Friday, July 8, 2011

I'm trying to understand

I received this postcard in the mail yesterday.

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It's called "Grey, Orange and Black Lattice," and is from a member of the International Union of Mail Artists (IUMA), who designed this and several like it, in different hues.

When I started The Pen Pal Project, it was my intention to find a few people with whom I was compatible, with the goal of maybe having some new friends to write to, since so few people like writing any more...and since that has been my passion my entire life.

And in the beginning, that's the way it started out. I discovered there were places on line where you could find other people who wanted to write letters (most of them younger than my children, but a few other old farts among them).

But in investigating these sites, I also began to realize that there was a whole new language, the language of Mail Artists. It included such terms as FBs (which I have later learned are friendship books...not clear on what that is or what its purpose is) and ATCs (I'm still not sure what those are) and that there is a whole world out there of people who feel that how a piece of correspondence looks seems to be as important, if not more important than what it says.

Most of the people I am hearing from, thank goodness, seem to be more concerned with the content of the message, but I did see examples of attempts to decorate envelopes.

There were the people who decorated with stickers....

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...some who used rubber stamps...

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...and some who used more of a "mixed medium"...

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My own first attempts at "mail art" consisted of learning how to make envelopes and making some pretty cool envelopes (if I do say so myself)

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(made from a menu I brought home from China)

But when I started reading blogs by people who are snail mail and mail art enthusiasts, and when I started looking around at the photos in the IUMA, I was overwhelmed with the variety of things I was seeing, in the name of mail art.

Some people tried to see how many weird things they could send

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Apparently if you can find a way to attach postage to it, the post office will mail it for you. (One woman just recently mailed a pair of glasses, with an address on one lens and postage on the other.)

It's kind of fascinating, but I'm having a difficulty getting into the whole "art" thing. I'd much rather write what I hope is an interesting 3 page letter than spend time creating something like this.

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or this

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I am not good at abstract thinking. As "far out" as I get in the art world are the impressionists. I started trying to make my own "mail art" and this is what I came up with.

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What can I say? It's my Grandma Moses moment.

I'm not sure how many more of these far out ideas I have for envelopes, but I will continue to try for a bit. I don't think I'm ever going to understand "Grey, Orange and Black Lattice," though.

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My first "altered" work -- this is a postcard from the terra cotta warriors, with a tongue from a little card I had made one time decoupaged on it. It's sprinkled with yellow sugar (because I didnt have yellow sprinkles) and the lettering added for effect.

Now to see if it gets delivered and if I get laughed out of the IUMA


phonelady said...

Are you kidding getting laughed at? not at all . I think that is awesome and go for it .

Harriet said...

As with so many things, it depends on your constraints.

If you're writing to someone in prison, they envelope may be confiscated before it's ever seen. You most certainly cannot use stickers!

Many years ago, my daughter used her Mac to print cartoons on the envelopes. She later found out the authorities made an exception for her correspondent. They removed the stamps, of course, but they let him have the envelope.

xo.sorcha.ox said...

I enjoy making, sending and receiving certain types of mail art, but I also like letters. Sometimes I send little creations with letters, sometimes letters without creations, sometimes just a creation on its own. Sometimes the letter might even be the creation!...Surprises in the mail, whatever they might be, are just so much fun!

P.S. I will say, however, that I don't like my envelopes covered with kiddy stickers. I'm 30yo, not 8. If I was 8, I probably wouldn't mind as my postie wouldn't be looking at my mail thinking, "Why is this envelope covered in spaceships?". I live in a small town. I know the postie personally. It's kind of embarrassing. :(