Tag Archive for 'Mailart'

How Many People’s Lives Do you Touch By Sending REAL MAIL?

UntitledOne of the first inspirations I had in making mailart was an editorial in Real Simple magazine, probably in 2000 or 2001. The editor told a short story about lamenting to her mail carrier about only receiving bills and junk mail, and her carrier responded “how do you think I feel, that’s all I deliver anymore?” postcard for elaina
I decided then and there that I wanted to make mail that was fun for me to send, fun for my recipient to receive, and fun for all the carriers and postal workers in between my recipient and myself as well! I hope that it brightens not just myself and my friend’s day. I made my first mailart postcard around 2000-2001 (above from Flickr). This was probably a few years before I even discovered there was a whole “mailart” movement/culture/community.
(Side note: I love that the postcard has grass and stars, even in my original mailart that far back.

I honestly think of that Real Simple editor’s letter all the time still. When I make mailart I like to imagine all the hands it passes through between myself and the recipient. When I first started making mailart I focused mainly on postcards because the artwork would be able to be seen by everyone along the way, and while post carriers are probably dissuaded from reading the letters on the back, I’m sure they do and I would sometimes address them and wish them a good day.

mailart collection

That drive to put joy out into the world via mail has resulted in me sending out hundreds and hundreds of pieces of mailart over the years. You can see more of it in my Flickr mailart album

robayre assorted handmade envelopes

Fast forward to today and that sentiment is just as true as it was in the beginning, though now I like to spread that joy even further by offering my original stationery paper products (like these one of a kind handmade envelopes) in my online shop. Visit robayre.etsy.com today to find some paper treasures that will certainly brighten my day, hopefully your day, your recipient’s day, and all the carriers in between.






Greeting Card Little Mailart Book tutorial

4.30.11 Mailart little books

In 2011 I had one of those aha moments where I decided to combine my love of small notebook jotters and mailart. I was in the middle of a 365 mailart project and made quite a few of these little books to send out.

7.15.13 books

Over the years since then, I’ve made a few here and there, where I’ve painted and collaged on the covers which were made from blank recycled cardboard.

I even got one back, from Artist Mim Golub Scalin, where she filled it up and sent it back to me. It was completely unexpected, as I send each one as a gift to the recipient.

Then recently, noticing my hoards of greeting cards, I had another aha moment! Turn these cards into easy peasy little (mail) art books.

Greeting card little mail art book

Maybe you’re like me and have a greeting card addiction. Sometimes I deem them too precious to just write in. Sometimes I hang them up in the house like small art prints.

I keep a little handmade jotter on me at all times. I use it for daily list making and for writing down quick ideas or sketches. Recently, it was time to make a new one and I was thinking about what I would do for the cover when I saw the above mentioned (and pictured) hoard.

Even though the covers might be someone else’s art, I still consider a mailart project because the recipient can fill the pages with their own artwork. It’s like a mini sketchbook that came straight through the mail. Maybe you can send it back and forth between friends, filling it up with alternating pages of art. Or, you may decide not to send it away at all, but just keep it for yourself and that is great too! You may decide to alter your card and make it your own, or perhaps recycle a card that was sent to you, cool and cool! Or perhaps you don’t want to use a greeting card at all, and want to make some mailart books with your own art entirely, like how I originally started out, Awesome!

Greeting card little mail art book

Start out with:

A greeting card of your choice
Some plain paper – Often I alternate blank pages with lined paper
A ruler
A self healing mat
A pen knife
A booklet stapler
Washi tape

Greeting card little mail art book

Cut letter sized paper in half and then fold in half. Place folded and collated papers inside card. Most likely the paper won’t fit the card and you will need to trim off excess. I would suggest stapling book together first, then trimming away the extra, as seen above.

Little mailart book

One thing I learned from the book Mim returned to me was to add a ribbon for bookmarking. You could staple it into the binding or feed it between the cover and body pages at the staple (like pictured above) and knot it in place.

Tada! You have made a little book! If you want to keep the book for yourself, you may be done at this stage.

Greeting card little mail art book

If you want to mail your book, you can write the addresses right on the back cover of the card, or print out a label, like I did above. For the purpose of sharing here on the blog, I sent this one to myself. For postage I used 2 forever stamps because I could tell it was small and flat enough, but depending on how big or thick your booklet is, you may need more. I think my original mailart books required over a dollar postage. I also seal up the sides, since it is a booklet. Sometimes I will include a note and rubber band inside and the seals help keep it all contained. Make sure that the ribbon is tucked in and not hanging out, as it could get caught on the sorting machines. From working at a company that sends out lots of mail I know a booklet requires the seals to make it through the mail. In the past I’ve used wafer seals, or art tape to close it, but this time I tried washi tape and it worked like a charm and looked cute to boot.

Greeting card little mail art book

You can see they cancelled my stamps.

Little mailart book

The front cover is the beautiful greeting card art, and the back cover is now the postal side. The inside pages are just waiting to be filled! Awesome right? Now get to it, and make some little mailart books to send to your pen pals, or to keep for yourself.

Edit: Thanks to a comment I decided to add that my stapler is a Long Reach Pro Stapler. I just bought it at our local Office Max, but a simple google search shows that they sell it at Walmart as well. If I remember correctly, when I bought it, the box said it will staple through 20 (or was it 30) sheets of paper with the pressure of a single finger. It is NOT electric, but has CRAZY force. Word to the wise: do not put your finger underneath it, hoping to feel where the staple will come out because it only takes the pressure of a feather to shoot those suckers right into your finger. Good times!

This Postcard is a Sculpture (Box)

Everything is Connected postcard book by Keri Smith

Last year I bought Keri Smith‘s postcard book Everything is Connected. It’s been fun because I decided to send postcards to people when I think of them, and when I do, I just randomly open the book and whatever postcard it ends on is the one they get. Oddly, each postcard that I sent¬† (I think 5 so far) has been perfectly suited to each person. I wanted to share one that came back to me recently in an unexpected way recently!

Postcard Sculpture Keri Smith

The postcard above was selected for my favorite college teacher, Michael Bennett. He was the head of the Art department at the Community College I attended, and I took many jewelry and metalwork classes with him, amongst other Art classes as well. It seemed fitting that he got a postcard saying to make a sculpture from the postcard. Of course I just imagined that he might fold it up into a paper crane or something and just set it on a shelf.

1.29 artbox Front

A few weeks ago he showed up at my work to visit, tell me about a show he is curating at the local university and to surprise me with this present. He made a joke that he was the teacher but here I am sending him an assignment. He took my postcard and made me a box sculpture from it! So, you can see the original postcard says “this postcard is a sculpture” and he changed it to say “a box sculpture” and that the object should be exhibited at “Robyn’s House”.

bare feet on log

He built the box and transferred the images of the original postcard, the altered postcard AND wrapped the edges with a repeated pattern transfer of an Art-O-Mat painting of mine he purchased (from the machine purchased in his honor when he retired). The picture above (left) is of him purchasing from the machine, from Kishwaukee College’s site, with a picture of my painting he purchased.

1.29 artbox back

The inside of the lid has a transfer of the written side of the postcard, stamp and cancellation and all! The back (or bottom) of the box has an image transfer of the original postcard.

1.29 artbox inside

The inside is filled with little reproductions of the postcard, fronts and backs!

I was so thrilled and honored to get an original piece by such an important person in my life. Not only that, but it is kind of a collaboration with his, my own work AND the fabulous Keri Smith as well!

edit to add one more postcard that I sent from the book:

From the #kerismith postcard book, a card I made and sent to a friend. #showandmail #mailart

The first postcard I sent out from the book was this one in May 2014, which was just an empty sign and I designed the lettering. It was just the beginning of projects that I started using cut up Gelli Prints from and I liked this one so much I’ve been thinking of using the idea for a series of cards or notepads.

Late night #sketchbook designs #robayre

I’ve filled a bunch of pages of designs but have just been sitting on them and stalling, not sure what to do next.

I Luff You #LittleArtBook Don't forget to enter to win a little art book by hashtagging and participating in the @littleartbook community

31 Postcards 15-22

I’m getting a little ahead of myself. It’s only the 20th and here I am posting cards 15-22 of the 31 Postcards in 31 Days project.

After using my silk screens for week 2 of the 31 Postcards in 31 days, and then buying new drawing fluid that actually worked I wanted to keep going. This week after being inspired by the translucent look of washi tape I decided to do another series of silk screen postcards. I used my new screen and made little simple lines and shapes. Then I REALLY diluted my inks with translucent base to get the look I was going for. I’m really pleased with the outcome and will probably try more printing like this in the future. I think I might make more little screens as well, so I don’t have to wash it out as often, and I can keep certain patterns.
#31postcards 15/31

#31postcards 16/31

#31postcards 17/31

#31postcards 18/31

#31postcards 19/31

#31postcards 20/31

#31postcards 21/31

#31postcards 22/31

The print part has a more dappled texture than what I was aiming for. Unlike normal paper one would print on, these old pictures have a glossy finish, so instead of the ink soaking into the paper it just lays on top and sticks together.

Also, I just realized none of these pictures have my signature “place stamp here” stickers on them yet.

10.19. 31 postcards2
It kind of makes me laugh thinking about having this (or possibly more) super tiny screen. When I was college my serigraphy teacher was continually trying to make me go bigger, Bigger, BIGGER! Yet I grabbed and used the smallest frame I could find. Later when we had to build our own she insisted that I build a huge screen. I have it still but never use it. Instead I use the smaller ones I’ve built myself.
One last thing before I sign off for the weekend. Today is¬† is the NaDa Farm Sale from 9-12. I’m not selling this time, I was just too busy, but I did go last night to shop. If you live in the northern Illinois area you should check it out. It’s $5 to get in. Pictured above is just one room from the sale, but there are 3 more rooms full of vendors and also plenty of booths outside as well, including Anne from abeautifulparty, who I got to meet for the first time.

Have a wonderful weekend!

31 Postcards in 31 Days – Week 2

I have finished another week of mailart postcards for 31 Postcards in 31 Days. I also finally finished addressing and writing the first week’s postcards and dropped them at the post office this weekend.


Postcards 7-14

These postcards are the result of my silk screening attempt, or should I say 3 attempts. Since then I have purchased a new bottle of drawing fluid and Tada, everything worked out perfectly. I tested out a little sample sketch and I only had to do one coat of the drawing fluid and the lines stayed crisp and didn’t dilute during the screen filler application. These postcards are still based on that former screen I did.

Below are a few details
10.14.12 31 postcards thumbnail 1

10.14.12 31 postcards thumbnail

10.14.12 31 postcards thumbnail 3

I have had a few ideas here and there for next weeks postcards, but nothing really set in stone yet. We will see what I come up with.

Better but still not great

10.8 screen print

Hooray, the screen cleaned out, but the edges are super fuzzy as you can see. So, better, but still not great. I’m blaming the drawing fluid and will buy some new. I think the drawing fluid was too old, too thin, or a combination of both. I was able to pull a bunch of prints that I will use for my 31 Postcards in 31 Days project. Since each postcard will be different but based on the same print I’m not going to post each one individually, but share them all together in one post closer to the end of the week. I plan on doing some with watercolor, some colored pencil and some chine colle, and who know what else.
lily of the valley pattern
The print was based on this pattern I drew in my little staple scrap book. I was originally trying to come up with a floral pattern that was different than your typical floral pattern. I still really like the pattern and after this week might play around with it on the computer some, using the Heather Ross Prints book I recently got. Funny sidenote, I drew my pattern first before getting the book, but when going through Heather Ross Prints, she too has a lily of the valley print, but it looks very different (below).
Heather Ross Prints

Day 6 – 31 Postcards in 31 Days

10.6 mailart

Postcard 5. Not a big leap, since I have a thing for Grass and Stars after all.

Day 5 – 31 Postcards in 31 Days

10.5 mailart

Day 5, a little different. Instead of space we have grass.

I’m going for a 3rd attempt at the silk screen this weekend. Doing prints should be much quicker for next week.

Have a good weekend!

Day 4 – 31 Postcards in 31 Days

Rather than waiting until the evening when I'm exhausted I did some painting this morning before work. It was great.

This morning I woke up at 5 am and couldn’t fall back to sleep. Instead I got up and actually started painting my mailart postcard for the day. It was such a nice start to the day. I was in such a good mood in the morning. I’d love to say that I should begin each morning this way, but I also know I’m one to love to sleep in. I know the moment I’d make such a commitment I would not be able to climb out of bed until 7:30 to be at work by 8. In an ideal world…

The top picture was an iphone macro lens shot of the painting this morning. Bright and cheerful.
10.4 mailart cropped
This is the finished piece. Day 4 of 31 Postcards in 31 days.

For over 200 more pieces of mailart I’ve created, see my flickr photo set here.

Day 3

10.3 mailart3

Day 3 of 31 Postcards in 31 Days. It’s been such a busy week. Every day this week I finish my postcard and then fall into bed and sleep like a brick.

Is anyone else participating in #31Postcards?