Mostly postal but art and other things of interest too.
Come and visit.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Making Stuff

Oh yes, I've been busy. Besides exploring my friend's studios and going a little crazy at the Vintage Paper Fair, I am always making stuff.
These tri-fold pockets were inspired by one my mail art pal Dori Singh made for me.
They are so fun to make (and to receive). I like to fill them up with little surprises or letters.

Thank-you folder for j

Here is the folder opened up and filled with small surprises.....

....easy to do -- just either use double-sided paper or put two sheets together -- and do a tri-fold.
Then, fold up the bottom part way to make a pocket.
You can either sew the pocket closed or (as I do) use some double stick tape
and punch a hole on the front, thread some ribbon through and
fill 'er up!
Thanks for the inspiration, Dori.

Outgoing to the UK -- vellum envelope with airmail folder tucked inside.
This one did NOT make it to Alex in the UK.
I wonder what happened to it. I took it to the PO to be sure the correct postage was on it and had it hand cancelled.Very frustrating.

Little rubber stamped zine -- an edition of only six! 

But -- you can all take a look inside!
I spent one chilly, foggy SF summer day making loads of envelopes -- very fun!
The kangaroo is for Vizma in Australia (of course). I bet she's seen a real kangaroo or two.
Now she'll get a mail art one.

Support Your Local Cow -- do I have to say any more?
(to KSP)

Some summer farmers market inspired envelopes -- the giant tomato goes to
Miss Millicent.
The only thing about making loads of decorated envelopes is that you've got to actually FILL them up.
I'm working on it.

I got out the watercolors and started splashing and dripping and dabbing (and then stamping) on papers......that was fun. A lot of fun!
But waiting for everything to dry is hard on an Aries...

Allan Bealy/Pamela Gerard
Took a little time out to collaborate with AB on a collage postcard. 
Remember the postcards I was working on in the Collage post? Well, here they are all finished and going out to Jon Foster and Stan Askew....

A couple more envelopes ready to be finished up, filled and sent off into the world....
This week was all about farmers markets, summer produce and vintage kid's books...

An Empire State of Mind -- outgoing to SW
Playing with paint...
I have been having so much fun just fooling around with paints, inks and rubber stamps.
Getting your hands dirty is really fun.
And my motto is
Why Send It Plain when You Can Send It Fancy?
These sheets of lined paper just needed a little something...

It was quite entertaining to flick paint around and dribble and stamp some distress ink and generally make a (beautiful) mess. I am really getting into this...

After the paint comes the rubber stamping -- now I'm ready to write some letters to fill up all those envelopes I've been making!
A couple more inspired....
And some postcards.......Avocado cards and  a postcard I made while fooling around with paints and stencils...
Now I'm just sitting around waiting for different paints to dry.....gathering up my nerves after a 3:32AM wake-up call in the form of a 6. earthquake.
I really can live without those suckers.
We are fine here in SF except for jangled nerves but I really feel for those folks up there in Napa who really took the hit.
I guess earthquakes are the price we pay for living in one of the most wonderful places in the world.

I am happy today to be safe and work in my studio. Thanks to all of you who contacted me to ask if I was OK. Such a lovely, international mail art community.

So, what are all of you working on this week? Envelopes? Collages?Letters?
Do tell.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Does the Postman Ring Twice? Postal Books You Just Might Like!

This little book looks like it was much loved. And, I love it too. I recently came across it in an antique shop where I also found a tiny mail box bank.
The guy just threw this book in for free!
Sometimes you get lucky.

A good example why you shouldn't use tape that isn't acid free.

I am just loving these drawings of post men. So charming. And, since the book is falling apart anyway, I don't feel too bad about tearing out the pages to use for art purposes....

Did you know this?

I hope he stops at my mail box.

Here is another charming book about mail. A pal gifted this one to me -- a find at Scrap. 

There is some fun stuff in this one -- a section of The Language of Stamps and
another few pages of US Postal Service stamps featuring the US Postal Service!

I have long thought we should resurrect The Language of Stamps.
Anyone agree?

Love this one. Is she licking it? Sealing it? Smelling it? I don't know but I like it.

An American Postal Portrait
A Photographic Legacy -- produced by the United States Postal Service
I found this book cheap on Amazon and took a chance on buying it. If you are a postal nerd (who, me?), I"d say it is nice to have in your collection. Lots of photos, some vintage and semi-vintage and some interesting stuff.

The book from the fabulous Ex Postal Facto event and show. These are photos of the mail art shown at the SF Center for the Book -- an inspiring collection of mail art.
A sample page of deliciousness....
Contact the SF Center for the Book if you are interested in getting a copy of your own.

Good Mail Day
by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler
I have mentioned this book many times but I am finding some folks still don't know about it --gasp!
If you don't have it, and you like mail art, you've got to get it.
That's all I can say.

Page after page after page of great stuff.
No, it doesn't come autographed -- I am just lucky enough to know Jennie and Carolee and  almost all the folks who created the book and the mail artists who contributed.
Kind of like a mail art yearbook?

This post started out to be about the two vintage books I had but (like all my art projects) it evolved and I included a couple of contemporary books too to round things out.
And, why not?

So, keep your eye out for some of those old books next time you pass a garage sale or library book sale and you know where to get the other, newer books if you want to.

Now I'm going to go read........and maybe tear that little Mr Postman book up........

Send Good Mail --- Get Good Mail

Am I missing any good books? Postal? Artistamp? Please let me know in the comments if you know of any others.
I'm sure we'd all like to know!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My 2-cents About Collage

I see collage materials everywhere. And, I mean everywhere! It seems I am always collecting paper ephemera and trash and flyers and menus...and well, you get the idea.
And I've got to do something with all the stuff I come home every day.
Tearing and pasting is so relaxing and fun for me.
I try to make a collage or two everyday. And when I travel I really get excited about making them.
This is on a walk right near my house....

How could I resist tearing off a few of the flyers that are taped up all over?
I couldn't!

Collage materials
I always prefer to use original ephemera to work with. I especially like aged-paper but any interesting paper will do.
Some folks like to work with a photo-copy and hold on to the original. No rules.
I like gritty and.....

pretty is OK too.....
I will collage with just about any paper I get my hands on.

You can use cardboard, mat board, cut up cereal boxes as a base. Use matte medium or a glue stick to glue. You can tear or cut with a scissors. Pick up stuff off the street, use tourist brochures, transit tickets, old photos and letters, stamps, food wrappers......any paper will do...all you need is glue and a base...
Just do it.

Here's one (about 5x7) made from stuff I tore off a pole.

Three collages received from mail art pals -- eye candy and inspiration. Thanks to Adrienne, Carol and Cleo.

Recommended Books

The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman is probably my favorite. I recommend it.
Check it out of the library and see what you think.

Also highly recommended --
Collage Journeys - A Practical Guide to Creating Personal Artwork by Jane Davies
(Jane also has a great collage blog and offers online classes)
Collage Techniques - A Guide for Artists and Illustrators by Gerald Brommer
Masters: Collage - Major Works by Leading Artists 

Plowman has some really good suggestions to get you started -- like this one. He also offers
online classes.

Kurt Schwitters

Just about my favorite collage artist, Schwitters is an inspiration. If you ever get a chance to see his work in person, don't miss it. I saw a show at the Berkeley Art Museum a while back and seeing his work in person is so much better than seeing it on the page.
But check out the book too!

Kolji magazine

A magazine (from Canada) about collage. You can subscribe. Or ask your library to get it.

My Various Collage Projects

I carry a little notebook around with me and I like to make little random collages with things sitting around on my work table or found in the streets. With the notebook and a glue stick I am always ready to whip out a small collage -- something fun to do when I stop in at a cafe for a cappuccino.

Daily collages

I also like to make a daily collage using things from the day -- these are from a walk I took on the   4th of July, using things from the day (bus transfer) and things fund on the street (fire cracker wrappers).

A recent series of collages I made using vintage French postcards and old family photographs.

I got an idea of sending on my long-gone relatives on a trip to France! I think they would enjoy it, don't you?

Contemporary Collage Artists -- work I

Allan Bealy -- his book Mud Bath is published by Black Scat press
Michael Cutlip -
Niko Courtelis - Philatelic Atrocities published by Kat Ran Press
Ivan Chermayeff - Why Stamps? book by Kat Ran Press

You should be able to find all these artists by Googling them.

Another favorite and a mail art pal of mine is Planet Susannia in Germany.
I am so lucky to have a collection of her incredible one-of-a-kind collage books.
You can Google her to find her IUOMA page and her blog....

Allan Bealy/Pamela Gerard collages

Travel table Top
- - just back from an overnight and of course I packed a little travel kit to make mail art and collages.
Travel is so inspiring for collages. every big trip I take I make collages every night and they are are a
terrific souvenir of the trip.


1. Feast Your Eyes -- look as as much art as you possibly can. Go to every collage art show you can. Look at all the books you can find. You will eventually train your eye.

2. Practice Makes Perfect -- make a collage or two or 10 every day. You get better by doing it. That's why students keep a drawing sketchbook and budding photographers are supposed to shoot every day.
There is no doubt that if you want to get good at something, you have to put in the time.

3. Know the Rules before you break them -- take a class. Preferably a real class in a studio but if that isn't possible, take an online class. There is a lot to learn about composition, color, glue etc and a good instructor can get you going.

So, there you go, my 2-cents!
Now go forth and tear and paste and have fun!

Anybody know about any other fabulous collage artist? Any great books? Any classes you recommend? Please let us all know in the comments.
Because I'm still learning too.....

I hope you all enjoyed this post (and thank you to Rachel for asking me to do a collage post). Blogger was driving me crazy and I lost half of what I had written but I stuck it let me know if it was worth all the frustration trying to get this one done...


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