Spot the Difference #2

postcard 2a afterYou’ve got to be impressed by Derby’s mail service!  HP#2 arrived home safely yesterday, and you really would be hard-pushed to spot any signs of  damage due to it’s journey through the postal system (compare the pic above to the earlier pic in this post – I defy you to spot the difference!  I assure you, they are different pics, taken days apart).  postcard 2b before & afterThe only evidence can be found in the slightly disappointing hand-scribbled cancellation of the postage stamp.  Otherwise, it is entirely unscarred, and might just as well have not travelled anywhere at all!

I suspect I am not challenging my handwoven postcards sufficiently, by sending them on such a short, local journey.  Perhaps Derby is especially (unusually?) mail art-friendly?  But HP#3 (& possibly HP#4) will test out the services slightly further afield.  I’ve not had chance for any further weaving yet, but should be underway in the next few days…

On the plus side, the results of my experiments so far must surely be encouraging to anybody who is worried about the damage that might befall their artwork should they free it into the postal system.  Personally, I’m a bit disappointed – I was hoping for some scars and more obvious signs of transit…   But on the evidence to date, it seems quite likely that your missives will survive entirely in tact and unharmed, so now that excuse is by the wayside – get creative! 🙂

The Handwoven Postcard Project

TangleClub New Year Update

Happy New Year, everybody!

I’m sure everybody has been too busy with celebrations to notice that this month’s TangleClub Freebie is a day late, but it is now up and ready to access for all you lovely TangleClubbers.
It is actually not at all what I had intended to post this month, but over the New Year weekend, Corey and I re-discovered a card game which we invented several years ago (it’s very cool; more to come about that another time!), and that sent my train of thought in an entirely
different direction.

Thus, this month’s freebie is a set of printable playing cards (to use in conjunction with the 1000 Blank Cards site/game which I have blogged about previously) – or alternatively a set of mini notecards/enclosure cards; your choice!  The PDF includes 3 pages: Dandelion Smile cards as shown, optional lined backs, and a template sheet for you to design your own cards.

N.B. If you go for the notecard option, check back to the January 2011 freebie for matching Dandelion Smile mailing labels!

If you are not currently a member of the TangleClub but want to share the monthly freebie-ness,  simply spend £5 or more in the TangleStore or TangleStore UK & you will qualify for TangleClub Basic membership absolutely free!

TAB Project Update

It might seem as though I have forgotten about
The Achievement Badge Project since its launch, but I haven’t!  Although I must concede that I have definitely been running a little behind…
I have caught up, though, and have to say how very cool the latest batch of entries is, with achievements ranging from map-reading without getting lost to being accepted onto an Open University course at age 14 (wow, Adel Wilson – congratulations! – preview above right) to ‘not being perfect but being normal’. 🙂

The  Gallery  has been updated today (current total 11 entries) but is only available to those who have joined the project, so start thinking about what you have achieved this year – however minor or major – and design a badge to
reward yourself.  You deserve it!

The closing date for the TAB Project is December 31st, 2011.

Don’t forget, TangleClubbers can claim 1 free entry (see August Archive freebie), and downloadable entry forms for everybody else can be found on the
TAB Project page


I’ve been a little bit fascinated by merit badges, lately.  The only time I’ve ever had something like this in real life was when I was in the Brownies – where the only badges I specifically remember earning were the Reading Badge (Enid Blyton, I believe!) and the Collector’s Badge (I really need to dig out that coin collection…) although I’m certain there were more.  Why should such activities be confined to children, is what I wonder?  Well, it seems I am not alone in such ponderances, as a little browsing brought up all kinds of fun stuff that I now feel obliged to share…

First up is the Make Do Mail.  I just couldn’t resist – it’s a zine full of DIY projects & recipes, it’s a club with a membership card (doubling as a handy kitchen conversion chart), and it also includes a DIY merit badge for you to embroider yourself, once you have worked your way through the club booklet.  How’s that for feeling like you’ve earned something?!  I am a little previous mentioning this, as I have only just ordered my membership pack/s but I’m sure I will be back to tell you more once my
goodies arrive…

Next up is from one of my old favourites, the Letter Writers Alliance.   First you need to join the LWA (follow the linked text or image below), but then you can sign up for the quite wonderful new ‘Initiative Response’ program.  You can only sign up by mail, and then you will receive in return a letter of introduction to the program and a form comprising a list of tasks to be completed for your chosen initiative/s (choose from ‘World Traveler’, ‘Typist’ and ‘Out of the Box’).  If you complete the tasks successfully, then (and only then!) you will receive the appropriate hand-embroidered badge as your reward.  I love so many aspects of this.  The whole point of the LWA is to promote the nearly-lost art of writing letters so it is wonderful that there is no option to join the program online: you have to apply by post.  And I like that you have to complete the mail-related tasks before you receive the badges – which will be sent to you by post.  I will definitely be doing this & will update with further developments in due course! 🙂

But if all that ‘earning’ feels like a little too much like hard work, you must check out the quite astounding Lee Meszaros Etsy Store, which offers badges for everyday occurrences and personality traits that most of us can achieve without even trying (although it’s still nice to be recognised for! 😉 ).  I picked out ‘Pushing the envelope’, ‘Being just my type’, ‘Letting the cat out of the bag’ and ‘Being proud as a peacock’  but other categories include ‘Surviving first love’, ‘Taking the cake’, ‘Never changing your spots’, ‘Making lemons out of lemonade’ – you get the idea!  All sorts of everyday triumphs are recognised in these witty badges.  Each badge is silk-screened, hand-painted, hand-embroidered, and comes with its own presentation certificate  – they really are miniature works of art and would make wonderful gifts.

What merit badge are you holding out for?

Zines I Like #3: Dark Side of the Building by

This 16 page, half-size zine is mostly handwritten (with a typewritten essay by Grace), and has a machine-stitched spine.  Nice.  Contents give a thorough explanation of the concepts of dumpster diving and freeganism (extreme recycling), including advice on getting started, tools of the trade, safety, and how to deal with potential run-ins with the police…

The diagram left demonstrates exactly why I am unlikely to ever go dumpster diving:
free stuff + me = yes please;
dirty + me =
no thanks.
Even my zines are far from their grubby, cut-and-pasted, photocopied roots (but that’s okay; it’s just my interpretation of a form).  But that is exactly what I like about this zine: it informs me about something I will never ever do, but is nonetheless fascinating, and I do agree with in principle; and the handmade style of presentation makes for interesting reading in and of itself, too.  Find out for yourself, zine available from Fifty Sticks (because one more would be too many goddamn sticks).

Zines I Like #2: So You Wanna Write a Manifesto? by A4DS

From the inside front cover:
Art for a Democratic Society is dedicated to the promotion of a conscious and public discussion of art and its role in society.  We believe that open and democratic debate, discussion, and critique are preconditions for progressive and inclusive movements in politics, art, and culture.  We seek to engage artists and art audiences in public discussions concerning the state of. and relationship between, art, politics, and culture in contemporary society.”

While I am marginally scared by the earnestness of the above statement, I am nonetheless fascinated by the concept of art manifestos.  And this cute little pocket-sized workbook really makes me want to sit down and think for a moment about what & why I create.  Crammed into its 16 pages is an overview of writing a manifesto, questions and starting points to kickstart your own manifesto, plus 4 manifestos created during a manifesto workshop, demonstrating alternative approaches to the project.

So You Wanna Write a Manifesto? is available for a measly $1 from the A4DS (Art for a Democratic Society) Etsy Store, as well as a wide variety of additional historical & contemporary manifestos to inspire you.  You can also visit the A4DS blog for lots of online content & to find out how to participate in the Manifesto Exchange.

Zines I Like #1: One a Day by WalkerWorld

Zines I Like is going to be a recurring if sporadic feature on this blog – in no way comprehensive, but just a heads-up to some cool zines I have discovered.  After ‘researching’ my treasuries a couple of weeks ago I had a small spree, so the next few days will feature some zines I have very recently acquired.  The numbering, by the way, is not a rating or hierarchy of the zines mentioned, just a numerical list of those featured to help me keep track. 

One a Day: April 2011 by WalkerWorld

I first came across Laura Walker’s zines early last year, with her first One a Day project (which I blogged about briefly here).  In fact, Laura was the inspiration for my own Doodle a Day project in February of this year which I mentioned in passing here.  (It was a fun challenge & I’ll be expanding on various ideas that emerged from it, but the resulting zine will only be seeing very limited release! 😉 )

Anyway, back to the subject at hand, Laura’s own One a Day project has morphed slightly for 2011 into more of a journal project, making for a fun & varied zine cataloguing the random details of Laura’s life through photography, handwritten text, lists, traditional cut’n’paste photocopied layouts & cartoon-style illustrations.  I loved Laura’s original One a Day project, but it’s interesting to see how an idea grows and develops.   Probably what I like most about it is that it incorporates pretty much everything that my own zines do not!  You can check out both old & new styles in the Walker World Etsy Store as well as the brand new May 2011 issue (which I will update on here once I’ve snaffled my copy!).

Feeling bored?

There used to be a TV program shown during the summer holidays called ‘Why don’t you?’, and it was pretty much all about things to do when you’re bored, to stop you from being bored.  A friend recently alerted me to a very cool DIY game called 1000 Blank Cards, which struck me as exactly the kind of thing that might have been featured (except it wasn’t, as the game is relatively recently invented, and Why Don’t You was shown approx. 25 years ago.  Erk.  I’m old.)   Anyway, here are a couple of cards that I was sent to start off my deck, and I fully intend to force unassuming friends to join in the game next time they think they are innocently coming around just to hang out.  So, why don’t you?  Draw your own cards (as you know, I can’t draw, either – that doesn’t need to be a hindrance!), get as weird/original/quirky/mundane as you like and just…play!  Seriously, who has time to be bored?

N.B. I think anybody playing 1000 Blank Cards in my house would sadly earn nul points if they happened to draw the souvenir thimble card above.   Do many people have them?  Really?  Well, being out of the loop in the majority of ways, it really wouldn’t surprise me to learn I have totally missed the latest souvenir-thimble-collecting craze – but maybe I’m not too late.  Watch this space for a souvenir thimble update the next time I have been…uh…anywhere…  Hmm.  There could be a flaw in this plan…

TangleClub – August update

If you are a member of the TangleClub, now is the time to check out the TangleClub Archive for the latest club-exclusive freebie.  This month, I have put together an online exclusive for TangleClub members, combining the very first Going Postal mini-zine with the most recent, completed on August 2nd.

Inspired by the contributions so far?  There’s still time to contribute!  Submissions are still accepted until August 31st – click here for full details.

Not a member?  All you need to do is place an order for any item in the TangleCrafts Etsy Store, and your TangleClub membership package will be despatched with your order.

Already a member?  Don’t forget, you are entitled to 10% off your next order (or different discounts/offers if you have already placed a second order) so browse the store, and see what’s new!

Friends & Faux – the first wanderers return!

It was with complete lack of prescience that I opened two envelopes that dropped onto my doormat, this morning.  They were both from overseas, but I receive letters and mail art of all kinds, every day, so I had no reason to believe that these particular envelopes held anything of especial significance (beyond the usual happiness at receiving interesting mail).  So to say I was somewhat excited when I opened the first envelope to discover the completed face of Friends & Faux Postcard #1 is something of an understatement!  It has travelled from the UK to Australia, back to the UK, to the U.S.A. to Argentina and finally home, with wonderful artistamps added at every step of the journey. The back of the postcard is almost as interesting, with the over-labelled addresses, plus postage stamps and postmarks from the various countries it has visited en route:I was thrilled enough at the prospect of documenting the return of Postcard #1, but my happy mail day did not end there – oh no!  Upon opening the second envelope, in a state of equal unawareness as I had the first, I was amazed to see the return home of a second Friends & Faux postcard, this time #8! How curious/coincidental that I should receive them both on the same day, later in the same week that I had posted my first update on the project.  Both cards must, of course, have been mailed before my update post which just intensifies the level of happy coincidence.

I was even more surprised by the return of Postcard #8 than #1, as I had received no updates on its progress whatsoever, since it left my hands.  I know it first travelled to the U.S.A.  and returned home via Australia, but where did it stop off, in between?  Here I acknowledge the failure in my postcard design –
I have spaces for names and dates, but not locations (or means of contact).  D’oh!  So if you are reading this & happen to know the locations of Kit Gonzales-Moore, ASKA, T-Lea or Pete Spence, please do drop me a line to let me know, so that I can update the Postcard Log accordingly.

But regardless of my shortcomings in logging the in-transit progress of these postcards, I am very grateful to all who contributed to them en route!  Thank you for your creative additions and for keeping the cards moving. 🙂  I really didn’t expect any of the cards to make it home so soon, so I am super-pleased with this result, and now even more eagerly awaiting the return of more.

There is currently no deadline on joining the Friends & Faux project, so if you would like your very own postcard to add your very own artistamp, please get in touch, and I will set the wheels in motion. I’m so excited about this project now! Can you tell? 😀