Saturday, September 20, 2014

Collage Clean-Up

I'm tidying up my desktop (the computer desktop; the actual desktop is beyond hope), so here are a few recent collages I've scanned. Varying success, but experimentation is always a good thing IMHO.
I was inspired by the concertina book sent by Jack, which I posted about here. I had several packing tape transfers I'd made, so I made Jack a concertina book in return. This is just the one side. 
I made the transfers using photos from a magazine from BC's public television station. For September and Labour Day they had several shows related to working people. I thought they made very interesting photo transfers.
I'm not digging the green in the Louvre map, but so be it. 

I made this for a Swap Bot exchange (a postcard with a postal theme). Love this historic image of the fellows in the mail room. Not so crazy about the rubber stamps I used. The red ink in particular is kind of wrong. 
I put this one and the next three in a little book, sent to Dori. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Writing to My-se-elf...

Remember that Billy Idol song Dancing with Myself ("My-se-elf")? No? Okay then, here it is! Now that you've established my approximate age, be reassured I have, for the most part, moved beyond dancing with myself. Instead, I'm writing to myself. Not so very punk, but so be it. 

I try to keep a journal when I'm travelling, but on this year's summer vacation I decided to make a collage every day and mail it to myself. It was a way to keep the collage bug alive (no worries there, really), but I was also curious to see how these collages make it through the mail and whether they'd all arrived. I'm pleased to report that they all made it home fully intact. Yeah for glue sticks (UHU rules) and invisible Scotch tape.

Honestly? I was getting a bit bored at the end because I was trying to use materials at hand that had something to do with where I was. Tourist brochures start to look a lot alike after awhile. I had a bit of washi tape with me, but other than that, used what I had at hand (primarily maps and brochures).

Here's the result:

You might notice that I added a blood pressure test here? I was "optimal!" I wish I'd taken one at the end of the trip!
Fun  day. I hadn't been to Telegraph Cove for a lot of years. Very busy, but still charming. 
Our cushy ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Bella. The next ferry was about 1/20th the size. ..
The card above had a cool cancellation. Our ferry up the snaking fjord from the coast to Bella Coola stopped briefly in Ocean Falls, "home of the rain people," which is a coastal town far from its heyday. Apparently about 18 people live there full-time, but they have a post office, so of course I had to mail a card. Here's the cancellation (and a crazy "Haunted Canada" stamp):

Yes, I did bring that postage stamp from home. Nice to juxtapose the petroglyphs of the Nuxalk people with the rock carving of an explorer, Alexander MacKenzie who perhaps left the first graffiti in Canada on a rock on the Pacific coast in 1793.

Here's a close-up of the stamp:

I was really hoping to get some interesting cancellations along the route. Somewhat by chance I read that the post office in Bella Coola has its own unique cancellation. I'm over 50 and pretty much beyond worrying about people think about me, so I marched into the post office and asked the nice lady to stamp my journal. Good thing I did, because the franking on the actual stamp was hard to see. Here is the cancellation with art by a Nuxalk artist:

I had my first ever job in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. I was about 16 or 17 and was part of BC Park's "youth crew," a program that had unsuspecting youth volunteering (I honestly can't recall if I was paid) in provincial parks, painting outhouses, grubbing trail, washing stacks of awful pots, tubing down rivers, raking the sand of volleyball courts…". I had brought a few letters I wrote home (thanks Mom, for being a pack rat) and read them out to my husband and daughter (who happens to be 17). Hilarious and slightly embarrassing.  
The background here was actually from a large glossy tourist magazine promoting the Chilcotin area, but the art was done by a Tofino artist, Mark Hobson. We watched fishermen use these large nets (beside very swift moving water) for quite awhile. The pictographs were a bit tough to find (poorly written directions; bah), but worth it. 
I haven't been to Barkerville for over 17 years, so I was worried it might have become too much of a tourist trap. It was busy, but we were pleasantly surprised. And, yes, there was a historic post office. 

The PO boxes were quite lovely and it looked like the boxes were actually being used. I thought they might have an interesting frank, but it was a fairly plain frank, much as you would have expected from the era (1800s). We watched the postmistress use her long metal "wand" to whack the cards I sent from there.

I have a soft spot for Barkerville because my parents went there on their honeymoon, back in 1958, just around the time it became a provincial park and historic site.  I do have one BIG beef though. There were no good cards - not even good postcards - that you could pick up there. Craziness. With all of that historic fodder you think someone would come up with something! I did pick up this photo of one of the famous Cariboo camels that were part of the BC gold rush. Not exactly Barkerville, but perhaps they were were on their way there when this photo was snapped.

A little travel tip if you go to this area: stop in Wells first, especially if you like to write letters and send postcards. It a similar era as Barkerville, but people actually live there today and many of the historic buildings are restored and painted in fairly funky colours. There are several excellent artists in town and lots of options for picking up from art and cards (and great coffee, too). We had a great visit at two churches converted into galleries: Amazing Space and St. George Gallery.

One very cool thing about the Wells-Barkerville area is that they have an annual Sled Dog Mail Run. The last weekend of January, they re-create the the Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run and mail is cancelled with a unique cancellation at Quesnel, Wells, and Barkerville. Every year there is also a artist-designed envelope. You never know. I might get it together to get some envelopes in next year's run!
We visited friends in Valemount who have just opened a new brewery, Three Ranges. Thus began about five days of visiting with old friends from our mountain days.  
My old office in the lower left. Maligne Canyon everywhere else. Parks Canada? Your "Proper Awesome" slogan is dumb. 

I was starting to lose steam here and the materials were not "proper awesome." We did see a wolf one day though (not this one exactly) and the next day saw six bears - a grizzly and her two cubs and a black bear and her two cubs. Okay, maybe that was proper awesome.

Miette Hot Springs day. And the goofy guys in costume? Just watch this and you'll understand.  (Thank you to my little buddy Keeley for introducing me to that.)

Okay, I'm tired and so are you (if you've lasted this long). We DID have a great time #exploringBC! Hope you had a wonderful summer as well.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Mail Art Motherlode - Part 3

Final instalment. Thanks to everyone; I have my work cut out for me over the next month.

First up, Guido, who sent me these two cards for his mail art call, 1914 - 2014: Resist 100 Years of War.

Moan Lisa also sent me an envelope full of his wonderful digital collages.

Speaking of mail art calls, I sent a collage in to Lettres & Images, in Gradignan, France, for their mail art call, Labyrinthe. Just before I left on holidays, I received a catalogue with all of the images in it.

Part of my submission made it on the cover -- second square down in the far left column. 
And here is the page with my envelope on it. On the reverse I had made a rubber stamp of the labyrinth in the Chartres cathedral. You can see all of the images here.

Phillip, of envelope 100, sent me this envelope he received in a MMSA swap. I had sent him a mushroom-themed envelope so he reciprocated. Thanks, Phillip!

Penny is a very faithful correspondent and this collaged postcard was waiting for me. Merci. 
A while back I sent a card to Reg Cote and he responded with this great magazine of mail art (loaded with a lot of Canadian stamps). This is no. 118 of circulaire. (And I apologize for the lack of proper accents, but I can't seem to find them in the blog font I am using.)
Here is an interior page. I might just submit something one day...

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Mail Art Motherlode - Part 2

Back again with more correspondence goodness. 

From Carolyn, Flypaper and Kerosene.
From Nancie (aka The Book Chick), who despite having just begun a correspondence, seems to "get" me (by the looks of this card she sent).
Also in the stack, was this fabulous "concertina card" (aka accordion book, I would think) from Jack Oudyn held together by the little red brads you can in this image. 
The washi tape covered the ends of the brads and it all came through from Australia just fine. Thanks, Jack. This was a fabulous piece that I keep pouring over. I love the idea of a concertina card making it through the postal system. Here are a few of the interior pages:

Possibly my favourite spread, but it's very hard to choose. (So I won't.)

And, oh, my goodness. This was a stunning package to see:

The "fabulousness" from Dori continued on the inside as layer after layer was unveiled. What a treat. 

Beautiful or what? The layering isn't coming through in the scan, but the piece is wonderfully textured and layered. (And there were little notes just for me under some of the flaps.) Thanks, Dori!
I am pretty new to mail art and am just learning about artistamps (having just tried to make a few), so I was delighted to receive this from Cascadia Artpost. Who knew that the originator of artistamps was a Canadian, the late Michael Bidner (1944-1989)? (And here he is, in the National Gallery of Canada.) Here is Jack's (he of Cascadia Artpost) explanation of the latest mail art I received from him, with a sheet of Bidner's stamps. 

Jack has written a nice bio of Michael on the reverse. Thank you, Jack. 
Okay. I think that's enough for today. I think this might need to be a three-part series!