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Friday, April 10, 2015

Mail Art...Bunches.

Mail, mail art, and extremely interesting envelopes, letters, and ephemera ...that's what I have after 2 years of steady sending and receiving of correspondence - a shoebox full. 

I suppose my interest in mail art was inspired by books - all the Nick Bantock books, and the Good Mail Day book by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler.  

But I've always liked mail... corresponding with my cousin as a child, and with pen pals in France and Great Britain as a teen.  My Great Aunt - a math whiz - (with whom I really shared very few common interests) began sending me letters in college... and I can still picture them today - very very small, orderly handwriting - closely spaced lines utilizing conservatively every fraction of paper.  And, during the same time, my mother once mailed me a whisker the cat had shed.  The cat seemed as close to me then as any family member, so to discover that memento was a charming surprise.

Here - some of the latest correspondence, much of it decorated with vintage ephemera, paper bits and stamps from my friend E:
toile la la mail and mail art

toile la la mail art collage
two letters to E - at top - and one, from - at lower left
Notice above the two tiger stamps - one roaring... I love those big cats!
toile la la mail art - altered vintage cancelled stamp
Not long ago, E sent me a little packet of stamps from her collection she has been saving since her pre-teen years (and we aren't babies anymore, so she's preserved this collection for quite some time).  Sometimes, I add them to the letters I send her - to surprise her with her own shared treasures.  She gets to revisit her old stamps.  E didn't like the position of the arms on the Caroline Neuber stamp - so I gave Caroline a new pose.
package from E  - toile la la image

I love to look through my shoebox full of correspondence because there is so much variety and many times I discover something I may have missed upon first receiving an item... such as this photo.  E decorated the outside of a mailer with this vintage photo - and I did notice the rollercoaster originally.  But sorting through the box of mail yesterday, I noticed this lady, holding something which looks so much like a big fashion magazine.  It reminds me of myself... not because of how this lady looks - but because to think that she might be standing there at an amusement park holding a fashion magazine seems both humorous and familiar.  I am one of those people too who would choose a fashion magazine over a rollercoaster ride most days! 

toile la la stitched mail art image

And here is some of my mail art to E.  For some time now I've been enjoying using my sewing machine to embellish paper - and one of my favorite stitching patterns is something like a zigzag, but more like ocean waves.  You'll see me use the same stitching pattern on other creations here and at the Toile La La blog.  An earlier post (which also features my Number One Good Luck Employee Cat) shows a large shoebox full of vintage ephemera E sent me... which was a really exciting thing to dig through.  This old handwritten letter, written on hotel stationery, is an item I pulled from E's shoebox.  The illustrated buildings already stood in front of drawn puffy clouds - which I wanted to emphasize.  Because the paper is old - from the mid 20th century - the stitching carved a few holey spaces, but I like the look of these perforations and lacy holes - which are particularly lovely when you hold them to the light.