Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Call for Mail Artists

Here's a fun opportunity to submit your mail art for exhibit.

The Scrap Exchange in Durham, NC is a non-profit creative reuse center with a gallery that does monthly shows. Their upcoming show is mail art. 

They are seeking mail art submissions in any style/subject that  incorporate 75% reworked, repurposed, reused, or reclaimed material.

They must have your submission by August 13th, so mail it soon!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Did you know that July is "Put a Fish On It" month?

I realize July is nearly over, but tonight's ICAD is just a warm up.

Brace yourselves for a fishy onslaught.

Friday, July 26, 2013

10 days

Were there not 10 index cards to show for it, I wouldn't believe it's been 10 days since I've posted.

But here's the proof in pictures.

This first index card was done the night before we left for Maine.  It was a bazillion degrees outside, and I needed to pack, but the patch of grass under the stairs really needed to be cut, and the lawnmower doesn't fit, and it kind of pisses off our neighbor when we neglect it.
I actually enjoy mowing the lawn, but I HATE the weed whacker and usually leave this onerous task to Ric.  He was working late in preparation of our vacation, and I couldn't, in good conscience, leave this patch untended for 5 more more days. 
(insert horrid machine noise and sound of me cursing)
Once back inside, it was too hot to even set foot in the art room to gather collage materials, so I vented my frustrations with colored watercolor pencils and a fine-line sharpie at the air-conditioned dining room table.

My next card was done in the log cabin on Rangeley Lake that I've been visiting since I looked like this:

I have changed ever so slightly....

 But the cabin has not.

In spite of the enormous bag of art supplies I brought, I didn't have the time or space to explore them.
This card was made on our first night, using nothing but a current magazine and a glue stick.
Basking in the glow of favorite people and places.

There's no time for art when there are sunbeams to explore:
 and cairns to build:

The next night we had a crazy-windy thunderstorm.
I used part of stenciled index card, more magazine images, and some appropriate found book text.

 Truth be told, it's not that I didn't have time for art.  There's nothing but time in sleepy Rangeley.  It's just that the time is better spent snuggling beagles, 
Max and Boswell

and napping in hammocks, 

and reading on rocks.

 So I stuck to my quick-card-before-bed routine.
 This one started with an unfinished ICAD from 2012.  Added a stamped image, magazine bits, and more appropriate book text (as we discovered that our hostess had sustained a spiral fracture to her wrist after an unfortunate fall)

 Said hostess was my mother's hospital roommate when they both gave birth to their firstborn daughters on the same day in 1964.  They struck up an instant friendship, and are still making each other laugh 49 years later.
Mom on the left.  Nancy, with both arms intact, on the right.
Our last night in Maine, and not even broken limbs can keep us from our favorite card game.

Home, tired, grumpy, ready for bed, and dammit I didn't do an index card yet.
A scrap of thick textured collage,  fragmented like my tired brain.  Glue down a bit of a gelatin print, pulled from my file cabinet. The lumpy nature of the card made the scan kind of blurry in the background, but it adds to the overall effect I think.

Tuesday was my dad's 75th birthday.
I helped him install his new garbage disposal to honor the occasion.
The brains (L) and the brawn (R)
and came home to use up some more of those fabulous desk scraps.
It pays to never clean the work table.
 What day is it?  Where am I? 
Tissue and paper towel scraps from the recycling pile.  Chair from the IKEA catalog.  What is that creature?  I don't know, but he's righteous.

A picture of the inside of my head on Thursday night:

All good intentions of making lots and lots of art tonight have vanished into the black hole of the internet, the comfy couch, and the cuddly cat.
What have you been up to?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Try this with the kids in your life

Next week is my week to plan the camp curriculum.  Most the of the projects are ready to go, but I keep finding new ones and testing them out for suitability.

Today, in my kitchen, I blew rainbow bubble snakes:

This surpassed all expectations for sheer awesomeness.
You need an empty plastic bottle, and old sock, some tape, some dish soap, some food coloring.

I discovered this fabulous activity on the blog "Housing a Forest" (follow the link for the how-to)
Grab your nearest kid, or grandkid, or niece or nephew or neighbor and try this right now.
I had so much fun all by myself, I filled my kitchen sink with rainbow bubble snakes.
Imagine how much fun I'll have when I do it with the kids next week!

Tonight's index card is aptly titled "preparations"
as I prepare not only for next week's curriculum, but for a long weekend in my favorite place on earth.
I leave Thursday for a few days on Rangelely Lake (in Rangeley Maine) and there is much to be done before I hit the road.

  Now which art supplies shall I pack???

Monday, July 15, 2013

Two things I always forget about summer

(we won't even talk about mosquitoes)

Nothing like vermin to bring out my true colors.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Stamp out the heat wave

Last weekend, when it was too stinking hot to sit in my art room, I was looking for a project I could do at the air-conditioned dining room table.

I decided to carve some stamps.

I've been wanted more postal-themed stamps to use on outgoing envelopes.
I currently have my make-shift post mark stamp:
made from the inside of a roll of scotch tape and a carved eraser

And I have these sweet little envelope stamps I got in a swap from JaniceMarie:

But I wanted more!
I used my "cheater" method of stamp carving in which I find clip art images and transfer them onto the carving block so I don't have to try drawing anything.
Here's what I came up with:
(I love Mr. Zip!)
And here they are, put to use on my outgoing package to the lovely Gina Visione:


The box is wrapped in original blueprints from my old junior high school, rescued from the building before it was demolished earlier this year.

What was inside that package to Gina?
More carved stamps, of course!
Gina is a lover of all things vision related, so I carved her these eye stamps.
 (I forgot to photograph the actual stamps, but these are the test prints I made)

Here are the backs of a few postcards Gina made with the stamps that show them to greater effect:
Swap-bot Eyes
original mail art by GinaVisione.  Go check out all her great art at Flickr.

A few weeks ago, Gina surprised me with this custom stamp:
(MMSA=Mail Me Some Art)
How cool is that?
I've been stamping it on everything in sight.
It gives that nice satisfying "thunk" when you press it.
It makes me feel so official and important.
Plus, with a stamp like this, you can look busy all the time.
(thanks again sweet G.)

Finally,  when I was at Michael's last week, I found this bag of foam shapes for $2.
Apparently they are meant to be an educational toy, not a craft supply....

But with my heat gun and some texture plates, they have been turned into wee stamps.
The blocks are 1 inch cubes

I first learned this moldable foam stamp technique in Traci Bunker's wonderful "Print & Stamp Lab" book.
(I love this book.  I've had it for years and use ideas from it all the time.  I haven't read it in a while and found is totally worth revisiting with an eye toward texture-making ideas for gelatin prints.)

Here are images from some of the stamps I've made so far:

And here are some of the stamps put to use on index cards:

It's going to be really stinking hot again all next week, so there may be even more stamps in my near future.

In the meantime, I'll be running around the house, stamping "confidential" on everything that doesn't move, and singing this song in my head.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

text box

I'm a habitual clipper of text.
I'm forever cutting out delightful words and phrases from the many many books I've amassed for collage purposes.

I keep them all in this box, and I've been dipping into it frequently throughout the ICAD challenge.

Tonight, after narrowly escaping a dreaded social situation and instead spending a wonderful spontaneous evening with my family, I came home to make my index card.
I painted a background and pondered.
What to add?

Out comes the text box.
Here's a possible phrase.
Here's another.
Or maybe this one?

what about these three all together?


Friday, July 12, 2013

Late Night ICAD

Tuesday night:
Home at midnight after seeing Belle and Sebastian play in Boston.
Spent the drive home wracking my brain for index card inspiration.
Settled on the opening line of one of their songs.

Wednesday night:
Tired from a long day at work and a short night of sleep after last night's outing.  No index card ideas whatsoever.  Idly snipping up more of last year's unfinished index cards, trying to keep car hair out of the matte medium.  Finally using this great bit of a text from a postcard from Mary

Thursday night:
Dinner guest.  Lots of food and wine.  Ready for bed, but first an index card.
I just so happen to have a pre-painted card, received in the mail from Sandra.
And some cheap spotted packing tape, newly acquired.
And some text from Terrie in today's mail.
and for the life of me I can't remember who recently sent me that image, but I'm so grateful to all my swapping friends for showering me with collage fodder!
(I crack myself up)

Friday Night:
Even though I went to bed last night vowing to make my index card in the morning before work, I find myself at 10PM without one.  I spent the evening sorting and swapping the 106 monochromatic orange postcards for my most recent MMSA swap.  Once everything was stamped and labeled and appropriately documented, I sifted through all the empty envelopes, decided which could be reused, and cutting off all the interesting bits of the others before recycling them.
Here is my index card using bits of envelope from Lynn, Carroll, Mandy, Noel, Jan and Ria.

I am so thankful for this challenge.  Without it, there is no way I would have made any art this week.
My daily card habit, coupled with my year-long collage challenge, gets me in such a creative groove that even when I'm falling-down-tired-and-almost-incoherent, I can still make something I like.
Thank you Tammy and Hanna for these inspiring and motivating challenges.