine: when you get behind the wheel of a car and head out to a place you’ve never been before, you usually consult a map of some sort, whether digital or paper. Perforating a big job is kinda the same: I usually print up a “road map” of guidelines that tell me where to perf and where to trim…

good to go!

good to go!

Then it’s show time! Each artistamp sheet had twelve rows of perf-ing per sheet. Did I mention that I was putting together four hundred of these guys? No? Well…

perforated "snow"...

perforated “snow”…

But here’s the tricky part: after everything gets perforated, it has to be trimmed down. Did you see that narrow horizontal space between two perfed rows, in the center of the paper (previous photo, above)? That’s where I had to make my first horizontal trim. I held my breath every time I made a cut!

on to the next part of the process...

on to the next part of the process…

The next-to-last part of the process involved hand stamping each Cinderella sheet. I decided to use primary color (ink pads) since I didn’t want to distract from the overall design – and you can never go wrong with blue, red, and black, right? Small sized cancellation stamps came in handy for this part of the process, as well as my trusty date stamper (which I used to number each sheet).

awaiting glassine envelopes...

awaiting glassine envelopes…

Overall, the project took about a month to put together, from start (initial design) to finish (shipping it off to the museum). And what a dream project: creating a set of artistamps for an event taking place at the National Postal Museum, while working with one of my favorite philatelist friends.

I'm hoping I meet these guys at the shindig!

I’m hoping I meet these guys at the shindig!

The dream gets even better: I’ll be attending the event at the National Postal Museum in person! It will be my first time at the museum and I’m overjoyed to be present for such an auspicious occasion. I expect the weekend will be somewhere along the lines of “Christmas-Day-combined-with-everything-you’ve-ever-hoped-for”, in relation to my mood.

on a recent visit to sf's coit tower...

on a recent visit to sf’s coit tower…

So here’s a question for you, dear RLD readers! Will anyone else be stopping by the NPM on September 22nd? If the answer is “yes”, we should have a get together! I hear that America’s first Postmaster (Ben Franklin) is going to put in an appearance, and possibly Mr. Zip (gasp!). And then there’s that whole “special cancellation of the day” thing…you better believe I’m bringing handfuls of mail art to send out with THAT special postmark.

Hoping to cross paths postally or in person!

–JH

PS: now I’ve gone and done it – that’s right. Red Letter Day is on Instagram and I’ll be sending out photos from the event! If interested, you can find me by searching “red letter day zine”…

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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!)

dreamy...

dreamy…

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 –

–JH

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Ray Johnson, bunny heads, perforations -- swoon!

Ray Johnson, bunny heads, perforations — swoon!

 

June 1st,  2012 will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the day that one of my long-held artistamp dreams came true.

For years, I’d been on the hunt for a Rosback perforator – the “holy grail” of artistamp makers. Still in business today, the Rosback Company in St. Joseph, Michigan manufactures a range of equipment for binderies: perfect binders, paper drills, saddle stitchers, and yes – perforators.

this would have been my dream job, in 1932...

this would have been my dream job, in 1932…

But my heart was set on one of their “old school” models: something foot operated, manufactured in the 1880’s (or there abouts). I knew other artistamp makers who had their own Rosbacks; they all told me different versions of the same stories: they’d inherited their perforators from other artistamp makers or looked for years to find such a machine, usually in a dusty warehouse or at an auction sale.

a careful observation of all items...

a careful observation of all items…

I took to combing Craig’s List at odd hours of the night, using search terms that were only vaguely related to printing equipment. And then one day in May, I received an email. There was a Rosback for sale, closer than I had dared to hope: a barn in Napa! Unbelievable.

a new model...and extra heavy!

a new model…and extra heavy!

More emails sent quickly back and forth — it was decided: I was the proud owner of a Rosback perforator, circa 1888!

That meant making space in the studio:

have I mentioned how much I dislike this part of the process?

have I mentioned how much I disliked this part of the process?

And getting things out of the way:

...but somehow, space was acquired.

…but somehow, space was acquired.

June 1st : the big day had arrived. “Mr. Rosback” arrived in the neighborhood on the back of a liftgate truck, to the amazement of neighbors. I imagined the truck driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, freeway drivers catching a glimpse of this crazy looking machine and wondering to themselves “what the heck is THAT?!?”

like a parade float, but BETTER!

like a parade float, but BETTER!

As it was, people walking past the studio stopped to ask that very question. “It’s a perforator,” I’d reply proudly. “for making postage stamps.” Incredulous, the neighbors wanted to know more, see how such a thing worked.

routine maintenance...

routine maintenance…

All told, the move was over and done with in a quick 45 minutes. After all the bustle had died down, I spent the rest of the day making friends with my new BFF. That meant disassembling all moving parts, tabletop to under-the-hood. Mr. Rosback was in good shape, but after living in a barn in Napa for well over a decade (or more), he was ready for a good scrubbing and oiling.

the happy couple!

the happy couple!

I replaced some of the older perforating pins with nice sharp ones and refinished the work surface using linseed oil (as suggested by Nick Yeager of Biblioforge). Suddenly, the studio smelled like a painter’s atelier – which I loved. I imagined Mr. Rosback settling in to my cozy space, enjoying the garden outside and Oscar Peterson playing on the radio.

artistamp eyecandy...

artistamp eyecandy…

One year later and we’ve created many stamp sheets together, Mr. Rosback and I.  With every artistamp project I pull together, I’m thankful we managed to find each other in the giant wilderness of printing and binding equipment. For my fine perforating friend I say this: happy anniversary to you  – and may this be the first of many years to come!

–JH

PS: interested in perforated sheets for your artistamps? Get in touch; I may have just the thing on hand!

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