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Posts Tagged ‘artistamps’

this is the desk of a hardworking girl!

this is the desk of a hardworking girl!

Great news for RLD readers: I’ve done a thorough dusting of the Red Letter Day store and taken the “gone fishing” sign off the front door – just in time for valentine’s day! Perhaps you’d like a special something-or-other for a postally-inclined person in your life; maybe you’d like to pick up a little goodie for yourself – I have the perfect solution!

it's a little over a week away!

it’s a little over a week away!

Treats galore await you at the RLD store: valentine’s day items, artistamp sheets, and zines are just a few of the things you’ll find. Each item is hand made by Jennie at the Red Letter Day studio in San Francisco. Quantities are limited, so be sure to make your purchases early in order to get the best selection.

yesterday was "super-correspondence sunday"!

yesterday was “super-correspondence sunday”!

Clicking right here (or on the “RLD store” link in the sidebar) will whisk you away to a papery postal paradise! Questions about specific items that you see for sale? Just send me an email at: redletterdayzine@gmail.com

In all things postal, I remain –

–JH

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a smattering of artistamps...

a smattering of artistamps…

It’s been quite some time since I’ve visited Seattle, but after this past weekend all of that may change.

did your mouth start watering, even just a little bit? Me too...

did your mouth start watering, even just a little bit? Me too…

Regular readers of the RLD blog probably know that I spent this past weekend in Seattle, attending AARPEX (the Artistamp Reunion and Philatelic Expo). This was the “first time in a long time” that many of these original artistamp movers and shakers had been in the same room together. All things considered, it was a pretty historic event.

life without interns...

life without interns…

And what would a vendor expo or conference be, if I wasn’t putting things together at the last minute in the airport?

delicious, delicious, delicious...

delicious, delicious, delicious…

AARPEX was organized by Carl Chew (Triangle Post) and Robert Rudine (Tui Tui); special guests of honor were Anna Banana (Banana Post) and EF Higgins (Dooda Post). While I’d heard Carl’s name around the Network for a long time, I’d hadn’t had the pleasure of corresponding with him until recently (for AARPEX).  With his hearty laugh and ready smile, Carl made all of the out-of-towners feel right at home.

would you let these two use your Rossbach perforator?...

would you let these two use your Rossbach perforator?…

If you’re one of those “why are things the way they are?” history nerds when it comes to mail art, you’ve probably seen the name James Felter (Postes Mraur) around the ‘Net. As one of the early advocates and creators of artistamps, his work is invaluable to anyone currently creating faux postage. Like Felter, EF Higgins (Dooda Post) has also been making artistamps since the late ‘70’s, incorporating a wide variety of techniques and processes into his work. As of 2009, he had created over 780 artistamp editions.

Mailarta reigns supreme, with Aarpy at her side...

Mailarta reigns supreme, with Aarpy at her side…

Dame Mailarta was in attendance, with a table full of brightly colored stamp sheets and a winning smile. It was an honor to meet one of my fellow “Women in the Artistamp Spotlight” creators! We talked millinery for a little bit, as I was entranced with her custom-created AARPEX chapeaux.

a table filled with wonderous artistamps...

a table filled with wonderous artistamps…

Cascadia Artpost and I have been long time correspondents; it’s always a treat to see his crisp design and tongue-in-cheek humor grace my PO box. The day-long vending session passed quickly, as Cascadia regaled me with tales of artistamp adventures and mailings-of-days-gone-by…

Bugpost had an impeccable sense of style...

Bugpost had an impeccable sense of style…

Bugpost gave me a lift to the event in the “purple swirl-mobile”; I was charmed from the moment I spied his yellow knit cap and lime green winklepicker shoes. With a table full of items culled from garage and basement, there was mail art treasure to discover under every scrap of paper and old envelope. Bug’s table was like Christmas to me; sifting through the bits and pieces was a great way to spend the time.

still life, at the MOA (Museum of Artistamps)...

still life, at the MOA (Museum of Artistamps)…

And that was just the first day! After a night of not-alot-of-sleep (I was too jacked up on amazing graphic design possibilities and a whirled brain of everybody I’d just met), I piled into a car with Sally Wurlitzer and the Fabulous K. in order to attend the grand opening of the Museum of Artistamps (MOA).

would you let these two brandish rubber stamps in your presence?

would you let these two brandish rubber stamps in your presence?

Of course there were high jinks. And stories. Lots of laughter, and a slight twinge of sadness that we would have to part ways in a few hours. But for the most part, we didn’t let that stop us. There was a ribbon cutting to celebrate the museum’s opening, chocolate cake, and binder after binder of incredible artistamps to look at.

true or false, we've got patches to prove it.

true or false, we’ve got patches to prove it.

An unbelievable weekend, spent in the presence of incredibly talented, warm hearted folks; even the Seattle weather (for the most part) cooperated. Taking part in AARPEX reminded me that some of the best people you can meet are the ones you correspond with; I was further reminded that when you meet those folks in person and everything is right, there’s nothing else like it in the world.

–JH

PS: I would like to specially thank Carl Chew, Robert Rudine, Jas Felter and Ed Varney for their generosity of spirit and unceasing graciousness. This was a magical weekend; it couldn’t have happened without you. Also: my thanks to RLD readers Lisa H., Millie, Sandi, and Debbie for coming by and saying “hello”! 🙂

PPS: a few more artistamp makers involved in the weekend (apologies to anyone who I may have missed!):

Steve Smith/Art Gone Postal

Harley/Terra Candella

Kathleen McHugh

Teesha Moore

Jere Smith

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what's AARPEX stand for?...

what’s AARPEX stand for?…

I’m hard at work getting ready for this weekend’s AARPEX event (Artistamp Artists Reunion & Philatelic Expo) in Seattle; RLD readers and/or mail artists should clear their Saturday schedule come on over to University House!

check out that all-star line up of artistamp/mail art big wigs!

check out that all-star line up of artistamp/mail art big wigs!

This promises to be an AMAZING event. Throughout the day I will be vending (as well as other artistamp creators); in the afternoon, Anna Banana (Vancouver BC) and EF Higgins (New York) will both give lectures on the history/lore of artistamps. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg; other artists include Cascadia Artpost, Triangle Post, Mailarta Queen of Poste and Teesha Moore.

SF Co-op passport page, filled with artistamps!

SF Co-op passport page, filled with artistamps…

In addition to putting together a suitcase full of new goodies (a new zine! multiple artistamp sheets!), I’ll be bringing along parts of my archive to show-n-tell. Won’t you come by and say hello? It would be fabulous to see you!

don't tell anyone, but this was dinner...

don’t tell anyone, but this was dinner (the candy corn, not the glue stick!)

Details: AARPEX is free and open to the public on Saturday, November 10th, 2012. Hours run from 10:30am – 5:00pm.

Location: University House, 4400 Stone Way N. , Seattle WA, 98103 (map)

Schedule of events: 

  • 10:30am: doors open to the public
  • 1:30pm: lecture by Anna Banana
  • 2:30pm: lecture by E.F. Higgins
  • 5:30pm: event closes

(a full roster of participants can be found here.)

Hope to see you on Saturday!

–JH

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…here are some fabby photos of what I’ll be taking to the NYABF in a few short days:

as you can see from this photo, I've been burning the late night oil...

as you can see from this photo, I’ve been burning the late night oil…

I’m starting to recover some flat, horizontal space in my studio (as elusive as a unicorn) now that I’m actually packing things into a suitcase. I feel like I’m not taking enough, and yet the suitcase manages to be almost, nearly full.

a page spread for this tiny flux-book...

a page spread for this tiny flux-book…

and here it is, assembled:

2 x 2 inches square!

2 x 2 inches square!

There’s also a myriad of new things “postal-flux” related:

like these guys...

like these guys…

and this sheet of artistamps (with zine!)

and this sheet of artistamps (with zine!)

and these guys:

ummm, yeah, that's a Ray Johnson flip book...

ummm, yeah, that’s a Ray Johnson flip book…

In addition to edition-ing the tiny “flux-book” shown above (an edition of 15), I’m also putting together a new artists’ book called “Postal Desire” which will be an edition of 6:

delicious, no?

delicious, no?

And there you have it! Cross your fingers that I manage to sell EVERYTHING! 🙂

My next post will be from the book fair — watch out!

Your postal pal —

–JH

 

 

 

 

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every morning should start out with a little bit of letter writing, no?

every morning should start out with a little bit of letter writing, no?

I’ve been receiving a lot of lovely feedback lately about the RLD blog – you’ve been sending both email and real mail to let me know that you’re enjoying the mail art musings found at this very URL. For that, I absolutely have to thank you: I feel extraordinarily lucky for all of your support and enthusiasm shown throughout the past year! Without you guys, this blog would just be a lot of sound and fury (with some fairly decent photos…)

yes, i -did- send this through the mail...

yes, i -did- send this through the mail...

When it comes to the RLD blog, one of my main goals has always been to introduce people to the always-interesting, constantly evolving global Network of mail artists, as well as build a sense of togetherness among the group we’ve got going here. Every comment left on the RLD blog is read and remarked upon, each postcard at the mailbox is answered and archived (apologies for the sometimes-slow response time!). When you think about it, we are creating something together — you and I — something larger than words written via this blog or a typewritten letter sent through the mail. We are building a worthwhile community of passionate people who share a common interest.

photo via the website "Old Photos of Japan"...

photo via the website "Old Photos of Japan"...

That being said, I have to be honest with you: my energies have been divided lately. I’d like to tell you what I’ve been up to, what’s been occupying my time lately. It’s something that I think you’ll find interesting, and perhaps you’ll help me out.

As you know, one month ago the northern coast of Japan was ravaged by both an earthquake and a tsunami. In the 72 hours that followed, news and information (for non-Japanese speakers) was spotty; electricity in that part of the country was non-existent, which meant communication by cell phone or internet was impossible. Outside of Japan, obtaining news of friends and loved ones became a waiting game, the endless “refreshing” of Google’s “People Finder” page on the web or waiting to hear a familiar voice on the voicemail.

it all starts with stacks of paper...

it all starts with stacks of paper...

As many of you also know, I have a longstanding relationship with Japanese culture and the country itself. It’s not something I’ve ever been able to explain or rationalize, it’s just always been “that way”, ever since I was a little kid. When I first heard about the disaster, my mind immediately flew to my Japanese friends, frantic to know if they were safe.

making a mock up of the project is oh-so-important...

making a mock up of the project is oh-so-important...

Most of my friends are located in Tokyo or Osaka, beyond the areas hardest hit. However, that didn’t diminish the anxiety I felt, powerless to do anything on this side of the world. As newspapers and media in the U.S. became more hysterical, I knew I had to do something to give voice to my own thoughts and feelings surrounding the calamity.

making a mock up of the project is oh-so-important...

putting together the page layouts (take a look at those perfed stamps!)

But what could I do? Over the course of an afternoon, I brainstormed a few different ideas: perhaps a mail art show of some sort? A group art show/benefit? How about a general plea for funds from family and friends? Each of those ideas seemed o.k., but I wanted to do something timely which could be put together fairly quickly. Waiting for mail art to arrive so that it could be installed in a show would take far too long. Herding together a group of artists and work seemed unmanageable, given time and budget constraints.

there's always a list of endless things to do...

theres always a list of endless things to do...

What could I do? The answer was there, once I really thought about it: I could write. A zine. Give myself a short amount of time to write, edit, and put the thing together – almost like a personal challenge, motivated by a crazy, itchy feeling of “I have to do something “. Write about my constant feeling of not knowing, of waiting, of holding my breath and waiting desperately for an email to appear.

That’s the main story behind “Shaken”.

old school cutting and paste-ing, zinester style...

old school cutting and paste-ing, zinester style...

Created in an edition of forty, this zine is my perspective around last month’s earthquake. Each copy is sewn together by hand and comes with a plate block of specially designed artistamps included within the pages of the zine. Written and edited in four days, “Shaken” was put together in exactly eight days.

i thought i was going to staple, but then i decided to sew...

i thought i was going to staple, but then i decided to sew...

I know that many of you have already donated to relief organizations – there have been so many different ways to help the victims of this staggering tragedy. But if you feel that you would like to help out a tiny bit more, I would encourage you to purchase a copy of “Shaken”. All proceeds from sales of this zine go directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Clicking on this link will take you directly to the Red Letter Day storefront (more on that next week!); remember – there’s only forty of these little guys…once they’re gone, they’re gone!

"Shaken", as seen from above...

"Shaken", as seen from above...

So there you have it – that’s what I’ve been up to. A lot of writing, a lot of making, a lot of creating. It’s been a whirlwind two-ish weeks, filled with lots of hills and valleys. At the end of the day, I’m pretty happy with “Shaken” even though it wasn’t an easy project to put together. I’m sharing my news about it because I know that we’re friends, you and I; we’ve spent the last year or so trading ideas and getting excited about the sorts of things we love: the written word, communicated artfully in a sincere way. Even if you don’t take a copy of “Shaken” home with you, I know you’ll be rooting for the project – and that means a lot. For that, I thank you.

–JH

If you are interested in helping the people of Japan who have been affected by the earthquake/tsunami in other ways, here are some great suggestions:

3000 Letters for Japan (via the JET program)

Quilts for Japan

“For You/With You” mail art project,via mail artist Toki Tama (website is in English and Japanese)

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John Held Jr. envelope, circa 1995 (photo by Jim Leftwich, via flickr)

John Held Jr. envelope, circa 1995 (photo by Jim Leftwich, via flickr)

 

I first met John Held Jr. (the mail artist, not the 1920’s illustrator) at the SF Center for the Book in 2005. I was part of the co-ordination and installation crew for the “Multiplicity for Millions” show: an extravaganza of old and new rubber stamps pulled from the collections of L. Scott Helmes and Picasso Gaglione, which highlighted the history of rubber stamping through the ages. Back in ’05, I was just getting my feet wet in the SF mail art culture, didn’t really know any of the “who’s who” mail artists around town yet. Oh sure, I had heard of Stamp Art Gallery/Stamp Francisco, west coast versions of NYCS dinners, and knew that there was a Network of SF mail artists. I just hadn’t gotten into the swing of SF-style mail art networking at that point; I was sending stuff halfway around the world, but had yet to meet folks in my own backyard. But on the night of the opening, surrounded by mail artists and rubber stampers and book arts people, my friend Steve Woodall mentioned that I should meet Held. “He’s got an old style perforator in his garage,” Steve told me. “I think you guys might get along.”

 

John Held Jr. & Mike Dickau: "My Spiritual Life", 2004

John Held Jr. & Mike Dickau: "My Spiritual Life", 2004

 

John Held Jr. is easily one of the most vocal and passionate advocates of mail art and artistamps in the community today. Armed with a MLS in Information Studies and having a formidable background in modern art, this is a man who can easily talk about the use of rubber stamps during the French Resistance or the latest trends in masked Mexican wrestling. It’s all up for grabs, so the best thing to do is just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

 

John Held Jr. mail art, circa 2006 (photo by Jim Leftwich, via flickr)

John Held Jr. mail art, circa 2006 (photo by Jim Leftwich, via flickr)

 

Networking since 1975, he has met and been influenced by some of the “greats”: Ray Johnson, John Cage, Dick Higgins, George Maciunas (to name a bare minimum). He has traveled around the globe – Europe, the Ukraine, Japan, back and forth across the US – to meet other mail artists, give lectures, and curate shows.

 

full page perforating...

full of page perforating...

 

This has been a banner year for Held, as far as introducing the general public to mail art is concerned: in April, he curated a mail art show at the Stendal Gallery in NYC. As part of the Black Mountain College’s “Re-Viewing Black Mountain College 2” conference which takes place this weekend, he has curated a mail art show (Ray Johnson was a BMC grad) and will present a lecture titled “BMC to DiY: Mail Art Exhibition & Curator’s Talk”. And last, but not least, there is tomorrow night’s opening here in San Francisco.

 

this is not a matchbox...

ceci n'est pas une matchbook...

 

“40 Years of Debris From the Cultural Underground” pulls from Held’s extensive archive of mail art, zines, fluxus objects, and artistamps. Evergold Gallery is hosting the show, which will be up through the month of October. From the gallery’s press release: “Held’s interest in the diffusion of open cultural participation over long distances through DIY practice led to active involvement in the fields of mail art, rubber stamps, and zines. Aspects of these fields, as well as Held’s involvement with them, are presented in this retrospective exhibition blending art and life over a forty year period.”

Well. That sounds pretty awesome to me. Mail art, zines, and rubber stamps?

What more does a girl need, really?


 

John Held Jr. and Mike Dickau's artistamp sheet for "We'll Chop His Suey When He's Gone"...

John Held Jr. and Mike Dickau's artistamp sheet for "We'll Chop His Suey When He's Gone"...

 

And take a look at the artists included (also from Evergold’s info): “Local artists included in the exhibition (via Held’s collection) include the late David Ireland, Tom Marioni, Bay Area Dada (Tim Mancusi, Marlon Vito Picasso, and Monte Cazazza, among others ), Charles Gatewood, Greg Edwards, Wanxin Zhang, Harley, Jokie X. Wilson, Jennie Hinchcliff, Mike Dickau, and Alice So.”

I’ll see you at the opening tomorrow night! Come up and say “howdy” and I bet I’ll have a special something to give to you!

–JH

PS: take a look at the “Classes & Sightings” page for a full list of events scheduled to take place throughout the run of the show…

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an example of Zazzle in action!

an example of Zazzle in action!

…did you know, my postally-obsessed readers, that design-your-own-postage place Zazzle is having a two day sale? My correspondent Doug T. from San Jose tipped me off. Today and tomorrow only, all postage is discounted $8.80 — that’s a great deal! It’s known as the “We Pay Your Face Value Sale”, and you’ll need to type in a discount code when you complete your order.

Go forth and create awesome postage!

Remember: the sale ends tomorrow, July 14th!

–JH

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