Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More mail calls

I've managed to make dozens of postcards in the last week or so, but I've only managed to mail a few.
Here are two I sent in response to some new mail calls you should know about.

Today I sent this one to Jane Davies to help her save her post office.
She needs lots and lots of mail.
Read all about it here and consider sending her something too.

And I already showed you this one, but today I sent it off to Featuring Magazine's call for mail art.
Have you read Featuring?  It's wonderful.  
They're looking for mail art for possible inclusion in issue #4 and it needs to be in the Netherlands by February 25th, so I dropped the snake parfait in the box this morning.
What will you send?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mail Call and upcoming art swaps

Derrick (of I Still Write) tipped me off to a wonderful mail art opportunity for a good cause.  A California radio station is collecting valentines to send to kids in the hospital.  They need the cards by February 6th.  ClickHere for all the details.

There are three fabulous new art swaps posted at Mail MeSome Art.
These are the themes for February:
·      Yellow – February 11th
·      Under the Sea – February 18th
·      Heads – February 25th
Visit MMSA for details.

Thank you all for your lovely comments and condolences about Lucy.  It truly helps to know so many people care and understand.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In Memoriam

I lost a good friend this weekend.

Our beloved Lucy died, and there is a Lucy-shaped hole in all our hearts.
I've been filling the void with small tributes to her.

Gelatin print silhouettes:

 A hand-carved Lucy stamp:

Her tape-transferred image on a collage:

Her brother Jake is subdued and stays as close to me as possible.
He periodically reaches out his paw to touch me.
It's not clear who's reassuring who.
Blogging buddy and constant companion, Jake.
When we brought her home 8 years ago, we briefly considered naming her Trixie the Wonder Cat.  Though we quickly settled on the name Lucy, the nightly bedtime "Superhero Kitty Stories" were born.  Every night (so the story goes), while the family sleeps, Jake and Lucy don their capes and sneak out into the dark to help the animals of the forest.

My dear Lucy, wherever you may be, I hope your dish is never empty, your kibble is never stale, and the lampshade is always right for licking.  I'll be watching the skies for you.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Unfinished business

Blame it on January perhaps, but I suddenly can't get out of my own way.
The queen of productivity, she who can churn out twenty postcards in an evening, suddenly can't finish a damn thing.

I can start lots of things.  Heck yeah.
But nothing feels done.
I'm way up inside my head and over thinking everything.

Yesterday was a snow day here, and also my first day back among the living after a bout with strep.  I forced myself to collect my pile of half finished collages and either finish or declare them "good enough."  And so I bring you collages #10-21 of my 365 in 2013 challenge.

I've been doing a lot with brown and blue lately.  I kind of hate the first two, but I really like the third.

I still had a lot of these painted postcard backgrounds lying around from a creativity spree months ago, so I added a few more elements and counted them as new collages.  (I see now that the gel medium hadn't totally dried when I impatiently scanned it. There's not actually white blobs in the black fibers.)
Another of those backgrounds was used as the first of my three collages for the Mail Me Some Art Collage Sheet Challenge.  (I posted a collage sheet and challenged everyone to make postcards using those images)

After cleaning up so many piles, I got a little giddy and made this wonderfully warped series.


With that last one I might have laughed myself right out of my funk.  Maybe I can finally see my way clear to sending out some mail!

I'm making 365 collages this year! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

today's collage is brought to you by the letter...

M is for mail
and M is for Mary.

Look what arrived in my mailbox today!
A big clear envelope packed with goodies from Mary.
It looked prettier before I tore it open in the post office parking lot and poured all the little bits onto the front seat of the car and then stuffed them back willy-nilly so I could get them in the house without losing them.
But still.
Pretty darn cool.

I decided I would create a collage exclusively from papers she sent.
Here's collage #8 of 365.

and then, because I was having so much fun, I glued some more of Mary's tidbits onto this background I'd started earlier today.
It's #9 (though it seems to have a bit of an identity crisis with it's #10 stickers all over it)

Thanks Mary for the wonderful surprise and inspiration for today's collages!

And speaking of collage and mail and challenges...
Did you know there are finally two new swaps posted over at Mail Me Some Art?  Go there right now and check them out.

Monday, January 7, 2013

365 collages in 2013

I'm making 365 collages this year!

When Hanna announced her plan to make 365 collages this year and invited others to play along, I couldn't resist the challenge.  Collage is something I really want to dig deeper into this year, and I think this challenge will overlap nicely with several of my other wishes for the year.

With collage as my focus and intention, I can also 
  • keep up with my mail art correspondence
  • work in my many journals
  • create book covers
  • participate in more swaps with my cut and paste group, and the super mailartists
  • work on more complex pieces over longer periods of time
 I like Hanna's goal of completing 7 per week (rather than framing it as one per day).
This is very much in keeping with the way I work best.
Even though I typically do something creative every day, I don't want this to become a chore (as in "I can't go to bed until I've made today's  #%&! collage")
But when the collage spirit moves, I tend to make a bunch in a row.

Case in point:  I needed to create one monochromatic yellow card for a swap, but when all my yellowy tidbits were collected, I made three in a row.

And when I picked up my Paper Swap junk journal after a long absence, I didn't stop until I'd covered four pages.

 I think a single large collage could be my next 40-day creativity experiment, but I can also keep working on my five minute collages.
The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Interested in the challenge?
It doesn't have to be 365 collages.
It can be anything.
See?  Hanna even made a badge for you!
Click on it to read more.
Link button to 365 creations in 2013

So what will you be creating this year?

Saturday, January 5, 2013


This is my pile of unanswered mail.
I sat down today to take stock of the situation and determined that I have failed to respond to 49 people.
What's with me?

Do you recognize anything you send me in that pile?
You have not been forgotten.
I'm going to write back to you today.

The thing is, before I can sit down to tackle that pile, I feel compelled to tackle this pile:

 Those two baskets are where I put all the little paper bits I collect during the week, and half-finished projects, and all the papers my lovely mail art friends send me.
As you can see, it's out of control, and I can no longer even see what's in there, let alone use it in my art. And it's so big I can hardly walk around the art table.
So before I answer my mail, I'm going to sort it into categories and file it.

So that's done, and the sun is a lot lower in the sky, but
NOW I can sit back and tackle the correspondence.
Except I notice the yellow collage postcard from Angie on the top of the pile, which reminds me I haven't completed my own yellow collage for that same swap, and it needs to be out in the mail early next week.  So instead of working on your postcard, I'm going to start scavenging for all sorts of yellow things and put them in a pile.
  See that nice amber beer in the background?  While I was scavenging, the sun went over the yardarm and I decided this cold dark night called for a glass of stout. Down to the garage beer fridge I go, but when I get there I notice the bottle of hefeweizen with the nice yellow label, and HEY, I'm working on a yellow collage, I should pour the beer in a glass and soak the bottle in the sink so I can pull off the label for my postcard.
(there goes another 20 minutes of not writing to you)

Meanwhile I'm still digging through my boxes of ephemera for yellow, and it reminds me of the "big fat ephemera swap" I signed up for.  I only have ten more days to pull that package together.  I'd better start now.
Another pile is born:
This particular ephemera hunt leads me to the basement, where I see my newly acquired sewing machine (inherited for FREE and picked up earlier today).
A glorious Singer from the 50's in excellent working order.
I should try it out.
Only I can't for the life of me figure out how to wind the bobbin, so I spend a good hour reading the manual, searching for thread, figuring out the machine, and finally testing it.

I rather like the pieces of paper I stitched together - I think I will make a collage out of them.  Right now.
On my way back up to the studio, I pass my other newly acquired free antique:
this old royal typewriter.
My mom scored it for me right before Christmas and I haven't been able to use it because the ribbon had gotten all wonky in transport.  I decide there is no time like the present, and I sit down to fix it.  Only I can't figure it out, so I'm searching you tube videos for tips on changing the ribbon in a Royal typewriter.  Another half hour slips by, but I've finally got it working.
I look back around the house at the trail of piles I've made and feel like I'm living in the book "If you give a mouse a cookie"
(which gives me an idea....)

I hammer out a few words of text on the Royal and add them to my stitched paper:
One postcard down, forty eight to go.

Friday, January 4, 2013

more long stitch journals

Can I just tell you again how happy I am that I took Diana Trout's long-stitch journal class?  I feel like I've mastered the basics, and no longer need to refer to the instructions, and now I'm ready to branch out, try new things, and learn new bindings.

Here are are few of the journals I made and gave as gifts.
I decided I wanted to stitch the cover of this one after I had bound it.  Picture me feeding the book into the sewing machine and realizing the stitches won't go all the way across because the spine gets in the way.  Let's just pretend that was an artistic decision, shall we?
 The reason I wanted to stitch the cover is because the paper was extra long and I realized I could fold it over into a pocket rather than trimming it.
I love pockets.

This next one was a Christmas gift for my steampunk loving artist niece.
Half of the pages are nice drawing paper, half are water color paper.
I can't wait to see what she creates in it.
I remembered to stitch this cover before binding it, but I didn't plan the cover well enough to have pocket flaps.  It does have a cool hand charm on the spine, however.

This third one has dried ferns from my yard collaged into the paper-cloth.  It took about a billion layers of gloss medium to keep them from cracking through, but I ended up liking the shininess of the cover so much that I even rubbed on some gold paint.  It's kind of shimmery.

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year is this table top photo studio that my sweetie gave me.  Our house is incredibly dark and it's hard to photograph things that are too big or too lumpy for my scanner.  I'm often dragging my art outside to try and photograph it in natural light.  (you can imagine how much fun that is in the snowy New England winters).
This little set up solves that problem.
 I'm still learning the most effective places to put the lamps and tips for improving my photography skills, but already I love it.  And the best part is that it folds right up into it's own little pouch so it's not taking up premium real estate in the studio.
What kinds of wonderful art gifts did you get for Christmas?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

40 days and counting

In spite of my prolonged holiday absence from the blogosphere, I've continued daily work on my 40-day creativity experiment (well past the 40 day mark) and I think it's finally done.

I've never spent this much time on a single piece (I started it November 11th) and I learned so much from working this way.  I've gained trust in my intuition, and an appreciation for patience and restraint.  I've learned that nearly obliterating a months worth of work makes for a much more complex painting.  I've learned to accept the ugly phases, and not feel compeled to cover them quickly.  I've learned how much I like working on a large piece, and how satisfying it is to have a long relationship with a painting.  Its constant presence in the studio was a pleasure.  Some days my one minute of work on it was the only creative thing I did.  Other days it bore witness to a blizzard of other activity, satisfied with its own slow progress.

I suspect that this layer-a-day experience is going to change my approach to painting in 2013
It has already prompted a series of work, exploring the colors, shapes and layers I used on this piece.

Here are two works in progress (on canvas this time!)

and here are four small works on paper (4"x6")

My thanks to Damini for inspiring this project (and to Corrine for pointing the way.)
It is remarkable how much personal growth came out of a humble paper bag.
You can see all 40+ layers develop in this slideshow.