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

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Ferry on Friday

My long weekend got off to a terrific start on Friday with a beautiful ferry ride from San Francisco to Marin county, two inspiring altered book shows, a fun visit to an art supply shop with typewriters hanging on the wall and lunch outside under a huge oak tree at a local Greek Festival.
Today I collaged some cards from the ephemera I picked up to send to the friends I was with on Friday.
You know who you are.

Been getting a lot done this weekend too -- made a zine, collages, finished 24 assembling pages to send off to Germany, some mail art.
And I saw a really fun film last night called CHEF.
I recommend it -- but either eat first or plan a great dinner out afterwards because all the beautiful food in the film will make you hungry.

Having a good weekend, you all?
I'd like to hear what all of you are doing.....


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Burning Rubber -- Part One

Amuse the Children

Amuse the Children -- and the rest of us! This is a group that likes rubber stamps.
I have been getting lots of questions about rubber stamps lately so I thought I would write a post and share what I know with all of you. In fact, as I worked on this, there were so many interesting things to share I think I better do two posts.

Vintage Set of Rubber Stamps

I have a whole lot of rubber stamping mail artist friends so I went and asked the experts .
I haven't been very good about cleaning my stamps but I discovered the other mail artists I talked to do clean the stamps. Time I change my evil on.

These beauties were photographed in the studio of JU here in San Francisco. She is the poster girl for caring for rubber stamps properly.
She says: 
 I keep a flat dish with moist paper towels by my desk and tap them on them…then place them on dry paper towels to absorb the moisture…then put them back in their place in the drawer (unless I am doing a bunch of things and they may stay out a bit longer but I usually clean them just out of habit)

Here's her set-up now. 
I asked: Can you recommend any special kind of ink pad that works really well?

 My favorite black ink pad (which is the one I use the most) is Carter’s Felt Stamp Pad Size 2: 3.25 x 6.25.  A great size for most stamps and one can re-ink the felt over and over and over.
JU keeps her stamps in narrow wooden drawers, roughly in the same place so she can find them more easily. 
A tiny sample of JU's stamping. Doesn't really do her justice. She sends the most wonderful mail art.
JU's stamps (well...a few of them....)

Next stop -- Santa Fe -- and some Q&A for Peggy. I would sure like to know where she got all these rubber stamps. Maybe if we are really, really nice she will tell us in the comments section.
Peggy tells me--

I clean.  With baby wipes and dry on a little scrubber thingie from the stamp store.  I even wash it now and then.
I store on shelves that my husband built in my studio.  I arrange by category and once a year or so I take them all off, dust, move around a bit.

Postcard from Peggy
She says if you are ever in Santa Fe, stop by Guadalupe's Fun Rubber Stamps.
And, if you can't get to Santa Fe, here is the link for some online shopping
Guadalupe's Fun Rubber Stamps
Peggy doesn't like online stamp shopping but I certainly do!

Here's another tip from her -- if you buy some lovely vintage rubber stamps where the rubber has gotten brittle and doesn't stamp well -- try soaking the rubber part of the stamp in some baby oil or olive oil overnight, wipe clean and try stamping.
They just might soften up and work.

Next Stop -- Pasadena.
Recently I was lucky enough to visit mail artist Stan Askew in Pasadena. He graciously allowed me to take some photos of his stamp collection and he answered my stamping questions.
Here's how Stan cleans his stamps--

"I try to be careful with my rubber stamps, but I do not clean them each time I use them. When I do clean them I currently use a product called "spritz" that I purchased at a store in Pasadena that sells specialty papers and rubber stamps and related materials [ ink pads, cleaners ]. I don't spray the cleaner directly on the stamp, but on to a soft dish towel, and then I gently wipe the rubber stamping surface. sometimes I use a soft tooth brush, as well, if I determine that the stamp is heavily embedded with old ink. I always blot the stamp with a clean towel when I have finished removing old ink."

Stan's studio & stamp bins

" I store my rubber stamps in plastic containers with lids that I purchase at target. I try not to put too many stamps in a container. I like the ones that are made to be easily stacked.
I like the ink pads made by Ranger. The ink is archival and the pads come in various sizes"

I think Stan was holding out on me a little -- look what I saw when he opened the desk drawer!
A whole drawer of stamps.

Stan has been collecting rubber stamps since the 60's. As soon as I saw these lovely wood mounted stamps I could tell they were old.
All of us agreed -- wood mounted is best!

Check out InvokeArts Stamps too -- They were in SF at Ex Postal Facto and Stan -- and I -- bought a few stamps from them. Someone wanted to know where I got my Bird Air Mail stamp (sorry, I forget who) and this is the place you can get one.

Stamping by Stan

If you have ever gotten mail art from Stan, you know he custom stamps each and every envelope with the name and address.
And here are some of the stamps he uses to do it!

Thanks to JU in San Francisco, Peggy in Santa Fe and Stan Askew in Pasadena for the tips and peeks into their work and workspace.
Any questions for them? Just ask in the comments and I bet we can get them to answer. And I think I better start cleaning my stamps like these artists do.....

Part two -- MY stamp collection and storage and some of the places I buy my my stamps.
You know you want to know. I won't tell you ALL my secrets but I will tell most of them so stay tuned for part two.

And feel free to jump into the conversation -- any rubber stamping tips? How do you clean your stamps?

Till then -- happy stamping!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Postal Play Day

Friday was the long awaited all-day-all-fun play day with my mail art pal --
Kelly P the Fearless Mailer.
She had just one day in San Francisco to visit me and we intended to make the best of it!
First stop -- SCRAP.
Always a good place to start....

We each filled our bags with lots of great ephemera and there was no fighting.
There were multiples of just about everything and we shared. We are good like that.
It is fun to use these inter-office envelopes and see what's in side peeking out through the holes.

I found a whole bunch of these cards -- with stamps printed on them. I can't resist stamps.

Kelly found this rather grungy old envelopes and I said look inside to see if there is a cool pattern -- score!

After Scrap we went over to my studio where we met up with the wonderful S Wurlitzer --
maker of fabulous artistamps and mail art and a correspondent of Kelly's.
(I am under strict orders to use small photos of the people involved!)

S Wurlitzer gifted KSP with several sheets of her fabulous artistamps.

Me with Kelly P --

I might have been jealous of those coveted artistamps but Kelly gifted me with -- are you ready? -- this amazing small portable typewriter -- to bring on all my road trips from now on.
She carried the typewriter on the plane. What a pal.

It almost like they knew Kelly way coming to town, doesn't it? Just look at this fun display.
Lots of tape,,,,

.....and this nice display of little origami paper envelopes. I will have to try making some of those.

Right in the middle of all the shopping and oohing and ahhing there was a sighting of
Miss Red Letter Day ...

What a treat!
We couldn't have planned it any better. And what else is funny is, Kelly also ran into Red Letter Day in in NYC when they were both visiting there.
Small world.

After lunch (sushi) in Japantown we went over to Chinatown to look at the paper in the joss shops. Made a stop at the shop where S Wurlitzer and I both found so many treasures in the past...
most of the vintage paper inventory is gone but we managed to pick up a couple of things.

We had to make a stop at Caffe Puccini for a cappuccino. Needed a bit of  caffeine after running around all day long.
And, know, it is part of the name of my blog. 

Last stop, back to my studio for a little mail art. KSP & I worked on some mail for the postal pals we have in common.
We had a little wine and a few olives too.

Now that was a GOOD MAIL DAY.

Thanks to S Wurlitzer for driving us around and being such great company and to Red Letter Day for the surprise hello.
I'm just a little sad they aren't all in my studio right now so we can play.

That was one fun day.


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