Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Triptyph

I didn't realize it until now, but I have a theme (if you can call two days in a row a theme) going - pie charts. These pie charts come from my bank report showing the progress on my RRSPs. I pretty much ignored the details, but was drawn to the colours in the pie charts. I originally was using them as heads on bodies, but it wasn't working for me. So, back to transparencies, tissue and all sorts of background papers.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ephemera Pie Chart

I had pie charts on the brain and was also keen to use some smaller bits of ephemera. So, here's an ephemera pie chart in primary colours (+ green).

Pie Chart, 2014 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What the heck is mail art?

If you've wound up here wanting to know more about writing for children (or adults for that matter), publishing, my books or other work, you may be wondering what's up. As I wrote a month or so ago, my spare time has been filled more with collage than with writing (other than letters). So, for now, I'm just going with it, curious to see where it will lead. Mail art - and more letter writing, which I've been trying to do as well - is a natural extension of collage. If you're wondering about mail art, here is a video primer.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

London Calling

A little collage. I'm loving this odd creature, which is an image from The Garden of Earthly Delights, ca. 1500. The map of London is from an old atlas and I started with the image of this creature marching along the river. I then found the image of London, taken by a Landsat satellite and was very pleased to see the colours were of a similar palette. Throw in some rubber stamps, tissue paper and a French stamp and, voila - London Calling.

London Calling

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Outgoing: Bull's Eye

Part of the collage circle. For the next person on my list to keep or give away for Valentine's Day.

Bull's Eye
Materials used: tissue paper, scan on tracing paper, dry cleaning tag (?), vintage book (Tom Sawyer), origami paper.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Outgoing: Lena

Received an unexpected envelope from Lena in Toronto yesterday. It was a bit of a mystery until I found her on the International Union of Mail Artists website. Thanks for the random send, Lena! Here's one coming back at you.

Clearly I am easily distracted by this replacing heads with stamps thing...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Art As Therapy

We've been talking a lot about happiness, perspective, one's purpose in life, etc. in our household. Big questions brought on by some challenging times. This morning we read something about happiness and the "tipster" doctor in the article said how one of the keys to happiness is to find something that you can get completely lost in. I'm not entirely sure why, but that's how I feel about collage at the moment. The sorting through bits of paper and ephemera, the tiny snips with scissors, the positioning of random papers together into something that makes a pleasing whole. It's a meditation of sorts and it seems to be leading me at the moment.

This video by Alain de Botton (he of The School of Life; how cool is that?) was very inspiring and timely. It's well worth a watch and when you're done, hop on over to Brain Pickings for more on de Botton's book, Art as Therapy.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Good Mail Day

Yesterday was a good mail day. I received a nice little package of collage materials from California and I also got this:

It was from Guido Vermeulen in Brussels. Of course it was great to receive a piece of original art on an envelope, but Guido also made me understand a small, but key, part of this whole business. You don't have to use the front of the envelope for your stamp and address. You can use the "back!"

Well, duh. It makes so much sense now, but I wasn't quite understanding that at first. (I was seeing so many pieces of mail art without any stamps or addresses posted on the Internet. People were posting the front (or the back, depending on how you interpret your envelope). Now I see. Thanks, Guido!

It was timely, because I was thinking of joining mail artist, Moan Lisa's, Fake Andy Warhol mail art call. I searched for images and thought I could tackle Lips (1950). So, using my fledgling rubber stamp making skills, I made a lip stamp and went for it. Here's the result.

Lips - front of envelope
I did my best attempt at faking Warhol's signature.
Lips - back of envelope

Friday, January 17, 2014

Outgoing: Art Deco to Satu

Here's my attempt to answer an art deco challenge. The address took me a few times, but I think it works well enough. The font is a bit wobbly, but it should be legible. Do you think Canada Post can handle it? We'll see. (I haven't been impressed lately. The cost is ridiculous. I mean $1.85 to send a postcard overseas? And that's soon to rise to $2.00! And then there was the postcard I received that took 23 days to get to me from the US.)

So, off to Satu in Finland.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Outgoing: "She"

I'm part of a collage circle; we're all sending a collage every two weeks to the next person on the collage list. By the end of the year, we will have created and delivered 11 collages and received 11 in return. It's a good exercise and nice to have a reason to create and send. This is my first offering, which is off to Marie-Dominique in Quebec City. I started with the label and went from there.


Media used: "She" cherryade label, postage stamp, page from a shorthand textbook, page from an address book, tissue paper transfers, image from old encyclopedia.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mail Art: In and Out

Here is a new piece that's outgoing to California. The theme was winter, so I used a transfer of a vintage group sledding photo and added it to an envelope I made from "wintery" paper. On the back is a polar bear stamp I recently made (more on that soon).

The other stamps - blue "stars" - are purchased.

I must say that I'm pretty pleased with that stamp. I think it was the fourth one I tried. The medium allows for imperfections that's for sure!

And here is a very large envelope I received from China. It contained a small postcard and a bilingual letter from Ji Xiang Hua of Shanghai. The envelope is quite thick, almost with a plasticized coating, and the stamp is part of the envelope.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Abe and Liz Have a Chat

I'm not sure about ATCs (artist trading cards). First, they're pretty small and fiddly. I have tried to make a few, but I have found it a challenge to make anything interesting. Also, what am I going to do with them? Sure, they could be framed, but I think the idea is that you collect them in a book. I don't need more stuff. But, I couldn't resist this little challenge from Mail Me Some Art. Replace actual heads on images with postage stamps? Too much fun. Here are my results.
Quack! Here I Come, Canada. 

Abe and Liz. 

Monday, January 06, 2014

Outgoing collages: Annerin, Rachel, Jane, Holly, Jenny and Andrea

I found myself with a few free hours last Friday so finished off the last six collages to send to my collage "pen pals" from the 30 Days of Collage course. So I have a record and to share with others, here they are.

Thanks to my husband who has just returned back from Nunavut with some very heavy bags. The "Heavy/Lourd" tags came in handy! And every time I see pages from the short hand manual I think that was the best 5 cents I ever spent!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Incoming: "12 Countries in 12 Months" cards from Stephanie

I sent a lot of letters, postcards and collages in December. A lot. It was very enjoyable and gave me an opportunity to create and send things out into the ether. (I mean, really, what am I to do with all of those collages and mail art if I don't mail them out? I would drown in bits of paper.) Now I've started to receive cards, notes and emails notes back, which is even more enjoyable. Thus far, the "incoming" has arrived from Spain, Australia, Sri Lanka, Korea, the United States, the Netherlands, and Germany. Fun times at the Tofino post office! Yesterday I received three cards from Stephanie Levy who taught the 30 Days of Collage course I took last fall. (The next course begins April 2014 and it's well worth it. Lots of ideas and inspiration.)

Berlin - 12 Countries in 12 Months - Stephanie Levy

Stephanie embarked on an ambitious (and envy-inducing) project awhile back - 12 Countries in 12 Months, which you can read about here. The cards that Stephanie mailed to me are the result of this project.

London - 12 Countries in 12 Months - Stephanie Levy 

Greece - 12 Countries in 12 Months - Stephanie Levy

Saturday, January 04, 2014

A Shush of Librarians, An Exaltation of Larks, and other collective nouns

I had a great time over the holidays, trolling thrift shops and second hand bookstores in the city. I initially was drawn by the illustrations in this book, but the text makes it a keeper. An Exaltation of Larks or, The Venereal Game by James Lipton is a book on collective nouns.

While many of the ones we are familiar with are included  - such as a parliament of owls or  a plague of locusts - the book was full of terms I'd never heard of. A shush of librarians? A twaddle of public speakers? A murmuration of starlings? Who knew?

The author identifies six categories of "venereal terms" (i.e., collective nouns):

1. Onomatopoeia - for example, a gaggle of geese.
2. Characteristic - for example, a leap of leopards or a skulk of foxes
3. Appearance - for example, a bouquet of pheasants
4. Habitat - for example, a shoal of bass
5. Comment (pro or con, depending on one's point of view) - for example, a richness of martens
6. Error (often resulting from transcription error; apparently a school of fish is corrupted from a "shoal" of fish.

Some are so "out there" they seem made up but, as the author points out, weren't all of these terms "made up" at one point? Eventually they made it into the vernacular. I think an "exaltation of larks" is still one of my favourite collective nouns. What's yours?

Friday, January 03, 2014

Outgoing: Water for Artists Without Borders

The International Union of Mail Artists occasionally has calls for mail art. I've answered a few; they're great for trying out new ideas. This one is from Artists Without Borders and is for an exhibition in Istanbul. I'm a big fan of gargoyles and chimera and when I was going through my stash, got this idea of some mythical gargoyle "birthing" water in Canada. (And there is a  lot of it. We have 20% of the world's fresh water.) The topographic map I had - from Quebec - happened to be littered with small lakes so I used that for the background and cut Hudson's Bay out of an atlas for the address label.

If nothing else, it's fun to send something to Istanbul! I don't get that opportunity often. The exhibition opens in May 2014.