Sunday, March 24, 2013

Simon Warren: time wasted is spent

As well as these portraits of what Simon sees while he travels through London, Simon responds to what I mail to him: a bit of writing but also a visual response.  I had another letter from Simon, so I guess the letters are the responses. I had written about sand running out, revealing that it is my aging family that I worry for, not my own mortality. Simon does not think like me, it seems. That's interesting and piqued my interest in zeroing in on how I do feel.
This morning I woke early.  I love to wake early! I was looking at and reading the book Peter suggested Patrick buy for me for valentines day. (Eames: beautiful details).  I loved Charles Eames' take on how he saw his own art process: 'not self-expression for its own sake, but rather trying to be a good host - which by definition puts someone else at the centre.' I have always had a problem with art as purposefullness. Although Eames was very purposeful, I think I see myself as juggling the purposelessness and the person to make the response.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Nancy Bell Scott and her simple magic

These were sent to me by Nancy for my 'Memories are made of this' mail art call which is a year long call that will culminate in a series of pop-up exhibitions, the first of which will be in Edinburgh sometime over the Easter long weekend.  Because Nancy got me the work so quickly, I will get to show it repeatedly.  That's great because it deserves to be shown repeatedly.  There is so much about it that I love, It's really rather amazing that on the same day that I received a stunning artist book collab where every mark and every colour sings off the pages, I also got these peices from Nancy - equally impressive and just a joy to hold and look at. 

Nancy also has some great stickers.  Her sensibilities are amazing.

Guido sends me Vermeulen/Pullo collab book!

In the same way that I am covetous of Bonnard's ability to use every inch of his canvases to create spectacular relationships using colours and marks, I find this collab by Kerri Pullo and Guido Vermeulen achieves the same poignancy, the same vibrancy and freshness. They make it look so easy! 

This small book 3"x4" is the same size as the book I sent Guido.  And he writes that this is in return. I am delighted, touched, inspired! Guido tells me that Kerri agreed 'to let the book go and travel further to you' (me).  Thank you Kerri.  thank you Guido.  I love it! I bet Cheryl Penn would like to see it, if she hasn't already.  She has been exploring rorschach blots .

And as if that weren't enough... Guido sent me this emotive ink which he calls, 'A contemplation on the suicide of Sylvia Plath (Happy birhtday 87 October). Wow.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Simon Warren gets me thinking

Two more instalments and a reply arrived from Simon today and yesterday.  The reply was in an envelope, distinct from his large card postcards.  Because it was a reply Simon referred to what I'd written.  Perhaps that's why it was concealed, he was being thoughtful.  Simon has a predeliction for mystery, I think. The thing about mail art is you can be whomever you choose with the strangers you communicate with.  For some that is the buzz.  I have a propensity for honesty and it's about the communication. Simon talks about seeing into a person's soul and tells me that life is incremental.

In case you missed them...memories received

Mail art for the Memories are Made of this mail art call I'm coordinating is coming in. Here is a piece from Garina Granlund, Finland. 
to see what else has arrived and to find out how you can take part.  The Forest Cafe in Edinburgh, a community cafe/arts programme, will be hosting the first pop-up exhibition sometime over the Easter weekend. If you can't send me something in time for that exhibition, I plan to hold others before the end of the year to celebrate 25 years of IUOMA.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The conversation with Simon continues

Simon's list sparked this reply from me: places I've lived, the tension of comfort/beauty/decay and a response to the 'title' Running out of sand.  Words are hidden inside and on the back and I'm waiting for the gel transfer of my mother to dry so that I can decide if I will use it here.  I love the inspiration of mail art.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Jon's Plastic Trashpo

Jon's trashpo mail art arrived on the same day that I saw a beautiful exhibit of Kurt Schwitters' collages at a gallery on Cork Street.  I had been to see lots of art that day, including a blockbuster show at the RA with lines snaking out the door. Nothing really interested me until the Schwitters. There is a big show elsewhere in London but I didn't make it to that, and I can't imagine it could be better than what I saw.  He had an eye and a sensibility with trash...
 I love this piece by Jon.  The colours, the words, the shapes.  It's really pleasing to me. I'm not sure how Jon has made it.  I know he is famous for his tape transfers but I can't tell whether this is lots of tape transfers or a taped over collage. The foreign name tag makes me smile.  Do people send Jon those, like people send Anna Banana colour codes?

Untranslated DK Trashpo Fortune

As an un-certified trashpo translator, I will refrain from transcribing this stunning example of trashpo from Diane Keys, published trashpoet.  See: 
When I receive the official translation I will add it to this post.  In the meantime, click on the images to enlarge them and let me know if you get the feeling that my fortune (should I choose to eat either an icecream sunday or a bakery item) will be affected one way or the other? 

Morocco with M Nidham

Well, I wish I'd been to Morocco.  Instead I'm here in rainy old England dreading the windy dog walk. Wonderful to be on N Midham's mailing list as he goes on his travels with stamps. Thank you!

Crisispanty's trashpo

Many thanks to Crisispanty for her TRASHPO mailart 365 no. 88.  What a cool airmail washi tape sticker! Love the natural palette in this and the colour words from a stamp catalog. Thank you Crisispanty.

Carina's Artist experiments

Carina sent me this 'test'.  She tells me she acquired fibre pasta and pastel pens and is experimenting.  I haven't seen the film, Mr Jones, but I like this Mr Jones' eyes! We had a Richard Gere look-alike at the kids' school and the mums loved him. 
The feel of this piece is foamy, squishy, thick and kind of reminds me of one of those Russian icons. Very fun Carina.  I have materials I want to experiment with - encaustics I was given months ago and a dremmle. Carina tells me no pressure to blog.  I'll ignore her! Thank you Carina.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Theresa sends altered doll image

Thesesa is a poet-artist who teaches at Bowling Green State University and in her spare time publishes The Episotlarium online, with commentary. I have never met Theresa, so I'm just guessing that is the order she would put these things in, but she is a fabulous poet. I love her chapbook: The Galaxy to Ourselves (New Women's Voices Series, No. 93). She wins accolades for her teaching and has published some of my stuff in the Episotarium.You can click on this link to download and read it:  As an artist, a mail artist, she makes altered dolls, beautiful illustrations and I presume paintings and takes beautiful photos! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mail art desk 1986-88

Found this.  No electricity, no running water, but a filing system made of paper-m√Ęche cereal boxes and a habit of making mail art daily.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Well if you didn't know before you will know now that February 21st is World Banana Day, at least according to Dean Marks and other mail artists at IUOMA. Eleven of us agreed to exchange banana greetings, aiming that they arrive on world banana day.  To be honest, I wasn't sure how bananas fit into mail art in general but discovered that Anna Banana was key:
This was my first year to celebrate this particular day but I suspect I will get involved again in the future.  In order of arrival on my doorstep (I think) these are what I received from the banana bunch.

You will recognize momcat's characteristic greek labels, layers, colour and overall joyous  approach, not to mention her signature stamps. 
Carina's humour and tape borders alerted me that this was from her.  My first response was to utter a guttural 'ah-uh-ha-ah' and to be transported to New York and the empire state building, athough juggling bananas works just as well!
Mim, master of scale and absurd juxtaposition, was again obvious at first glance. This one was mailed on valentines day.  I suppose I could claim it as a valentine too!   On the B side Mim's caption reads:  'Banana enjoyed the admiring glances of the ladies. '

One of Dean's goals in the mailart he makes seems to be to challenge the postman.  I loved getting a box top in the post! I also love the way Dean has made asemic road blocks in this banana maze. Dean writes, ' The city was like a giant labyrinth.  One banana was on one side of the city, the other banana was on the other side of the city.  It was unlikely that they would ever meet.'  I get the sense that Dean is talking about something profound... oh the randomness of it all.  Does Dean know that I had to travel half way around the world to meet my husband? Dean's stamp is amazing too! 

Louise, who I've never corresponded with before,  sent me a lively banana creature with a delicious recipe for the precious loaf, which I can whole-heartedly recommend.

It's funny when I see yellow I think banana now... and I'm tempted to detach this banana to carry around with me.  Alicia captures what we all think when we think banana: a sort of silly (naughty) smile.

Suus speaks to me in dutch.  I'm not sure if that's because I told her I lived in Soestdijk but my dutch is rusty.  What I think is that Suus' idea is a banana dream catcher. Suus brings together a few of our favourite yellow things: eggs, ducks and bananas and created this adorable practical egg cosy!

Another first, this time from Dame Mailarta.  I received this fused card-stamp-holder (I think) cheeky banana wondrousness and it makes me wish I had banana coloured hair! 

My final banana greeting was from Anna Banana! She sent me her annual Banana Rag and samples from the 2012 edition of the International Art Post no. 25.  I could participate in the future! Anna says 2013-2014 will probably be her swan song in terms of producing the dry gummed paper stamps, as you need to order 8 years worth and, well, even I can understand why you wouldn't do that twice!
I believe some IUOMA mail artists were there when Anna performed her above illustration for Mayworks 2013 with bananas.

Thank you, everyone, and finally, happy banana (k)night.


I received this unconventional banana - a Dole organic, eating a smaller conventionally  grown banana from Cheryl H!.  Thank you Cheryl. Love it.

Last week ( mid April) the slowest banana in the bunch inched past the finish line for this year's banana day jamboree. Jen Phillips from Las Vegas sent these wise words for the anxious among us. 

Thanks Jen!