adrienne mason art

glue + paper + scissors = collage

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Vietnam Collage

Last November I was fortunate to be able to take a fabulous trip to Singapore and Vietnam. I’ve been slowly making some collage (and a “bonus” sketch, which I don’t do, or at least post, all that often) based on the trip, mostly using ephemera I hauled home. And I finally pulled a few photos off my phone. Enjoy!



Art Walk – January


My blog has been quiet, but I’ve been busy. Busy in a good way—with work (that I love), family (whom I also love), time experimenting at the art table, etc.—but just not a lot of time to blog about it all. And I’ve vowed not to obsess about it, so I’ll be here when I’m here! Today started with a quiet morning—my husband is away and I was up early so I went for a long walk through my neighbourhood and Victoria’s big city park, Beacon Hill, then down to the beach. I collected a few things along the way, then came home and made some foraged art, with a few bits and bobs I picked up. I’ve two things to say about it all: (1) I need to learn how to get the most out of an iPhone camera (and figure out a lighting set-up) and, (2) thank goodness for peacocks.



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Book to Oz, etc.

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Quiet times on the blog this summer! I’m very slow getting back to people—and I haven’t had time for much art work—but here’s a bit of recent work. I’ve been making some small booklets, and here are a few pages of one I’m sending to Jack in Australia. (Check out his work. Love it.)

And here is some of the wonderful and creative mail I’ve received these past few months. Thanks for your patience, everyone!






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Found Abstracts and a Giveaway

I’ve just returned from a weekend workshop on Whidbey Island at the Pacific Northwest School of Art. I had a great time learning from Jane Davies and hanging out with my friend and artist, Marion Syme. I don’t have any finished pieces to show from the workshop as it was primarily about technique and exploration, but suffice to say you should check out the school’s offerings as well as Jane’s work and workshops (many of which are on-line).

Before the workshop we spent a day exploring Port Townsend, which was a fabulous way to spend the day — funky old townsite, antique shops, art galleries, good food, a parade (which we missed, but still!; it was Rhodo Fest or some such). I picked up this wonderful etching by artist Kenji Ushiku. I loved it as soon as I saw it, but resisted going back to buy it for a few hours since it was in the first shop we entered. I’m glad I made the purchase; it’s sitting on my mantle now. (Sorry about the glare.)

Print by Kenji Ushiku

Print by Kenji Ushiku

We also spent a great hour or so exploring Fort Worden and we came upon Battery Kinzie. Old buildings and military history aside, we were struck by all of the abstract paintings we found on the walls of the battery. Ostensibly the marks were to cover up graffiti, but I’m not so sure. The colours and marks seem so well chosen. It feels like artists were let loose with the paints and rollers. I can’t find anything on-line, but if you have any info., please leave a comment. Here are my found abstracts:

Fabulous or what? I think the colour combos might find their way into some work. I was a bit jazzed when I got home so I got busy with the paints, stamps, and monoprints I made to create a few abstract postcards last night. Here’s the giveaway part. If you would like an “Adrienne Mason original” (ha, ha!)—or would like to surprise someone with one—please leave a comment with info on how I can contact you and I’ll send one along (randomly chosen). And please feel free to spread the word.



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The Peeps Project

In my post on mail art, I mentioned that many mail artists often start projects. They could be small, perhaps an “add and pass” piece of art that passes between a few people, or they could be very large like the one that Jack from Cascadia Artpost undertook in 2015. His “Peeps Project” has 27 participants from 7 countries. We were all correspondents of Jack’s and he asked us if we’d like to be involved. If we said Yes! we received something that looked like this in the mail.

Box full of "peeps" from Cascadia Artpost.

Box full of “peeps” from Cascadia Artpost.

And inside were a lot of little characters, the “peeps.” Our challenge was to create scenarios for these miniature people and create pieces of art. (This is part of what they wrote to us: “Your mission in this project, should you choose to accept it, is to change the world and the very foundation of reality, at 1:87 scale or full scale, and record with photos individual peeps or groups of peeps in settings and scenarios of your choosing.”)

Some people really got into it, even creative a narrative story for their characters) but I stewed and stewed over mine and actually found it quite difficult (I also don’t have a great camera, which was an excuse I held onto for a long time), but I did finally get a handful together. I’ve posted a few examples below, but what’s even more astounding about this time-intensive project is that Jack and his friend Colin (from “Very Dodgy Mail”) made the book, a hand-bound hard-cover copy of a 142-page book (+ an insert), and send one to each of us. Dedication or what? Here’s what arrived a few weeks ago:

Peeps Project

Thanks you two for pulling together this crazy project! It’s fun to see what everyone created. I’ve posted a few of the images from the book below.

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Uppercase Abstracts

Postcard for the Uppercase Collection from Windham Fabrics

Postcard for the Uppercase Collection from Windham Fabrics

I’m an avid reader—books and magazines are some of my best friends—but I’ve also had to move around a fair bit in the last year and a half, so I know that those things carry a lot of weight. So I’ve tried to streamline a bit (and now that I live two blocks away from a fabulous library, I can borrow more), but there are a few things I still will buy and keep. In the magazine world, there are Uppercase and Kolaj. More on Kolaj later, but I want to do a shout out to Uppercase today. If you are interested in art and creativity and design, then check this magazine out. I am in awe that it is pretty much a one-woman show, with Janine Vangool being publisher, editor, and designer. And I’m hugely proud that it is a Canadian magazine, produced in Calgary, Alberta.

The magazine comes out four times a year and each issue is based on a theme—book arts, postage stamps, typography, colour, and on and on. It’s beautifully produced and endlessly interesting. Janine creates a unique pattern to be used on the spine of each issue and these were recently made into fabrics (displayed in the postcard above; each issue has a couple of postcards tucked into it). The most recent issue had a catalogue showcasing the fabrics, and, well, I couldn’t resist doing a bit of abstract collage. Thanks for such a great magazine, Janine.

[Later. This was a very nice surprise that wound up in my inbox on May 11. Janine put my collage at the top of her Uppercase newsletter. Very fun. Thank you, Janine!]




What is Mail Art?

Pamela just did a great post on how to find people to exchange mail art or letters with, but I noticed that a few people said they weren’t creative enough. No, no, no! As I wrote here, the thing about mail art is that pretty much anything goes. No art school required. I’ve been meaning to upload images of some of the mail I’ve received recently because it shows the breadth of things you can send and receive. Here goes. (See the detailed descriptions below the image gallery. And you can click on any image to take a closer look.)

  1. This is one side of a postcard from Torma in Budapest. We correspond regularly and he sends great collage postcards that often include some custom rubber stamps.
  2. Mail artists often use pseudonyms, thus this note from FinnBadger. See how he’s been creative with the positioning of the postage stamps on the envelope?
  3. Sometimes mail artists go all out with the envelope, making them from original art or magazine images or whatever. As I said, anything goes! Kevin also included a note in this “Flairmail” and the curious “Top Five Fives.”
  4. Sometimes mail artists put out calls for art. (See the long list of calls here?) Last year sometime, Frips from Belgium put out a call asking for seeds, which he was going to distribute to people who needed them. And this year Frips thanked us with this little envelope of marigold seeds made from a tiny envelope stitched together by sewing machine.
  5. Artists often use rubber stamps very creatively and can include little gifts. This “Burn on Completion” booklet from Sally is actually a tiny 2016 calendar with matches included so I can burn it when the year is out. Love this.
  6. This is a fun one. Last year, longtime mail artist Anna Banana had a retrospective in a few venues in Victoria. It’s worthy of a separate post, which I’ll try to get together one day, but those who attended the show likely participated in her “Specific Research Survey of Banana Culture” (sometimes mail artists are performance artists, too!) and this envelope included an issue of her newsletter, the Banana Rag. The envelope was (I think) made from a stencil (note the hard-boiled egg shape?) and spattered with paint to create the pattern.
  7. Sometimes mail artists create their own artistamps (see the “Bananapost” stamp?) and rubber stamps (see the custom cancellation — 45 Years of Fooling Around with a Banana!)
  8. And, well, some mail artists just have a way with calligraphy. This beauty is from Richard in France—lovely calligraphy with collage.  Sometimes mail art includes a small note, and sometimes it doesn’t (and you don’t even need to open the envelopes). No rules.
  9. Mail from Dori is always a treat—fabulous envelopes, little handmade books and cards, bits of ephemera to share, a short note. Ever creative. Many of the books I have lying around here have a Dori bookmark inside.
  10. And Taradactyl makes stellar—and colourful—envelopes that often includes fabulous things with folds and pockets and paper mysteries stuffed here and there.
  11. See IUOMA stamped on this envelope from Katerina in Greece? That’s the International Union of Mail Artists and you should get over there and explore. Anyone can join. The website takes a bit of getting used to, but you might want to pour yourself a coffee as you’re about to go down a rabbit hole. Katerina’s collage card also includes hand-cut rubber stamps (Greek Time) and an artistamp (Blue Time Post).
  12. There are some mail artists that seem to have a lot of time on their hands and are very prolific and Cascadia Artpost is one of those people. Every envelope seems to bring a new artistamp (see the Cascadia Artpost stamps on this envelope?) and custom rubberstamps, too. Recently he’s taken on a big (BIG!) project: the Peeps Photo Project, which I participated in. And he’s making a book of the work, so I’ll wait to do an entire post later on.
  13. Sometimes you receive custom art, but sometimes they are printed cards of work from that person. I love this custom postcard from Mail Art Martha, of “Martha the I in coronation robes. Painter unknown.” See the letters in her hand? And see the great custom (I think hand cut?) stamps on the envelope?
  14. Finally, this is another response to a mail art call—Mail Me a Map. Lorraine asked people to send her maps. Then she made a dress from those maps. Then she put the dress on and took a bunch of pictures, which she turned into artistamps.

I hope this gives you a sense of the breadth of what mail artists can get up to. Relax, have fun with it, and don’t think too hard!