What a privilege to meet this master blacksmith.
Thank you Doc, for sharing your art. And for letting me stick around to pester you with questions and for making the second leaf for me. I am inspired by your dedication to and your care for your work. I love it that you don’t worry about how long it takes to complete each piece; that you just want it to be right. Thank you.
I’ve been pondering “mail art.” What is it? How does it work? Who participates? Can I play too?
My friend, Kris, introduced me to the idea when I watched her create a really cool postcard during our February craft night. I’m itching to join in on the fun, but first, I had a few questions about how this whole mail-art-thing works.
What is mail art? I went to Wikipedia to answer this question. The short answer is that it can be just about anything so long as it is dispatched through the postal service. It can be a stamped and painted postcard. It can be a collage or made from a piece of recycled cereal box. It can be a poem or even some kind of music. It can be whatever you dream up so long as you stick an stamp on and send through the mail to someone. Remember, it doesn’t become mail art til it makes it through the mail!
How big (or small) is mail art? It seems that mail art is mostly sized to limit postage to either a postcard or letter-sized stamp. To qualify as a postcard, the card needs to be rectangular, at least 3.5 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inches thick but no larger than 4.5 inches high x 6 inches long x 0.25 inches thick. Any other sized “postcard” will require a letter-sized stamp. Adding stickers to the postcard might bump it into the letter-sized classification as well. If you want more details on postage requirements, here’s the link to the USPS page I looked this information up on. By the way, I think part of the mail art fun is pushing the limits to see what our postal system will actually process and deliver. Can anyone expound on this idea?
Who does mail art? Apparently, lots of folks. You can have just one mail art buddy. Or you can form your own group. Or, you can even search for mail art groups online & join one of those (I’m not ready for that option yet).
Why bother? Well, you don’t have too. But doesn’t the idea of receiving a bit of art with that bundle of junk mail make you smile? Are you curious to see what techniques other artists are experimenting with? And to actually hold their work in your hot little hands? Do you want to surprise a friend with a funny stamped comment? Or maybe send a goofy sketch to another friend? My answer is “yes” to all of these. I’m intrigued about this low-key, low-cost way to share inspiration and to connect with my friends. Can’t wait to get started.
Here’s the picture of the actual figure. It’s titled “Oracle Figure (Kafigeledjo).” It’s from the Cote d’Ivoire. Part of the description reads,
“A hybrid creation that lies outside the realm of anything in nature. This oracle figure provokes anxiety through its shrouded anonymity through the sense of suffocation and entrapment it suggests.”
I drew Creepy Guy with more childlike proportions (bigger head, pudgier body). I’m toying with the idea of using a plastic baby doll (plenty creepy already) and then swathing it in layers of black fabrics. Hmmm… maybe.
I call it “table art.” What am I talking about? You know – when you pick up the crayons set out at the restaurant and you start doodling all over that clean piece of paper spread out to protect the tablecloth and to provide a drawing surface for the kids. You’re at the table. And you’re making art. So, it’s “table art,” get it?
The other night, I was prepping for my Valentine’s card making craft night. I didn’t want to spend the next morning scraping glue off the table so I layered the craft table with sheets of paper before everyone arrived. And once that big expanse of clean white paper was before me, I just had to sit down to do a little table art.
I started with a lightly penciled heart. I had no crayons. But the roll of bright pink duck tape worked just fine to frame out the heart. Then, between stitching and stamping cards, I took mini breaks to add to my heart doodle table art.
Towards the end of our evening, I asked all my friends to contribute something to my heart and to sign their names so I could keep this bit of table art as a memento of the evening.
Looking at this heart makes me really happy. Kris’s cool orange stamp with the turquoise heart punctuation. XiaoNing’s perfectly stenciled key. One of Stacy’s many cut out hearts surrounded by the bits of textured pink duck tape (so Stacy….). Annie, who with one swift gesture, left washi tape and signature on the page. She had this funny half smile on her face while she did it & I need to ask her what she was thinking. And Liz’s red hearts reminding me of all those ladybug cards she cranked out.
Happy memory. Cool keepsake. And a light bulb moment to ponder on and develop…
Why is drawing on a random piece of paper taped to the table so inviting to me? Can I recreate that feeling and compulsion to draw, stamp, collage and write in a sketchbook? What would happen if I taped a fresh piece of paper to my crafting table each week? If anyone visiting the studio was invited to doodle a little bit? What could we make together?