adrienne mason art

glue + paper + scissors = collage

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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This gallery contains 6 photos


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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!


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Cartography Cardinal

For something completely different, this weekend I moved far away from my usual freeform abstract and made this:

Cartography Cardinal

I think the paper I used for the snow was a mistake (I was trying to pick up on the glitter in the other washi papers I used), but otherwise I think it was a good exercise. It’s a lot of little bits of paper though. I finally just laid the glue down first and added paper on top, rather than trying to apply glue to each piece. I first sketched the image on a piece of transparent film and used painter’s tape to hold it on top of the background (in this case, topographic map) and was continually flipping it back and forth for positioning.

I’ve received from great mail lately. The collages below are from Jack Oudyn—love his stuff— and the laminated tag now has a place of honour on my desk. He makes these great little books, often while travelling, which are always so interesting.

And these are some pieces from regular correspondents, Tofu and Torma. Tofu’s combined two vintage postcards into one (an idea to steal/adapt, I think!; here’s his post on these altered postcards) and Torma always has such interesting stamps (rubber and postage). Thanks to all three of you!

 


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Serendipity

When I make a collage I try not to over think things. It’s only afterwards—when I scan it or show it to a friend—that a particular alignment of two images, or a random word pops to the fore. I love these serendipitous moments. Something else in my brain or eye made a connection I didn’t quite see at first.

I suppose this is more coincidence than serendipity, but when I did a quick scan to choose a few images to put onto this new site, I chose a collage I’d sent out over a year ago. This one:

origami paper, magazine images, shorthand, and other random bits

origami paper, magazine images, shorthand, and other random bits

And then, just a few days ago I picked up mail from a box that I hadn’t collected from in awhile and found a lovely bit of mail from the collage’s recipient. So, you never know when a wonderful surprise like this will wind up in your post office box. Thank you Claire for the beautiful package.

From Claire D.

From Claire D.

In the same bit of mail, there was a letter from a mail art friend in France. I hadn’t heard from him in awhile either, so it was a nice surprise. Richard’s calligraphy is always a treat to receive. (Please forgive the images. I usually use a scanner, but it’s “there” and I’m “here,” so the iPhone had to stand in.)

Mail from Richard B.

Mail from Richard B.