Thursday, April 26, 2012

letter writing and mail art

I've gotten into mail art and have shared the idea with friends who are now practicing it and sending it to others. Letters lift spirits, as they say. And, it's even better when it's got some art on it. :)

Since it's National Letter Writing Month (April - almost the end...) and I'm finishing up a set of Elevated Envelopes for a mail art exchange I figure I'll do a post about it. Besides the letters/mail art I'm sending for the Elevated Envelope exchange, I've sent letters/mail art to my daughter in Montana, to a friend and have a few more to make/write before the month ends.

Can't think of what to write? Find some good letter writing topics here on the 365 Letters blog.

If you like stamps like I do, the US Postal Service has a quarterly publication called Beyond the Perf that you might be interested in. It's free and I'm looking forward to getting my first issue soon.

If you are curious about how I made the envelopes, here's a summary - I used Canson's mixed media paper from a sketch book and sprayed on homemade alcohol inks (made with Ranger alcohol inks mixed in a small spray bottle with 91% rubbing alcohol). When I sprayed the inks on the paper, I used a variety of stencils to mask (and then immediately turned the stencil over and pressed the wet ink on the stencil back on to the paper so as not to waste it). I made my own envelope template by taking apart an envelope and then tracing it on manila folder and cutting it out. After I cut out the envelopes and folded them, I used a dip pen and india ink and drew/doodled on some scribbly flowers, then took a white water-based Sharpie paint pen and added highlights to the flowers once they were dry. I had a stamp that said 'Priorite' ("priority" or "important" in French I assume). I love the rolls of kraft paper they have at Home Depot (use them for a base cover on my table when I paint) and took a piece of that and used my vintage typewriter to type the names of the recipients of my mail art. I then tore the addresses out/off and glue-sticked them on the envelope. Then I stuffed them with a mini envelope with vintage/foreign stamps, some watercolor sprayed vintage dictionary paper I made, my business card, a little note about myself, and a few blank address labels I designed and printed. (I don't know if it's customary/mandatory to do so, but I always include a few little items to exchange in my mail art.)

So, now I just wait for next week to come (the deadline for this exchange) and I'll be sharing pictures of the mail art that I receive back! I'm excited!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Doodles Unleashed. Lesson 1

I am doing a free online art class taught by Traci Bautista and sponsored by Strathmore. Making time to make art is something that I want to do more this year. I have Traci's book Collage Unleashed which is great and also have taken an in-person art workshop with her. She is the first mixed media artist that I really started following.

The class is called Doodles Unleashed and here is the finished artwork from the first lesson.

I think you can still sign up for the free online art workshop and there are also a couple more to try if you want to learn something new (and why not?)

Here's to making lots of art and having fun creating it in 2012. Happy New Year!

What kinds of things do you want to do more of this year?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pencil shavings art

A while back I got a bunch of Prismacolor colored pencils and sharpened them all, resulting in a large pile of very colorful pencil shavings. It was so pretty I took a picture of it (several pictures, actually with the shavings in different configurations). After seeing this art, I wish I had kept some of it in one of the cute little glass jars I have. Guess I can always sharpen more pencils...

This reminds me of the little game that I had when I was little - Wooly Willy where you had a board with a printed face and a magnetic 'pencil' which would pick up small black metal shavings that you arrange on the printed face to make eyebrows, beards, mustaches, etc.

Speaking of Wooly Willy, here are some instructions on how to make your own Wooly Willy table using an Ikea Lack table and Ribba frame (both pretty inexpensive). You could obviously change the image from the bald-headed man to anything else that would be fitting - how about a fashion doll and you use the magnetic shavings to design clothing on her?

See more of the pencil shaving portraits on Design Boom.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Yay! I got my first mail art!

Getting good mail when you go to your mailbox is the best thing! Today was a good mail day for me - I received my first mail art! It came from Pamela in SF, whom I sent mailart to about a week or so ago. She made a cool envelope that was Japanese themed - it had cute sushi tape on it and some washi tape. Inside was a collection of various Chinese red money envelopes, some joss paper, a vintage envelope and a couple of handwritten letters, one of which was written on the cutest stationery. I love it! I can't wait to get more mail art! Thank you, Pamela!

Send mail art to get mail art. Make Every Day a Good Mail Day is where I found out about mail art and found some mail artists to write to. Make sure to take a peek at Pamela's blog - she sends and receives a lot of mail art and you'll love looking at it all on her blog.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

More street painting pics

 Here are a few more pictures of us out at the Temecula Street Painting festival doing the art thing. More details later...

Street painting festival

The Temecula Street Painting Festival is held in Old Town Temecula every June. We have been going for the past four years as spectators, enjoying watching the artists at work. This year I participated in the event and painted one of my "dolls" with a quote that I love: the eARTh without "ART" is just "eh".

It was a great day. Lots of fun and I especially loved that many friends came by to say hi, and a few even stayed to help!

I will post more about the actual process in a followup post when I am not on my iPad.

Have you ever been to a street painting festival or participated in any kind of art event?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mail art time!

So, for a while I've been interested in the concept of mail art. A while back I purchased Good Mail Day and  Mail Me Art and have looked through and read both several times, enjoying the pictures of the cool mail art. I have amassed a nice bit of ephemera and scraps and yesterday made some of my very first official mail art which I promptly put in the post today. If you aren't familiar with mail art, one of the most important rules is that if you receive mail art you should send something back in return. So, I am looking forward to getting some cool mail art back in my mailbox. Hopefully soon!

The top photo shows two pieces that I am sending off to a couple of mailartists. Sometimes mail art is just that - mail art on envelopes with nothing inside. Sometimes you write a letter and include some ephemera. Both of these envelopes are filled with stuff from my stash. I hope the recipients like it. The top envelope was just a folded up map from our day trip to the San Diego zoo with an address label that I designed and stuff collaged on it. The bottom one is a security envelope from some junk mail that I undid and re-glued inside out. I put in a map of the San Diego zoo (yes, I grabbed a few sheets of those maps - perfect for collaging!) and some of the labels that I made, among other stuff. Below shows another envelope made from paper I designed with stuff collaged on it. The 'letters lift spirits' is from a vintage stamp (I think from the 70s or 80s) that I found in my postage stamp stash. I might make a sticker with those words on it to use in future mailings.

Paper is some that I designed and printed out, made into an envelope and then collaged on some images I had from a notepad and a magazine.
 I've already made several other envelopes that I am going to send to more mail art friends. If you are interested in learning more, check out Every day should be a Red Letter Day  - Jennie Hinchcliff's blog (author of Good Mail Day). She has links to more sites on her blog. Good stuff!

My daughter now wants me to send her some mail art. I told her she has to send me or someone else some first. :)

When was the last time you sent someone a letter?