Woven postcard update

arteth postcard beforeArteth's woven postcardArteth Gray has just posted the ‘before’ (pre-mail!) picture of the woven postcard I received, on her blog, so I thought I should do a before and after update here.

I feel kind of bad, because the ‘before’ picture is so lovely (look how straight those edges are!), and you can see just how much damage the journey did to it.  On the other hand, the whole point of mail art is that the journeyis a part of both the process and the artwork, so I’m still exceedingly happy to have received it, & I still think it’s brilliant.  Thanks again, so much, Arteth!

If you’re inspired by this, check out the Handwoven Postcard Project – more info to come soon!

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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! 🙂

‘New’ Telaic Fantasy #2 – postcard recycling/mail art kit

TF2 CoverIt’s felt like a long time coming (to me), but I have finally caught up with myself, and re-formatted Telaic Fantasy #2 into the new, bigger A5 size.  Now that all the back issues have been updated, that means I can focus on getting a new issue ready.  Actually, I have something pretty cool in mind for TF4, but because it involves allowing for somebody else’s schedule, it means the new issue won’t be out until the beginning of July (ish).  Don’t worry – I will have lots of other new stuff popping up between now and then!

For now, here’s a preview of the revised TF2:

TF2 Preview 1The free postcards now come tucked into an envelope bound into the spine, and the postcard labels themselves are printed onto (recycled) gummed paper (I recently learned that gummed paper is better for the environment than self-adhesive, as it is water-soluble, and doesn’t clog up the works at the recycling plants).  There is also an additional page of labels for you to photocopy, cut and paste, so you can recycle as many postcards as you like :-).  Ever fancied trying a spot of mail art?  I’m not sure about the realistic possibilities of a tapestry reaching its destination in tact, but it’s surely a concept worth experimenting with!

TF2 Preview 2There are lots more features crammed into TF2, not to mention the fact that it doubles up as a handy notebook, with lots of custom printed pages for you to scribble down your sketches, notes & ideas. TF2 is available to buy as a stand-alone zine, or as part of a membership package for the D.I.Y. Weaving Club.   As always, the first 10 issues will be signed and numbered.  Check out the listings at my Etsy Store for full details & all options available!

TF2 postcard stampAnother addition to the postcard recycling kit is this cute illustration that I hand-carved using my new-found lino-cutting skills ;-).  I’ve used it to stamp onto the envelope that contains the free postcard & postcard cutting template.

Today is a happy day, as it marks the beginning of my revised working hours at the bookshop.  From today onwards, I will only be working afternoons, allowing me to squeeze in precious extra time every morning to keep on top of all the crafty stuff.  Too-many-ideas-and-not-enough-time will I’m sure remain my mantra, but hopefully those extra few hours a week will make a difference.  🙂

Mail Art!

I’ve always loved getting post (mail, to the U.S. readership!).  I was one of those children who always had lots of penfriends, and joined lots of postal clubs, and there was something so exciting about waiting for the postman to arrive each morning!  As an adult, when sometimes all the post seems to bring is junkmail and bills, I still love the potential of finding something interesting there.  I confess, I am the type to order things by mail order, sign up for newsletters, to increase the odds… 😉

At the same time, I do feel kind of bad about it, because print-mail isn’t the eco-friendliest medium, and the internet is the perfect way to disseminate information and newsletters without the need for print.  There’s just something about the anticipation of receiving post, of savouring the quirks of the packaging, and then actually physically touching the contents that is an intangible delight.  And, of course, it’s much easier to put a paper-something in your bag to read during a break at work, than packing up your laptop and finding both power supply & internet access to do the same…

Well, I accept that I am on a losing battle ethically, and I can console myself with the fact that at least the TangleCrafts Mail Art set is printed on recycled paper, and many commercial printers are switching to environmentally-friendly inks and papers, too…

Anyway, I just wanted to share some mail-art related links.  I recently discovered the Olathe Poste, a company that specialises in artistamps.  What are they?  Well, rather than rubber stamps, they are actually gummed and perforated postage stamps (or at least, they look like them; they aren’t actually legal postage currency).  The Olathe Poste will make you your very own artistamps from your very own artwork/photography.  How cool…?  They also sell the gummed or gummed & perforated paper, so that you can make your own!  I can already make stickers by printing directly onto self-adhesive paper, but stamps are just, well, different.  Admittedly, I’ve not found an actual, practical use for them, yet; but if nothing else, it would be kind of cool just to give away special TangleCrafts stamps with a goody bag, or something (I usually have a freebie to give away to the first few customers at craft fairs).  The Olathe Poste also produces a print newsletter, which I suspect is also kind of call, although straying more into the field of philately and stamp artistry than more general crafts.

Another recent discovery is the Aranzi Aronzo Post Club.  They’re the people who do the cutest sewing books, like ‘Cute Stuff’, ‘The Cute Book’, ‘Cute Dolls‘ (…you get the idea).  If you love the kawaii vibe, you’ll love the Post Club.  As a member you receive monthly postcard, not otherwise available, featuring cool Aranzi Aronzo comic strips etc.  The text is in Japanese, but that just adds to their funkiness, for me.  Apparently, free gifts are also included once in a while – you can’t say fairer than that!

If you want to find out more about mail art, my best recommendation is the book ‘Postcard’ by Fl@ss.  It showcases some of the coolest postcard artwork, and the funkiest innovative ideas, that will really motivate you to either get involved with mail art, or at least think about the possibilities adaptable to other forms.  I found it very inspirational.  If you’re not already familiar with her work, you should also check out ‘Envelopes’ by Harriet Russell.  I’ve not bought the book, as I already know the contents, but Harriet Russell sent a series of letters over a period of years, in what can only be seen as a challenge to the postal service.  Although each envelope was addressed, the address took the form of a puzzle, or illusion that needed to be solved before being immediately apparent.  If you’ve not seen her work before, you should definitely take a look.

And last but not least, yet another book mention.  Very recently released, is ‘Junk Mail Origami’ by Duy Nguyen.  This seems to me to be the most awesomely creative way of recycling – rather than discard all that unwanted but colourful rubbish that comes through your letterbox, re-form it into something decorative, instead.  This surely opens up a whole new world of possibilities…!