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Posts Tagged ‘red letter day zine’

01_grand newsstand_01

So: SF Zine Fest has come and gone for another year. Always a whirlwind extravaganza, always an amazing visual feast. There’s something for everyone, and this year was no different. I present for you: a small wrap up of delicious items!

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But first: LOOK AT THAT CROWD! It was like that all. darn. day. There was never an ebb and flow, just a steady stream of attendees who were revved up and ready to look at zines, small press books, and a variety of DIY goodies…

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…which I was more than happy to have at my little slice of table! As you can see from the photo above, I had a selection of Red Handed Rubber, as well as issues of Red Letter Day 1-4. I had also put together copies of “Posted”, “Hello! My Name Is Mail Art!”, and “Penmanship” — y’know: the usual postal and letter writing bling.

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I was sharing a table with Miz Happenstance, who had created two new AMAZING stamp sheets for her “Herstorical Women of Oakland” artistamp series (shown above)…

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…as well as these “Cat Superpowers” badges, which were like CATNIP (see what I did there?) for zinesters of all ages (and a BARGAIN at five bucks!)

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You may remember my write up of The Grand Newsstand from last week’s post; well, lucky me! Courtney was just to my right, vending lovely zines from locals.

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And how clever is this?!?! The Newsstand crew had designed a SFZF 2015 bingo card! I can’t think of a better way to run around and meet people — a prize is always a good motivator.

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Clint Marsh of Wonderella Publishing is putting out a wonderful new item: Fiddler’s Green. The masthead proclaims that this beauty is a “peculiar parish magazine” and I’d definitely agree — if you define peculiar as a beautiful, high production value publication with wonderfully written articles. (Take a look at that copper foil stamping on issue #2!)

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Clint’s tablemate Andrew Reichart (Argawarga Press) had these little gems (above), which were irresistible. I brought home three and promptly devoured them before bedtime. (Which maybe wasn’t the best idea, as I had strangely tinged dreams all night long.)

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And of course I took a moment to check in with Hope of Gutwrench Press. Her blank journals with postcard covers were literally flying off the table; she had fantastic examples of her “Keep Writing” project for people to look at. I was reminded of how much I love her aesthetic and her lovely self.

It was a crazy-busy day and the time seemed to run away. In a jiffy, Miz Happenstance and I had called it a day and were off to our favorite Japanese restaurant in the neighborhood! Believe me: there are very few things better than Japanese comfort food and an ice cold Sapporo at the end of a long work day. We’d definitely earned it!

More news to come — I’ll be participating in another fun event at the end of the month, here in San Francisco! Details following soon and RLD readers will be the first to know — I promise!

–JH

PS: I was interviewed by San Francisco’s online local mag Hoodline about SF Zine Fest, mail art, and what zines in general have to do with sending wacky stuff through the mail — take a look!

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01_biz card

So.

Two weeks ago, Miz In Cahoots and I were wandering around the Embarcadero, after a far-too-long hiatus from hanging out. Ice cream had been consumed, the bay had been viewed, and gossip had been swapped. Heading back to the subway station, I thought that life couldn’t possibly get any better.

I was wrong.

At Market and Steuart, I was stopped in my tracks by a Most Wonderful Place.

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the work of Roman Madov and Angi Brzycki

Have you visited The Grand Newstand? Have you heard about this project? If not, you should, because it’s AMAZING.

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Courtney contemplates the difficult question of “favorite zine”…

We met Courtney Riddle (one of the mistress-minds behind The Grand Newsstand kiosk) who explained to us that the newsstand stocked zines, small press editions, and the occasional artistic project (prints, broadsides, home wares) — housed in one of the vintage-ish newsstand kiosks lining Market Street. The two of us were immediately enchanted.

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the work of Evah Fan…

If you’re looking for gift to give a budding zine maker or an inspired per-zine to read on your daily commute…

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…this is your kind of kiosk!! It was wonderful to see a variety of artists I know and love hanging out right there on Market Street. In a city strapped for art space and DIY culture, it was such a joy to bask in the ambiance at the Newsstand.

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the work of Awkward Ladies Club (just in time for Burning Man!!!)

So: what are you waiting for?!?! The Newsstand is (usually) open six days a week; check out their hours on tumblr. Stop by, support small press, and get an eyeful of this quintessentially San Francisco endeavour.

–JH

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01_scissors

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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epic cloudscape, downtown detroit

I’m back from vacationing through the “Land of Endless Clouds”: Michigan! Many thanks to RLD readers who sent bon voyage postcards to my mailbox — YAY! What a wonderful thing to arrive home to – postal pals in my mailbox! You guys are the BEST!

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“Still Life: A Letter Rack” (1692) artist: Edward Collyer; seen at: the Detroit Institute of Arts

I had big plans to do a write up about visiting the Heirloom Productions rubber stamp show in Novi, MI on August 1st. Revv’d up and ready to see some awesome, I ventured thru the doors of the convention center and was dazzled by the array of paper, vendors, color, and stamps. (It was the first time I’d ever been to a convention like that…)

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searching for Capelli at John King Books…

However: I was thwarted in my plans.

Each time I queried a vendor about snapping a booth/product photo (all the while explaining that I was interested in doing a write up for my blog) I was politely told that the vendor didn’t allow photos. After going through this scenario a couple different times, I decided “meh.” I mean, what use is a blog post about delicious rubber stamps if there are no photos of delicious rubber stamps?!?!

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elevator existentialism…

So. That was a bit disappointing.

But: I did discover a gem of a stamper, tucked amongst all the decorative papers and mixed media mayhem! Chuck Knock of Grey Wolf Graphics has a fantastic selection of faux postage rubber stamps, perfect for all your mail art envelopes, postcards, and artistamp work.

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a sampling of faux postage imagery from Grey Wolf Graphics

Chuck illustrates all of the rubber stamps produced by Grey Wolf Graphics; the GWG website states that he was involved in “illustrating many of General Motors’ owner’s manuals as well as most of the ones for American Motors.” You would never mistake a Gray Wolf rubber stamp for any other, due to the beautiful line work and illustrative quality of Chuck’s imagery — one of the very reasons why I was immediately smitten with ALL of their rubber stamps!

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the Grey Wolf “thanks” stamp in action; awesome “mail call” stationery from JU13!

Needless to say, I left a fair amount of my “allowance” at the Grey Wolf booth. Each rubber stamp is beautifully mounted on a hand-turned wooden block; the deep etch red rubber takes ink wonderfully and leaves a fantastic impression. These rubber stamps are a welcome addition to any rubberhead’s collection! (unmounted stamps are also available.)

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rubber stamp haul from Grey Wolf; some mounted, some unmounted…

Hey — look how that happened! Even though I said I wasn’t really going to do a write up of the rubber stamp show, it looks like I still managed to do a write up of the rubber stamp show. I’ll leave you guys with a fun YouTube video from Diane Dimich of DD Stamps: a fast and easy painter’s tape technique which can be used on all of those “final month of summer” postcards.

Stay tuned: next week I’ve got fun announcements on the way, as well as a roster of new classes and going-ons!

Keep it postal!

–JH

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01_woodward gardens_front

You guys know how it is: sometimes, a girl just needs a vacation! Not anything serious or long term, just a bit of a “run around barefoot on the front lawn in the grass” kind of vacation. The weather here in SF practically begs a person to sit in some glorious shadow-and-sun filled spot, in order to read books and consume adult beverages.

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What am I trying to say? Well, I’ll be taking a small break next week! Nothing new in the way of write ups, although I will certainly be re-charging those batteries of mine in order to bring future articles of wit and wisdom to you guys!

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I have some fun surprises lined up for the next few weeks, but for now I’ll hang a “Gone Fishin’” sign on the door. And who knows? Postcards from vacation-paradise might just be in order!

(Miss Rose: that video is ESPECIALLY for you!) 😉

Hope your summer has been filled (so far) with exotic POs and colorful postage –

–JH

 

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front view of the “Kinderboekenweek 2012” stamps…

How lucky am I?! A few weeks ago, I got to hold one of these amazing “Kinderboekenweek 2012” postage stamps in my hand! One part postage, one part pop-up, these philatelic gems were conceived and designed by Hans and Sabine Bockting of the graphic design firm Bockting Ontwerpers. The charming animal illustrations were created by children’s book illustrator Fleur van der Weel.

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back view (underside) of the “Kinderboekenweek 2012” stamps…

Taking place every October in The Netherlands, “Kinderboekenweek” (Children’s Book Week) has a roster of events, reading programs, and a Kinderboekenbal (think: giant party for little kids who like to read books.) Every year, there is a different theme.

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postage stamp, “popped up” and seen from the back…

ANYHOW: back to the stamps! How do they work? Well, you simply pull the arrowed tab at the bottom of each stamp (shown above on the “front view” photo…) and the top layer slides forward to reveal a second animal AND create a pop-up of the front layer animal!

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postage stamp, “popped up” and seen from the front…

PostNL claims that this is “the world’s first pop-up stamp.” While I’ve heard about a wide variety of unusual stamps (Swiss embroidered stamps, stamps incorporating braille characters, and postage with traces of meteorite dust to name a few) it’s the first time I’ve seen or heard about a stamp that so perfectly combines paper engineering and philately.

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Each stamp can be punched out of the sheet, affixed to your parcel, and sent through the mail. According to the PostNL website: “the designation on these stamps is Nederland 5, which means that they are for letterbox packets weighing up to 500 grams destined for addresses within the Netherlands.” Dang — mailable only in The Netherlands!

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Want to see this pop-up postage in action? The video interview below with Fleur van der Weel shows the pop-up parts in action! (video is in Dutch.)

Have any other RLD readers out there seen or sent mail using these beauties? If “yes”, tell me more!

Happy making and mailing —

–JH

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KWP_03

I can’t quite remember when Hope Amico of Gutwrench Press first found her way to my mailbox. However, I do remember that feeling of “holy cow! What is this beautiful printed thing here in my hand?!” The postcard was a little dinged up (that’s what happens when you send soft printmaking paper through the cruel machinery of the postal system) but the scritches and scratchings only added to the mystery of the card itself.

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Through a handful of addresses and cities, Hope and I have always managed to keep in touch postally. Her artists books and prints are a world unto themselves: beautifully printed, lovingly bound together, thoughtfully written. Her “Keep Writing Postcards” project is a natural extension of fine art works, a call-and-response with friends and strangers, using the medium of the post office.

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Oakland-based gallery E.M. Wolfman is exhibiting “To Get A Letter, Send A Letter: Selections From the Keep Writing Postcards Project” through the month of August. Graciously, Hope took a bit of time to answer some questions for Red Letter Day readers about her process, what the “Keep Writing Postcards” project means to her, and the future of the project itself.

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Jennie Hinchcliff: In general terms, can you describe for RLD readers what the “Keep Writing Postcards” project is all about?

Hope Amico: It started as a way to keep in touch with friends as I moved away and began college. I started printing one postcard a month, using the handset type and presses at my university, mailing about 60 to friends on a mailing list. Within the first year I began collaborating with friends on the cards and began offering subscriptions to strangers. By the time I was finishing up school, it had evolved into the thing it is today: each month I letterpress print a folded card, consisting of two postcards. One postcard is something I’ve designed, illustrating a story or a quotation that I like. The other half has instructions for the recipient, usually somehow related to my design. Recipients fill out their half and mail it back to me. I post it online and sometimes share them in gallery shows.

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JH: Describe an average month (from start to finish) for “Keep Writing Postcards” (i.e. what’s your working process like?)

HA: Ideally, on the first of the month, all the cards for that month are in the mail.  Usually they make it to the post box a few days later and sometimes get mailed as late as the middle of the month.  I spend a few days working out an idea, drawing, scanning, searching clip art, writing text and revising.

Then I spend about 2 days towards the end of the month making plates and printing.  I trim the cards, bring them to my home studio and spend a few hours listening to radio shows while scoring and folding, taping and stamping.  At some point I remember to print mailing labels from my subscriber list spreadsheet.  Sometimes this takes a minute; sometimes, on bad computer days, it can take hours, during which I reconsider the time-saving measure of printing labels. (ed note: HA! indeed…)

The last step is best.  I write at least “hello” and sign my name on all the cards, writing longer notes every few cards.  Sometimes I bring a stack with me if I am going out to eat alone.  Then I drop them in the mail box and start again.

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JH:How do you decide on each month’s theme?

HA: I have a list in my journal of potential ideas. Some months there is an event or holiday I would like to highlight or work with but sometimes I have a technique I want to work with.   I try to mix it up so that some months ask for a story, followed maybe by a fill-in-the blank image or sentence and then maybe a drawing-friendly idea.  That’s the ideal.

But sometimes I plan a few months ahead only to think of something more appealing to me at the last minute.  I like the month to month variety but sometimes I print everything in silver for two months in a row.   I want to plan two months ahead but I also like having a thoughtful but open enough prompt that many people want to respond. There is a balance between offering enough guidelines and specifics to inspire and be clear while leaving room for all the creative answers.

And some months I just want a break or want to give everyone a break or have an idea for a card without a response so I print that. Everyone needs a break from obligations to keep them fun, right?

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JH: Each of the postcards that you send out are beautifully letterpressed and oftentimes incorporate an image you’ve collaborated on with another artist. Can you talk a little bit about the nature of collaboration, both in the postcards you’ve created and the works you’re receiving from participants?

HA: When I started the project, the first year was just a single postcards that I printed.  Then I thought I’d try a year of collaborating with a different artist friend each month.  A few of my friends are printers and they sent me 150 cards partially printed  leaving the rest for me.  Those were fun but took a lot of coordination.  If someone was late, then I was behind schedule. And some of my friends are not printers at all and had wild ideas about what to make.  Collaborating every month was fun but not practical.

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I wanted a way to hear back from people, so that it wasn’t just my story being told but my part of a story, my point of view.  So I began these cards with a tear-off response card, allowing people to choose to participate but the project continues even if some people never send cards back.  But sometimes, when they do, it adds something unexpected.   One month, I drew a map of my neighborhood in New Orleans, as I remembered it, and asked recipients to send me back a map of anything. One of my favorite responses was from my best friend and former neighbor who drew the same neighborhood from their perspective.  It was lovely.

Having a card with my address already printed and a question to be answered meant I would hear back from people, sometimes people I would not expect to write back.  My best penpals do not necessarily send the most postcards, but my little (now 30 year old and married) cousin had an amazing streak of responding to every single card.  It often surprises me who I hear from the most often.

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JH: Did you find that it was an easy transition to think about the work you were receiving at your mailbox in relation to a gallery show? Did “Keep Writing Postcards” start out with the intention of an eventual exhibition?

HA: This started out as a personal project but I was spending so much time on it while in school for my printmaking degree,  I realized that it was worth getting credit at school.  But I was so protective of it I didn’t share it much until its 3rd year, entering my final year at school. By that point, I knew I wanted it to be part of my senior show, that I wanted to spend all my time making postcards.  This is when I started printing the cards in the form they are now, an interactive piece with responses to share.  So, from that point I knew they would be shared.

When I graduated and moved to Oakland, I knew I wanted to have another show and share the work again.  I also work in other forms, but this project is definitely what is most dear to me — it is the one that is easiest for me to be excited about and to share and explain. I like creating environments in which people want to sit and read the cards, where it is clear that you can handle the art work and participate.  I like that intersection of function and involvement in a gallery space. I want it to feel like home, so I have included a lamp, a desk, a writing utensil and even a tape player with headphones to listen to music written especially for the show (another kind of collaboration!)

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JH: I’m super excited to see the show at E.M. Wolfman! What sorts of additional activities will there be, in relation to the show itself? How long will the show be running?

HA: The show is up through the end of August. There is a box with this month’s postcard so gallery-goers can participate. I am taking the responses from this card (about neighborhoods) and making a map for people to give themselves a self-guided tour at the end of the show.  I want to do this every few months: have a mail box stationed at a certain place, asking for input from whoever comes by.
Also, every Saturday in July from 1-3 pm I will be there writing letters. You can join me. There are postcards and stationery for sale and I think I’ll bring a few other fun surprises to share. On July 22nd, I’ll be giving a brief talk about the project too during the Post A Letter Social Activity Club event at E.M. Wolfmann.

for more information:

“Postcard Artist Trusts the Message Will Be Delivered”, SF Gate, July 1st, 2015 (Evan Karp, author)

— Hope will be vending her lovely wares (including subscriptions to the “Keep Writing Postcards Project” at this year’s SF Zine Fest, September 6th at the SF County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park.

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