Friday, April 18, 2014

"Use My Stuff" week - part 5

For a year or more I've had a stack of backgrounds painted by other people.  Some were part of a painted paper swap.  Others were just lovely gifts.

I love to look at them, but when it comes time to create I always want to use my own papers and backgrounds.  It feels like cheating to use other people's art.

But in the spirit of this week I decided it was finally time to use some of these pieces.  It turned out to be a lot of fun.  I cranked out twelve postcards in a single evening.  Rather than viewing them as my own art, I consider them inadvertent collaborations with some lovely friends.  I have noted the name of the collaborator below each card.

background by Colleen Kent

Background by Corrine Gilman

Background by Corrine Gilman

Background by Dori Singh

Background by Dori Singh

Background by Gina Visione

Background by Jez Eden

Background by Jez Eden

Background by Jez Eden

Background by Karen Miller

Background by Colleen Kent, middle card by Corrine Gilman
Background by Jez Eden, middle card by Corrine Gilman

Many, many thanks to all of my mail art friends who are so generous in the things they share.  I've created more this week than in the last several months combined.
You have lifted me out of my slump.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Use My Stuff" week - part 4

Yesterday I mentioned the abundance of mail I get each week as the MMSA hostess.  Many of my swappers periodically send me lovely little bits of paper as a "hostess gift."
I get painted paper, images, text, book pages, and little bits of their own art in the form of ATCs and postcards.
I have a basket where I keep all those tidbits, and last weekend I was determined to use them!

I've started a gluebook in a blank journal.
I did a little outlining with pencil and crayon on a few of them, but they are mostly straight up cut-and-paste (for the sheer pleasure of cutting and pasting.)

These are such fun to make and can be done quite easily in front of the TV.
Most of my art is really messy - using lots of paint and wet glues.  As I result I typically only create in my studio.  It's nice to have something relatively neat and portable to do downstairs with the family, and it feels wonderful to be finally using all these treasures.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Use my stuff" week - part 3

As the hostess of "Mail Me Some Art" I get a lot of mail every week. 
Many of the envelopes people use to send their swap items are works of art themselves.  Sometimes I reuse them, but since most of my own mail art takes the post card form, I don't use that many envelopes.  Some are just too beautiful to recycle, so they've been piling up in a basket.

I finally had a great idea for using them.
I turned them into pages in a hand-bound journal!

 I folded each envelope in half, and used three envelopes per signature.

There are 8 signatures, and I used a long-stitch binding.

It's pretty fat, so I incorporated a stretchy band into the back cover so I can hold it closed.

 The front and back covers came from a cardboard envelope sent to me by Valerie.  The spine is duct tape.

I'm not sure what I'll use it for, but I'm in love with this book.

Here's a shaky one-handed flip-through if you want to see a little more.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Use My Stuff" week - part 2

I'm involved in a junk journal project with members of my "super mail artists" group.  Each of us has an old book or journal that we are using as a place to make collages using papers sent by other members.
It's not a round robin - we keep our junk journals are the only people who work in them, but the collages will be made with materials sent by different people.
We've had two rounds so far.

Here are the collages made with Gina's stuff.  She sent a huge fat envelope of wonderful stuff and the day I got it I sat right down and whipped out two collages before dinner, but I haven't revisited her stash since then.

All of the next collages were made from Tina's stuff.
I was sitting at my coffee table Friday night watching a "Parks and Recreation" marathon and I was on a roll with Tina's papers.

I really like the challenge of working with a limited pile of materials, and it was far more satisfying doing this with friends than with strangers (like yesterday's cards).  Though all of us in the SMA group have different styles, we share an overall sensibility.  The papers I've received for this project have all inspired and excited me rather than frustrating and disappointing me.  Lesson learned - don't swap with strangers.

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Use my stuff" week.

I've been working with other people's papers lately, both through formal swaps and by digging through my basket of treasures I've received in the mail.
Rather than writing the longest blog post in history, I've decided to give you a week of different "use my stuff" projects.

First up, a Swap-bot trade with randomly assigned people I'm not familiar with.
Here's how the swap worked.
I sent an envelope of collage fodder from my stash to two different people and they sent me back a postcard they made with my stuff.
And of course I got two envelopes of stuff from two different people, and had to make postcards out of their stuff.

Here are the two postcards I made.
This first one was using Angela's stuff.  It was really hard for me because she sent a lot of scrapbook paper and cutesy black and white rubber stamp images (which you know is not my thing at all. ) There was one page from an anatomy book which kind of saved the project for me.

 I don't really like these at all, but I couldn't bring myself to make a more traditional scrapbook/stampy kind of card.

 The next one used Cynthia's stuff.  The envelope had a wide variety of stuff in it and was more fun to play with.  The materials and colors are not things I would have chose for myself, but I like the end result slightly better.

Next are the two postcards I got in return.
It was really fun to see what these people did because it was not at all how I would have used the pieces.

This is what Amy made with my stuff:

And this is what Joyce made with my stuff:

None of these cards really look like my work, but it begs the question - which looks more like "me?"  The ones I made with other people's stuff, or my stuff used by others. 
Is my style more defined by technique or material?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

and the winner is....

The winner of issue three of "Art Together" is ....


Gill, I just sent you an email to the address linked to your blogger profile- can you confirm that's your best email address so that I can pass it along to Amy?
She will email you the file for the zine.

Thanks to everyone who entered.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Arrested development

This sweet boy just turned 13.

Over the past few weeks I've noticed him revisiting favorite things from his younger years.  On the brink of mysterious and unknown adolescence, there's comfort in the safe and familiar.

This is the conversation we had the night before his birthday...
Him:  When I wake up tomorrow I'll be a teenager
Me:  What will that feel like?
Him:  Weird
Me:  You know what's even weirder?  When I wake up tomorrow I'll be the mother of a teenager.  It's weird because I don't really feel that much older than 13.
Him:  You don't really seem that much older than 13.
Me:  ummmm.....thanks?????
Him:  don't worry, that's a good thing.

So there you have it.
It's evident, even to my son, that for better or for worse, I'm a 13 year old trapped in a 46 year old's body. 

 And true to form, Max is not the only one doing some revisiting this week....
 I needed to send a sympathy card to a dear friend, and I wanted it to be hand made but I had no new ideas. Days were slipping by and I couldn't come up with anything I liked, and so I went back to some of my old work and made these three blank note cards:




Prior to this I'd been struggling to do something - anything - on canvas.
Feverish layers of paint...
No vision.... 
No direction....
Just frustration and a stack of ugly canvases leaning against the wall. 
(There may even have been hand-wringing, teeth-gnashing and profanity.)

It felt so good to take a break and do something that came easily to me that I just kept going with these small index card collages.   And no, you haven't seen these before.  (you've just seen these, these, and these)








No new ground has been broken, but I will take a lesson from the other 13 year old in the house and rather than berate myself, find pleasure and solace in the familiar, knowing there is big growth ahead.