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Posts Tagged ‘mail art’

RHR_10

This weekend I’m excited to be part of SF’s annual Zine Fest! It’s an event I’ve participated in for many years, and I always have a great time, meet fantastic people, and hear some wonderful stories.

RHR_art_04

Two exciting pieces of news: 1) I’ll be sharing a table with Maureen Forys of Happenstance Type-O-Rama (OMG, you have to see the “Herstory of Oakland” artistamp sheets she’s putting together…they’re AMAZING!) And 2) I’ll be debuting my new rubber stamp project called Red Handed Rubber Stamps.

RHRubber trims

For a RLD post-in-the-near-future, I’ll be writing in-depth about how Red Handed came into existence; I’ve been hard at work on this project for over a year! I know that many of you share my love for deep etched, red rubber, so of course you’ll understand that creating a line of rubber stamps seemed like a natural transition. At this moment in time, RHR is a wholesale only business. However, you can “get caught Red Handed” in the following places: The Ink Pad (NYC), Stampa Fe/Guadalupe’s Fun Rubber Stamps (Santa Fe), and Flax Art and Design (SF).

at flax_01

But back to this weekend, and SF Zine Fest! For those who are interested, I will have rubber stamps for sale at my table. RHR designs not currently stocked by Flax will be available. This is a special “one weekend only” opportunity to purchase directly from the source! Supplies are limited, so be sure to stop by early. I’ll be vending under the moniker of Red Letter Day at table #137.

prep for SFZF_01

I look forward to hearing what you think about the new rubber stamps and seeing what the mail art, rubber stamping, and paper crafting communities create using Red Handed Rubber. If you stamp up something using RHR stamps, send me a photo (or send to my mailbox!) I’ll be sure to post it on the Red Handed blog as a “Red Handed Gallery” post.

RHR_art_03

That being said, I’ll sign off for now! I hope to see some of you this weekend at the Fest; if we don’t cross paths in person, I’ll see you in the mail!

–JH

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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.”

03_baroni_GAC_mail_01

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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someday, I'll live here...

someday, I’ll live here…

March: in like a lion, out like a lamb! In my case, it’s actually the other way around, with things busier than ever. My calendar is quickly is filling up with neon pink pen marks and cutie Japanese place markers – sure signs that good things are on the horizon.

well of course -- mail art!

well of course — mail art!

I’m already looking forward to April: not only is it my birthday month (Aries people, REPRESENT!) but the weeks will be filled with multiple teaching gigs. Starting the whole thing off, I’ll be in Portland, Oregon for the Art and Soul Retreat. If you’ve ever wondered when I’d be workshopping in the great Pacific Northwest, now’s your chance to come and play!

"the yes men", made for cascadia art post...

“the yes men”, made for cascadia art post…

I’ll be teaching on April 12th (Saturday) and April 13th  (Sunday); Saturday’s “Hidden Surprises” carousel book class promises to be filled with TONS of creativity, rubber stamping, and book arts brainstorming!

And then on Sunday, I’m at it again, schooling students in the ways of mail art mayhem…

a little bit of outgoing mail...

a little bit of outgoing mail…

…which means MAKING and SENDING! Through a series of individual and group projects, students will learn about mail art practices, as well as gain inspiration from others in the class.

there's that mailman rubber stamp again!

there’s that mailman rubber stamp again!

We’ll spend part of the session creating faux postage (a.k.a “artistamps”) using a variety of techniques. Students end the day with sheets of artistamps they have created, ideas for future mail art projects, and the know-how to get involved in “the Eternal Network”.

working small...

working small…

After that, I’ll spend a couple days with friends and family in Portland (Powell’s Bookstore: LOOK OUT!) and then it’s back to San Francisco. My travel time to Portland is short, but I’m always on the lookout for fantastic new places to go. What do YOU suggest? SCRAP, Collage PDX, and the IPRC are all longtime faves, but I have a hunch that there are things I have yet to discover in Portland’s neighborhoods – let me know what cannot be missed!

discovered last year, in corvallis...

discovered last year, in corvallis…

Also: RLD readers may notice that I’ve made a small change to the layout of the RLD blog. To the right, I’ve added a column for “Classes & Sightings”, so that RLD readers can see upcoming workshops and Co-op meetings at a glance. If you’re looking for detailed info about any of the posted items, visit the “Classes & Sightings” page of the RLD blog – venues, registration info, and descriptions will be posted for your perusal.

the act of creating -- what fun!

the act of creating — what fun!

That’s a lot of exciting info for a Tuesday! If you register for a class at Art and Soul, be sure to post a comment and let me know – it may turn out that there’s a little surprise waiting for you in the classroom!

In all things postal –

–JH

 

 

 

 

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photo: USPS Stamps website

photo: uspsstamps.com

It’s always been a dream of mine to be recognized in some way by the USPS; now that dream has come true! Way back in January (I guess it wasn’t really that long ago…) I was interviewed by USPS Stamps about my mail art activities, what motivates a person to make/send so much mail, and some all around thoughts on the state of the postal system.

photo: uspsstamps.com

photo: uspsstamps.com

The result is this lovely article, which I am hoping mail artists near and far will agree with. As RLD readers know, part of the artistic process of mail art involves the post office and postage stamps, as well as a certain amount of trust that our mail will get from Point A to Point B. “The Postal Moderns” captures this idea perfectly, and I thank USPS Stamps for such a wonderful write up!

In all things postal —

–JH

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ben franklin knows best!

ben franklin knows best!

Hello RLD postal pals! March has already found its way into my mailbox – how can that even be possible?! I want to thank each and every single one of you for the incredible letters, postcards, and artwork you’ve been sending; springtime greetings, XPF thank yous … I’m always inspired by your creativity!

let this be a reminder to us all...

let this be a reminder to us all…

Speaking of XPF: in the days and weeks leading up to Ex Postal Facto, I found that my sense of time was wrapping around itself: there was either too much time or not enough time. Each minute of every single hour was filled with something to procure, a phone call to be made, or a question to answer.  My collection of lists for the weekend was something Santa Claus would aspire to (if he’s into ephemera!): scraps of paper safety pinned to lists of artists which were stapled to venue phone numbers.

please, please, pretty please...

please, please, pretty please…

The fact of the matter is: I LOVED putting together Ex Postal Facto. There were speed bumps, to be sure. But here’s the truth: from our very first planning meeting (one year ago!) to the final Sunday night dinner at Absinthe, I loved the exhilarating whirlwind of postal modernism and shared experience that has come to be known as Ex Postal Facto.

XPF badges, designed by Happenstance Type-O-Rama...

XPF badges, designed by Happenstance Type-O-Rama…

What else is there to say? I love organizing events. It’s a habit started in high school and I’ve never really stopped. Nightclub parties, catwalk shows, monthly get-togethers: event planning is something I’ve always done. There’s a certain kind of magic that happens when like-minded folks are in the same room, talking about the things they love; a shorthand language is created, steeped in excitement and the fact that certain things don’t have to be explained, are just understood. When all the details have been orchestrated just so and that magic happens, it’s unlike anything else in the world.

SUCCESS!

SUCCESS!

The Ex Postal Facto Conference was not only about meeting people for the first time, it was about meeting people you thought you’d never have the chance to meet. It was about gaining a deeper understanding of mail art culture and community (if you’re relatively new to the scene) or being reminded why you got into the scene in the first place (if you’ve been involved for awhile). The weekend was a fuel-injected shot into the mail art Network; for individual artists, it was a validation/reaffirmation that this thing we do (i.e. sending mail via the posts/creating connection) is not only alive and well, but more important than ever before.

“So, what’s next?”

A lot of folks have been asking me that question lately. While I won’t go into specifics here and now, what I can say is that things are already shaping up. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing these exciting developments with RLD readers: items like teaching/workshop dates, Correspondence Co-op get-togethers, and (!!!) a project-of-epic-proportions which I think you’ll find very exciting. There’s never a dull moment here, and 2014 is proving that once you get the ball rolling, things just keep gaining momentum!

–JH

PS: interested in ordering an exhibition catalogs for the “mail/art/book” show? Info can be found at the Ex Postal Facto website.

PPS: there are still a handful of XPF logo rubber stamps and XPF logo badges which can be ordered via the RLD online store; once they’re gone, they’re gone!

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Celebrating Art's Birthday on January 17th, 2010 -- thanks to Robert Filliou & the Eternal Network!

(edit: it’s becoming somewhat of a tradition that I post this particular article on January 17th. Read further to see why!))

You may or may not have known, but today is Art’s birthday.

You remember, you’ve met Art before: the last time you snatched up a fountain pen, inked a rubber stamp, or folded a snazzy envelope…that’s Art.

is this Art? yes -- I believe it is...
is this Art? yes — I believe it is…

The idea of Art’s Birthday was introduced by Robert Filliou in 1963. The idea goes something like this: 1,000,000 years ago, there was no art. (!) But one day, on the 17th of January to be precise, Art was born. (!!) According to Filliou, it happened when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water. (!!!) And thus a new holiday was born. Art’s birthday is celebrated in a wide variety of ways throughout the world; there are accounts of musical/noise recordings, get-togethers in which artists build/exchange “gifts” to/for Art, or all-night birthday parties/celebrations.

ask yourself a question...
ask yourself a question…

Mail artists feel a special affinity for Art’s Birthday; Filliou and Fluxus artist George Brecht introduced the term “Eternal Network” to the art world (circa 1965), and mail artists have adopted this phrase for their own usage. Filliou himself believed that art didn’t have to express itself as an object (i.e. a painting/sculpture/tangible something-or-other). He saw art as a form of play that could even occur as unrealized notions, which is a view which stays with us today, stronger than ever.

tools of my trade...
tools of my trade…

One of the important ideas attached to the Eternal Network, (or “La Fête Permanente”/ The Constant Festival as it is also known) is that “the artist must be aware that he is part of a larger social network, part of the “Constant Festival” which surrounds him everywhere and elsewhere in the world.” For mail artists, this notion is always at work — creating, sending, and receiving in return are the gears that keep postal machinery running and mailboxes full.

Filliou went on the travel the world, as well as conduct interactive art experiments and events. His constant study of Zen Buddhism led him to incorporate many of it’s core beliefs into both film and art works. In 1987, after creating his final piece (Time is a Nutshell), Robert Filliou passed away.

hand carved, hand perfed, hand stamped!
hand carved, hand perfed, hand stamped!

We are left with a yearly celebration, a time to consider how important this thing named “art” is to us. Take a moment to create, to reflect, to share. How do you live with your art/works? What promises do you make to Art, and yourself?

Making is doing. Creating is learning. Art is all around us, in big things and tiny glimpses.

–JH

PS: the recent book “Felt: Fluxus, Joseph Beuys, and the Dalai Lama” by Chris Thompson is a fascinating look at the way western art met eastern philosophy when Robert Filliou and Dutch artist Louwrien Wijers arranged a meeting between avant garde artists and the Dalai Lama in 1982. Definitely worth a look if you’re interested in avant garde art history and it’s intersection with eastern philosophy.

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skulls, stripes, and pirates...what's not to love?

skulls, stripes, and pirates…what’s not to love?

Halloween: it arrived in a bustle of candy corn, glitter pink eye shadow (for the costume, I swear!) and a small size, petite pumpkin. “When did that happen?!” I asked myself. “It seems like May was just last week…”

perhaps you need a dental plan?

perhaps you need a dental plan?

San Francisco loves itself some Halloween – if you’ve lived here for even a couple of years, you’ll learn that important lesson. We take it seriously. This is a holiday not to be taken lightly.

the perfect envelope!

the perfect envelope!

I never really need an excuse to purchase accessories involving the colors black and/or orange, cats with huge eyes or CANDY. All the more exciting if those accessories can be used to mail Important Halloween Documents!

a box of BOO!

a box of BOO!

I grew up on the spooky side of the street – literally. (my goth street cred is pretty high.) Add to that the fact that my mum’s birthday is on Halloween and you can probably see how this whole thing ended up: by sending a celebratory birthday box of mystery! (there was even some acknowledgment of the box’s “coolness” when I took it to the PO – a different one from my usual spot…)

look at that fabulous orange paper!

look at that fabulous orange paper!

I made sure to whip up a few eerie postcards and was thrilled to be using some new seasonal rubber stamps in the mix…

I find I'm appreciating the neon more these days...

I find I’m appreciating the neon more these days…

But wait! The festivities weren’t finished! This past Sunday, the SF Public Library and SF Correspondence Co-op hosted “Gone But Not Forgotten: Correspondence Calaveras” at the SFPL. What’s a correspondence calavera, you say?

but I also love the red and blue...

but I also love the red and blue…

It is an opportunity to write a message, memory, anecdote, or poem about a loved one near or far. Attendees were invited to decorate their postcards using a variety of different techniques, and then post them in the Co-op mailbox at the event.

some Posada rubber stamps I had made especially for the event...

some Posada rubber stamps I had made especially for the event…

Co-op members will affix postage and mail these calaveras within the next week or so.

in the moment...

in the moment…

I had silkscreened two hundred postcards; by the end of the event, only a handful remained. Regular Co-op members were in attendance, but library patrons also drifted through – some staying for the whole of the event, others watching silently for a few minutes and then leaving.

a bit of down time...

a bit of down time…

What brought them to this particular event? Some were simply curious, others wanted to write a postcard to remember a loved one. A few were stymied by the concept: “Who would I send a postcard to? And why?” After some guidance and explanation, I could see the “aha!” moment happen. These were the folks who decided to sit down and stay for awhile.

still life, with Posada...

still life, with Posada…

When things were all wrapped up, it was incredibly satisfying to look inside the event mailbox and see all of those postcards filled out, waiting to be stamped and sent out into the world. From where I’m standing, that’s a true measure of success: each postcard represents a person who took the time to brighten another person’s day with the simple act of writing a message down on a piece of paper.

perfectly perfect...

perfectly perfect…

While the holiday of Dia de los Muertos is primarily about remembering those who have come before us, we should also recognize those who surround us every day – and remind ourselves that we have the best of both possible worlds.

–JH

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