Gone Postal

As of my grumpy postman’s arrival this morning (and excepting the unlikely but not impossible instance of further submissions arriving by carrier pigeon or some such, later in the day) the Going Postal Project is now over!

After 7 months, a grand total of 12 mini-zines were produced, showcasing the contributions & notes of 36 artists & crafters from 6 different countries.  A complete Gallery zine will be available sometime next week, and in the meantime, FOR ONE WEEK ONLY, sets of all 12 mini-zines are available in the TangleCrafts Etsy Store.  If, like me, you love all things postal, you will be fascinated by this collection of artistic interpretations of postage/postal/mail art themes.  Full of different styles and ideas, you can’t help but be inspired!

P.S.  I know you can only see 9 mini-zines in the photos, but you will receive all 12, if you order a set, I promise! 😀

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Going Postal, Volume 2

Volume 2 of my Going Postal mini-zine series – which catalogues 3 entries to the Going Postal Project – is now available!

This volume has a completely different feel to Volume 1, and I’m really happy about that, as it is the diversity of ideas that prompted me to begin this project in the first place.  The ATCs featured in Volume 1 are predominantly brightly coloured, whereas Volume 2 has a far more muted feel; and this is not because I am trying to theme issues (I was actually going for serendipity, but ‘random’ seems to have a habit of appearing ‘ordered’, sometimes) – this is just, by chance, the order in which I received the submissions.

Both Volumes 1 & 2 of Going Postal are now available in the
TangleCrafts Etsy store, but don’t forget you will receive a FREE issue,
if you submit an ATC for a future volume of the project!

I’m back!

The move was horrible, let’s not talk about that.  But I am in the process of catching up on all orders placed over the last few weeks, and should be mostly on top of things after the weekend.  Thank you, everyone, for your patience!  I will be including extra niceness with all orders from the house-moving period, as a thank you for bearing with me.

Now, on to fun and exciting new things 🙂 .

First and foremost, the long, long awaited and very overdue 4th issue of Telaic Fantasy has finally been unleashed on the world. I’m very happy with the way it has turned out, after playing with a new layout, and (to conform with the rest of the series) keeping it to A6 (/quarter-size) format.  I am thrilled to report that TF4 includes an exclusive interview with the awesome Diane Gilleland of the Crafty Pod, found poetry from my vintage craft/weaving book collection, along with reviews, extracts from literature AND template, yarn and instructions to weave your very own Oddball companion. Check out the Etsy listing for more details & extra pics.  I’ve also put together a special bumper package, combining TF4 with membership to the DIY Weaving Club, so if you’re not already a member, join us!

If weaving doesn’t float your boat, however, I have more fun in store for you. For the last month, an innocent little link has been lurking to the right of your screens: Going Postal.  What is is it all about?  Well, it’s a super-cool mail art project, of course!  A meta-mail art project, if you will.  Click on the link for full details, but in brief, I’m asking anyone with the inclination to do so to create an ATC (using any medium they prefer), the only real stipulation being that contributions must have a postal or mail art related theme.  In some way.  If you send me an ATC, I will send you in return a (free) mini-zine featuring your artwork alongside at least 2 more contributors to the project.  (And if you just want to admire everyone else’s work, the mini-zines will be available at nominal cost in the Etsy store).  Eventually, I will compile a Going Postal super-zine, including selected contributions to the project, and various other editorials, miscellany & fun stuff; but I think the mini-zine project will run for a good while before the super-zine sees light of day, so there is plenty of time to get your creative thinking cap on, and, um, get creative…!  [ACEO above right by Hazel Fisher of Hazel Fisher Creations – check out her Etsy store!]

These two ‘news items’ are just the tip of the iceberg – look out for even more new projects & zines to appear, perhaps slowly, but steadily, as I unpack my workroom, and dig out the ideas that I packed into boxes just a couple of short weeks ago…  Well, with a name like TangleCrafts, it was never going to be straightforward, was it…?

Feeling creative?

I just found out that my friend, Misti Ko, is organising an ATC exhibition in Vancouver (Canada), running from March 1st to 21st.   If you would like to participate, all you need to do is submit 9 ATCs in a clear 9-card sleeve, with a theme along the lines of: friendship, solidarity, peace, fair play, optimism, inspiration and empowerment.  Other possible themes include ‘personal best’ or ’10’.  All ATCs submitted will be traded on the closing night of the show, and if you include return postage with your submission, you will receive 9 assorted cards in return.  What a cool way to expand your ATC collection!

Submission deadline is February 28th,

and the address to mail your submissions to is:
Vancouver 2010 ATCs
c/o RubyDog’s Art House
623 Kingsway
Vancouver
BCV5T 3K5
CANADA

Click here to visit the website for full details.

P.S. Be sure to pass on this info to any arty/crafty friends you have, who you think might be tempted to get creative with some ATCs for this cool event!

P.P.S.  Misti is also the host of another fun (ongoing) ATC Mail Art project,
It Starts With a Pencil, so be sure to check that out, too! 🙂

Happy mailday to me!

I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself over the last few days – just recovering from a killer cold (definitely not swine flu, I hasten to add!) & single-handedly keeping the tissue industry afloat.  But happily, my post-lady has been going above and beyond the call of duty bringing me lovely things from the outside world to cheer me up. 🙂 (there will be lots of smile-y faces in this post)Arteth's woven postcardFirst and foremost, I have to say a HUGE thank you to Arteth Gray, one of my original D.I.Y. Weaving Club members, for the most awesome piece of mail art.  She actually wove one of the cards from the Postcard Recycling Kit, and dared to trust it to the postal service.  There’s a bit of a gap in the weaving, and I can feel dried glue there, so I do strongly suspect that perhaps an original part of this mini-masterpiece is missing, but still, I was so happy to receive it.  🙂  It’s one of the most exciting pieces of post I’ve ever received!  I’m so impressed that it made it through, relatively unscathed.  I haven’t been weaving much lately (although I have still been working on Telaic Fantasy #4, so do keep watching this space…!), but this has really motivated me to get weaving and mail some art out into the world :-).Another fun piece of unexpected mail art also came my way today – a mail art game from Misti Ko called ‘It Starts With a Pencil‘.  The game starts with an ATC blank, printed with a pencil, and the sender’s name and address on the reverse (I should really have scanned the blank ATC to show you, but I was so eager to start playing the game, I had already drawn on it, before that thought occurred to me…).  The first recipient (in this case, me) adds something to the design on the front of the ATC, adds their own name and address to the reverse, then forwards the ATC to a 3rd person.  The 3rd person adds a final element to the overall ATC design, adds their own name and address to the reverse, then returns the ATC to the first name on the card (in this case, Misti Ko).  Misti is compiling a mail art mini-zine showing off the completed cards, and each person who has filled their name & address on an ATC will receive a copy.  How cool is that?  You can check out the completed cards online here.

I was almost (but not quite) as excited about receiving this game as I was about the handwoven postcard!  I was just finishing off a zine about doodling (more on that to follow shortly) while the pencil game ATC was sitting on the arm of my chair, and in the end I just had to give in and play.  mail art gameI started of with an inkblot & a couple of stray inkspots (I know it’s a pencil, but I was using artistic license 😉 ), then doodled around the shape to fill an area of the card.  It was a completely random inkblot & doodling, but now it’s finished, don’t you think it looks kind of like a fish face, with a pencil-dinner in mind…?  But perhaps more importantly, what do you think it will look like once it’s finished?  And perhaps more relevant still, which of my correspondents will be the one to make the decision?  I’ll be sending it on this weekend, so watch your letterbox!

And as if that wasn’t enough (!) I have also just received the August Issue of Craft Leftovers.  I’m totally loving it!  The zine is themed all about drawing, and includes a pattern to sew your own ‘Pencils to Go’ pencil wrap.  My favourite part, though, is the complete kit to bind your own sketchbook, with boards, papers, binding thread, and the cutest mini-zine, ‘Stitch n’ Sketch – how to bind your own sketch book codex style’.  If you’ve ever thought about binding your own books but not known where to start, buying this issue of Craft Leftovers is definitely the first step you should take!  Honestly, subscribing to CLM is so much fun – every month just seems to get better and better! 🙂

Anyway, get thee hence & go and create some mail art of your own – it’s certainly cheered me up! 🙂

Jelly Packet Matchbook Notebook

I don’t know why. I was lying in bed, trying to sleep, when my mind flickered to the uneaten packet of jelly sitting in the kitchen cupboard.  I wasn’t hungry, but it wasn’t leaving my mind – suddenly, I could visualise the potential of this innocent little packet of jelly.

So I got up, found the jelly, removed the actual jelly,  and took the box upstairs.  A bit of glue, 2 small snips, 1 piece of paper and 2 staples later, and I had a funky re-purposed matchbook-style notebook.  I scanned the process (only 4 steps) as I went along, and have written up instructions to make your own as a PDF freebie.

The only thing I would change if making another (& why wouldn’t I?  My husband loves jelly, so I know he won’t complain!) is to position the paper slightly higher before stapling.  I think this is such a cool notebook!

Jelly Packet Matchbook Notebook
Jelly Packet Matchbook Notebook

N.B.  I also noticed that this kind of jelly packet is exactly the right size to store ATC cards.  You can’t tell me there’s not potential there…!

Weaving ATCs

ATCs (Artist Trading Cards, to the uninitiated!) are something that have intrigued me for a while.  The concept is simple: an artist decorates a card (specifically sized 2.5″ x 3.5″), adds their contact details and any other information they want to, to the reverse, and then trades (never sells) this card with other artists.  It’s a highly personalised business card, in a way, building a community feeling among artists.  But also a huge online community has sprung up, creating and trading ATCs – and just in case I’ve given the wrong impression, this is a world open to any crafter/artist, not just ‘professionals’.

I think ATCs are a wonderful creative outlet.  They allow you to try out different techniques on a small scale, and the mixed-media cards I’ve seen can be quite stunning.  It’s one of those all-encompassing ideas that means whatever background you have, or medium you work with, you can play, too!  But I guess it’s the fact of communication, and the fact that it’s a personal, not mass-produced/commercial thing that makes it feel like a little oasis.

Although not commercial in the sense of trading rather than selling the cards, an industry has sprung up selling related materials to decorate and store your ATCs, and cool stuff like labels and rubber stamps to add your details to the reverse.  Being me, of course, I just look at the labels and then make my own.  I had the idea for a woven ATC, and while working on a design for the reverse, came up with a way to make a loom directly out of your ATC blank.  As I speak, I’m having rubber stamps custom made.  At the craft fair, I will have funky little (alterable) tins containing an ATC kit, with ATC blanks,  2 different ATC backs, needle, ‘shed stick’, instructions, etc.  You may have noticed, I’m really pleased with this idea.  I just want to get people weaving (another post will be coming shortly with more DIY ideas), and ATCs are a brilliant, sample-sized way to get people hooked!

This was my prottype ATC. I also have a slicker image as an option for the reverse, eradicating the tape measures.
This was my prototype ATC. I also have a slicker image as an option for the reverse, eradicating the tape measures; and a far simpler, more meditative weaving, currently half-complete.

In addition to the ATC kit, I will be (literally) giving away an ATC loom as my business card – the front has all my contact details, the back has instructions to turn the card into a loom.  The weaver, of course, is not obliged to mke an ATC, if they don’t want to; they also have the option of just slipping the weaving from the (re-usable) card once complete, and framing/mounting as they choose.

I can’t claim that weaving an ATC is an incredibly original idea, but it’s certainly not common.  Putting the concept out there in the hands of a wider audience of creative types, though, opens up all sorts of possibilities for combining weaving with ther media.  I think it’s just something that hasn’t really crossed people’s minds, but once the idea is there, it’s a very viable, adaptable option.  I’ll leave it up to the ATC community to explore further…!

The only person I currently know who is experimenting with woven ATCs is artist/tapestry weaver Laurie o’ Neill.  You can see her processes and some completed cards here.  I love this idea for using ‘thrums’ Jazzcat Thrums as an ATC background.  I’ve been using thrums to stuff the little Oddballs I’ve woven for the fair.  I think this is a far more decorative use for them, though, and you can still be just as creative with exploring colour combinations.