Sunday 11 December 2016

2016 #24 Mail Art {Challenge}

 2016 Topic 24: Mail Art
Kasia Avery

Winter wishes everyone, Darcy here with our final challenge of this year. how is it possible that we have finished another full year already. I hope you have loved sharing this year with us, exploring new themes and joining the challenges. 

This challenge will last for just ONE week, so as soon as you finish reading, crack open the paints and join in. This means this challenge will close NEXT SUNDAY. But never fear, we have something new and exciting planned for the following 2 weeks. Before you know it we will be lighting the fireworks for the New Year, and I guarantee the year is going to  start with a Bang! Just you wait and see. 

Before we start, let's see who won the Topic 23: Bleach Techniques Challenge...

The winner of Bleach Techniques  is: Trish from Trish's Art

Email Darcy to claim your prize.

So where did this Mail Art phenomena come from, and how long has it been around? Well, for much longer than you might think. For as long as people have been able to send mail, little pieces of art have traversed the globe. Friends, family and like minded creatives have always corresponded with a little bit of flair thrown in. Sketches, paintings,poems even pressed flowers all included in their letters, some people created elaborately decorated stationery on which to write. 

Vincent Van Gogh sent numerous letters to his brother Theo, included in some were drawings, outlines for paintings that he wished to create.  He also wrote to  fellow artist Gauguin, this sketch shows the outline for one of his most well known paintings. 

Van Gogh
In 1916 Marcel Duchamp was working with postcards, there was outrage when he took a postcard of the Mona Lisa and added his own artistic touch. Facial hair on the iconic image was not appreciated. 

In the early 1900's The Italian Futurists produced many satirical postcards based on the war. In France the Nouveau Realiste movement also used postcards as a reaction to the new consumer society, challenging traditional art forms and mediums. However it was Ray Johnson in the 1960's who really promoted the movement of correspondence artists. he would send out mail and ask that the receiver add to it and send it back. 

By the 1990's the Correspondence art movement was pretty much over as the era of digital mail took over. All this time the art had mainly been sent to and swapped with other artists, registers were set up with many members. There were not many rules, however it was stipulated that no money change hands, art was sent freely with no expectation of anything in return and you weren't allowed to pass judgement or complain about the art, you get what you get. 

Mail art is still very much loved by those that take part, but it seems many people have not yet tried it or even heard of it. Maybe because there are no 'right' ways to do it, perhaps that makes it a little confusing. 

There are many ways to play along with mail art, firstly of course you can just make mail themed art for yourself, or you could post to yourself if you don't wish to give your art away. 

Here is a great journal page with a mail art theme by Honeybunny. 

Or this stunning postcard journal page by Marjie Kemper. 
But if you do want to send out art there are so many possibilities. You could collect old envelopes or letters and create your art on those, using them as a base, to keep or give away. Mark Powell does just that. How beautiful does this look, the mix of new over old. 

You could also collect postage stamps and create some form of art with those. 
Trudy Cook

How cool would it be to receive a parcel like this in the post, would you dare spoil it by opening it. Christmas is coming, why not add a little something to your packages. 

You may be concerned with the 'opening' part of mail art, well you have choices there too. You can send art that is meant to be opened, that has something inside... or you can choose to make the envelope the artwork in itself, that way it does not need to be opened. 

This is my preferred method, I love decorating envelopes and sending them just as they are, the only thing I put inside is a sheet of card for strength. You do need to let the recipient know that there is nothing inside. or if you are part of a swap, then agree beforehand whether the envelope can be opened or not. 

I love these tiny parcels that Naomi sends out. 

How adorable is this mail art dress, perfect for a little girl's bedroom. 

Jennifer Collier
If you do post your arty envelopes you must ensure that you still comply with mailing regulations, otherwise the post office may refuse to accept your envelope or parcel, or it may get lost. 

Make sure you leave an area for the name and address, ideally leave it blank to write on as sticky labels on top of paint may come off. Similarly leave a apace for the postage. Try not to add too much bulk to the outside or anything loose that may come away. Similarly use mediums that will not reactivate and streak should they get wet. 

This envelope shows perfectly how you can decorate and leave adequate spaces for the information. 

You can decorate the front or back or both. 

You can even make the name part of the art, again, just make sure it can be read properly. Jean received this fabulous envelope. The surname is amazing and really pops against the white background. 

This one makes excellent use of a stamp for the address area. 

Tera Callihan
At this time of year you could add a little Christmas extra to your envelopes, if nothing else it will make the busy delivery people smile. 

I love the simple but funny ones like this one..

This one is busier, but it all works so well, the collage style is not over cluttered but is still interesting. 

The Missive Maven
You could just add a border like this circle one, quick, simple but with bright punchy colours this is sure to brighten up any envelope. 

Jean Wilson
If you find yourself falling in love with mail art a little bit then I would recommend you add this to your wish list for Santa. Griffin and Sabine

Written by Nick Bantock in the 1990's this set of books began with a single book, expanded to a trilogy which was so well received that expanded to a second trilogy. This year a final book was published in the set. 

All the books follow the imaginary correspondence between Griffin and Sabine, they write letters and postcards to each other that are covered in artwork. The letters begin quite by chance and you would need to read them all to find out what happens between these two strangers.

The books are interactive. with pull out pages, removable postcards, little envelopes and all sorts of hidden extras. They really are stunning books and I treasure my set. 

Here are a few interesting websites dedicated to mail art. 

Mail Art on Facebook

So has that inspired you, do you want to doodle all over your envelopes? what are you waiting for.. go and play, then show us what you make. 

Don't forget this challenge is running for just ONE week, so grab a drink and head to your craft room and make some fabulous mail art.. pop it into the post and send it to someone as a surprise, or why not organise a quick swap? 

Here are the last posting dates for within the UK

  • Tuesday, December 20th for Second Class.
  • Wednesday, December 21st for First Class.
So you have plenty of time to create and send!

Don't forget to follow Darcy and Leandra's Pinterest boards if this topic pushes your buttons, you will see plenty more examples to whet your appetite there! 

I am really looking forward to seeing what you create over the next 2 weeks!


Topic 24: Mail Art PaperArtsy Blog Challenge

We'd love you to share your ideas and link up your creative response to our current blog topic. Take a minute to read the challenge guidelines below.

All links go in the draw to win a voucher to spend on products of your choice from the PaperArtsy online store. The Mail Art link will close 17:00 (London Time) Sunday, 18th December, winner will be announced 2 hours later at 19:00.

1. The challenge is a for you to show how you are inspired by the current blog topic.

Your entry should contain:
- a mention of which post inspired you and why, and 
- a link in your blog post to that original post on the PA blog.

The whole concept of this challenge is 'play along with us'. You are encouraged to put your own twist on ideas you see on our blog, do your own thing - whatever grabs you!

2. The link you put on our linky page must lead directly to the specific post on your blog where you have explored the technique/ idea mentioned in point 1 above. Don't link to the home page of your blog.

3. We prefer your challenge blog post is created exclusive to our challenge, but if our topic fits perfectly with another challenge, then you may link to both if appropriate.

4. You are most welcome to use stamps/ products/ substrates you have to hand from a variety of companies, we do not expect you to exclusively use PA products - it's lovely when you do though!

6. You can enter as many times as you like. We don't want to restrict your creativity! 
NB. Link closes at 17:00 Sunday 18th december   (London Time)

7. The winner of the random draw will receive a £50 credit voucher to be redeemed on the PaperArtsy Website. The credit voucher includes VAT and postage. We request that one of your purchases is an A5 rubber stamp. You can add any other items to your basket, but the final total should not exceed £50.

8. Each fortnight on Sunday, the winner will be announced at 19:00 (London time). In the same post, the link for the next fortnight will be posted. 

9. It's your responsibility to claim your prize coupon from Darcy. 

Good Luck! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!


Helen said...

what a great topic! some gorgeous examples of mail art you found too.

Kirsten said...

Congrats to Trish! Gorgeous examples for this new challenge.

Hazel Agnew said...

This is such an interesting an informative piece Darcy. Great inspiration and some fantastic images. Xx

Trish said...

Thank you so much! What a great prize for Christmas! Love the new challenge too - very exciting.

Craftyfield said...

Nice theme, I hope I can manage something in just a week!!

Miriam said...

Fabulous topic. I still adore the mail art that I won from's gorgeous!

Miriam said...

Fabulous topic. I still adore the mail art that I won from's gorgeous!

Seth said...

Stunning examples of mail art here. So varied and all so compelling.

Etsuko said...

Congrats to Trish! This topic is fantastic and familiar, very interesting. xx

Astrid Maclean said...

What a great post Darcy!! I have loved mail art for years, but never looked deeply into the history, such an interesting read here and what brilliant samples!! Great inspiration to have a go again... this really does push my buttons, thank you!!!

Words and Pictures said...

What a fantastic post, Darcy - full of information, ideas and inspiration. I love the vintage mail art samples you found, and Kasia's envelope has completely captured my heart!
Alison x

Gaby Bee said...

Amazing examples for this new challenge. I LOVE Mail Art!
Gaby xo

Gaby Bee said...

This challenge is right up my alley :)
Gaby xo

honey_bunny said...

Gosh, I'm so thrilled and honoured that my Santa AJ video is featured in this amazing challenge blog! Woohoo! Thank you so much for the credit! <3 Awesome theme and one of my faves! xx

Marjie Kemper said...

Thanks for sharing my art journal page, PaperArtsy!

craftimamma said...

Fabulous post Darcy and brilliant examples of mail art highlighted. You have me intrigued by the Nick Bantock books and now have them on my wish list.

Lesley Xx