Monday Morning Mail Art Call: Mandalas

There’s nothing like a drawing a mandala to create peace and harmony within.

One of my favorite art mentors and encouragers, Carrie Brummer, of Artist Strong, offers free webinars on how to draw mandalas from time to time. In so doing, she offers folks a way to get in touch with their creativity via an ancient art form that is very easy to learn and build upon. Here is a sign up link for her next webinar first week of April on drawing mandalas: http://app.webinarjam.net/register/14015/5cab2b0890 You can read about Carrie and her art here: http://www.carriebrummer.com/ You can explore her offerings via Artist Strong here: http://www.artiststrong.com/

Mandala by Carrie Brummer

Mandala by Carrie Brummer

What is a Mandala?

Mandala is a Sanskrit word that literally means circle. Mandalas are a circular design, usually created from the center point outward. When drawing or painting a mandala, you are creating a geometric pattern within the form of a circle. This pattern is believed to represent the universe at large. Mandalas are sacred in Hinduism and Buddhism, as they often are relied upon to offer spiritual guidance and aid in meditation.

Now, let me tempt you to create your own mandala to release into the world…

Mary Campbell has issued a Mandala Mail Art Call. All pieces received will be displayed at her exhibit in June 2016 and then SOLD to raise funds for food pantries in the NYC area. This is your chance to be a part of something bigger than yourself, to give back in a very small way via your creativity. All information is provided below.

MANDALA MAIL ART CALL
Send mail to be received by May 28, 2016

Send your mandala mail to:
Mary Campbell, 123 Scribner Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10301 USA

ALL work received will be posted online at tinyurl.com/mndla-pics

A Mandala is a graphic pattern – circular divided into four separate sections, balancing visual elements, symbolizing unity and harmony, representing the cosmos
mail art Size- less than 12″ x 12″
(Please include on front or back one word as a meditation guide)

ALL work received will be Exhibited June 3- 31, 2016
At ETG Book Cafe, 208 Bay St, Staten Island NY
And SOLD with ALL sales going to local FOOD PANTRIES
to increase their food stock

(Exhibit is part of the “Food Can Mandala Project” which includes a 24′ mandala to be created from cans of food, on view June 18 at the Unitarian Church of Staten Island and then the food cans will be distributed to Staten Island food pantries. Project funded in part by a DCA Premier grant from SI Arts with public funding from the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs.)

The Ghost of Guido Vermeulen

This morning’s Monday Morning Mail Art Call is a little different from the ones that have come before, in that I am not only announcing a call, but paying tribute to a dear friend and fellow mail artist who passed away in 2014.

BreathingPollutedAirBluesGuidoV

Breathing Polluted Air Blues by Guido Vermeulen

Guido Vermeulen was a “POET, MAIL ARTIST, PAINTER.” He was the self-proclaimed “dispatcher from signs and stones” and the “Editor of FRIOUR Network Magazine.”

ThisIsTheResultOfJustAnotherSleeplessNightGudioV

This Is The Result Of Just Another Sleepless Night by Guido Vermeulen

He impacted the lives of everyone with whom he came in contact. Many became treasured friends via their regular correspondence with him. I am no exception.

HELLandHEAVENwereinventedbymymotherGuidoV

HELL & HEAVEN were invented by my mother; a tribute to William Blake and Lynn Britton Radford by Guido Vermeulen

Guido and I met through mail art, but we quickly bonded on many levels which gave us plenty to discuss as we sent envelopes back and forth and interacted via social media. We never did meet in person and I am saddened that I will not be able to collect on the promised hugs in this lifetime.

AtCrescent CreekCane-SugarCommentsonaSunsetGuidoV

At Crescent Creek Cane – Sugar Comments On A Sunset by Guido Vermeulen

Recently, Guido’s birthday passed. He would have been 62. Many of us have been thinking of him and reminiscing. I’d remembered having seen a call for Guido inspired mail art and I created an envelope for the event, only to find that I had not saved the information. I was distraught at the thought of having created a tribute to my dear friend, only to drop the ball.

This past week, an envelope from another dear friend gave me the information I’d thought was lost to me.

GhostofGuidoVmailartcall

This is the envelope I painted with acrylic inks for the call:

GhostofGuidoVbyME

The Ghost of Guido Vermeulen by LKR (A Tribute to the Memory of Guido Vermeulen, the dispatcher from signs and stones… A True Friend ‘Til the End.)

Had I sent this on to Guido, there would have been discussion, no doubt. Were they bunny ears? Was it a two headed monster? Were they representative of demons? Alas, we have to think on these points without Guido’s thoughts.

An envelope much like those Guido often used was utilized for the project and I even took care to address it in the manner he most often used. Having plenty of his cards, I used one on the envelope, a testament to his having been here.

GhostofGuidobyMEback

This morning, this piece is on its way. I hope that it touches people as it goes, just like Guido did.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

 

Tuesday Trash Bubbles: Adirondack Solution Ranger

Inspired by the packaging I chose to work with, it easily provided the color palette and the message. It was magical, the way it came together.

Adirondack Solution Ranger

The contents of the bubble were found objects, with the exception of the plastic spool. The top is comprised of a red twist tie, inserted into a gasket of sorts complete with it’s dirty residue.

Adirondack Solution Ranger (top)

The bottom gold ring with tabs came from some bottle or another, but I really liked the way it played against the inside of the spool.

Adirondack Solution Ranger (bottom)

It went out on Monday and I forgot to jot down the bit about it that I’d written on the back. Maybe it’s recipient will find it in her heart to fill you in when she receives it.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again.

Outbound Mail Art: A Little of This and That

You’ve seen some of my recent mail art in other posts… A Piece of the Puzzle series, FISH mail art and Trash Bubbles. I won’t bother to post those again. These are recent pieces that didn’t make their way into the blog, just in case you wondered if I’d done anything else recently. 😀

LYA 2016 Envie 2 Kat Sloma

This was the mail art envie for my Liberate Your Art  swap offerings. It went to Kat Sloma, hostess of the swap. 😀

Shadow of a Girl/Hiding in the Shadows 2016 Tag Swap Scrap Proj. to April Cole

This was a piece created from the left-over scraps from a recent tag swap. The leader of the group sponsoring the swap sent out a little something to all of the participants. Of course, I simply had to respond in kind. 😀

Milkweed Moth

Milkweed Moth was sent to Judy Staroscik, a fellow mail artist who’d been waiting on return mail from me for some time. It was created from a hodge-podge of scraps that had been floating around. 😀

Corrugated Rounds At Play to Carina Granlund

Carina Granlund is another mail artist who hadn’t seen mail from me in quite some time. I knew I’d yet to send her any of my black or corrugated mail, so I went with this piece, Corrugated Rounds at Play. I wonder how it will fare the international post? Only time will tell. 😀

Eduardo Munez Project Envie

And last, but not least, this envelope was my offering for the Eduardo Munez project. I am eager to see how the film turns out. 😀

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

 

Tuesday Trash Bubbles: Pan Lite

Today’s Trash Bubble was made from consumer packaging that closely resembles the product it once held. These kinds of plastic bubbles offer a jumping off point of sorts and I enjoy working with them.

This piece was originally the plastic sleeve for a flash light of some sort. It had spacers that extended out from the main body, to fill the space in the box it came in and keep it from rattling around. I removed those with scissors, as it made securing the sides easier and less bulky.

To begin, I filled the small cavities with game piece letter blocks, giving title to the piece. Next, I added “buttons” to the little divots where it seems the on/off button was on the product. Then I added printed washi tape (Tim Holtz) to the edges to define the piece. Note: static is not your friend when working with post consumer plastic as it is a magnet for the finest hairs and dust, which can clearly be seen in the first photo.

Pan Lite (beginning)

Below are are some photos of the finished product. I had wanted to use short lengths of electrical wires and electronic components, but opted instead for trash bits because I didn’t want someone to mistake it for an explosive device. If it weren’t traveling “naked” through the mail, I would’ve stuck with my original vision.

FRONT:

Pan Lite (front)

Pan Lite (front top close-up)

Pan Lite (front middle close-up)

Pan LIte (front bottom close-up)

BACK:

Pan Lite (back)

Pan Lite (back top close-up)

Pan Lite (main body close-up)

It was fun to assemble. I can only hope that the receiver enjoys it. 😀

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

 

Monday Morning Mail Art Call: Feed the Fish

This week’s Monday Morning Mail Art Call is as special as the couple hosting it. Moan Lisa, the mail art legend and digital artist known to many of us as Mark Rossmiller, of Iowa and his lovely counterpart, Renata Solimini, of Rome have been working on a collaboration of grand proportions. Their Feed The Fish exhibition is upcoming at Five Monkeys, Inc., Des Moines, Iowa from April 1-7, 2016.

To coordinate with the exhibition, they have issued a mail art call whose theme is FISH. The pieces they receive will be on display at the exhibition. Use the following link to check out the details: http://moanlisa.com/blog/2015/11/05/feed-the-fish-exhibition-five-monkeys-inc

You may recall that I was carving rubber stamps of fish last week… They were for use in creating mail art pieces for this particular call. This is what transpired…

School of FISH

School of FISH

School of FISH Bones

School of FISH Bones

FISH in the Round

FISH in the Round

On Saturday, February 27th, I was honored to have been able to spend some time with Moan (Mark) and be there to support him as he had his first one man show, Signs of Nonexistence, at the Christine Frechard Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA.

With Moan Lisa (Mark Rossmiller) at the Christine Frechard Gallery 2/27/2016

His digital artwork is even more impressive on a larger scale. I was taken in by the movement of the pieces and their magical, ethereal quality.

A glimpse of Moan's Gallery Opening

Books of Moan’s poetry were offered for sale at the gallery. Many folks were very interested in the poetry and taken in by the artwork on the books’ covers. Christine, the gallery owner was able to persuade Moan to read for a few of us at the end of the evening.

Moan's Poetry Reading

As I am a huge fan of Mark’s poetry, it was a special treat to hear them read aloud by him. I am used to trying to find quiet moments alone where I can read them aloud to myself, as I find they are more alive and vivid in their imagery that way. You can find the current editions available and other bits of Moan’s work for sale here: http://moanlisa.com/shop/

Do think about sending something for the Feed The Fish mail art call. And if you are in the Pittsburgh area between now and April 1st, do stop into the Christine Frechard Gallery to view Moan’s offerings. You won’t be disappointed, I assure you.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

 

 

 

Tuesday Trash Bubbles: Original Quadra Trash Bubble

Usually, my Trash Bubbles are created from one, single post consumer package. Often, they are too small to mail as art and are used as ornaments and gift tags, or are added to a larger flat piece for posting.

Close-up Original Quadra Trash Bubble (top)

This time, I broke the confines of my own definition by building a piece made up of FOUR!!! identical packages.

Introducing the Original Quadra Trash Bubble!

Original Quadra Trash Bubble

These pieces were anchored together using Tim Holtz’s Tiny Attacher, permanent double-sided tape and seals.

The interior packing cards were replaced by heavy paper cut to size, and folded accordingly to mimic the original.

Original Quadra Trash Bubble close-up (bottom)

Despite using trash as filler for these pieces, I follow closely the elements of art composition. Form. Line. Color. Space. Texture. Doing so turns the trashy bits into a cohesive art form.

Original Quadra Trash Bubble close-up

This particular piece is heading to a fellow mail artist in New Hampshire. You may recognize him as having been around a while.

Original Quadra Trash Bubble (back)

Be sure to check back next Tuesday for another installment of Tuesday Trash Bubbles.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

 

On My Desk: Liberate Your Art 2016

Another year has passed since we talked about the Liberate Your Art Swap hosted by Kat Sloma of Kat Eye Studio. Read about the swap here: http://kateyestudio.com/liberate-your-art-postcard-swap

The idea behind the swap is to get artists and photographers thinking about reproducing their work and sending it out into the world. Many of us create one of a kind (OOAK) pieces and move on. But… the life of a particular piece is not limited to its original if you can reproduce it. We’re not talking about large professional quality prints for sale, although you can certainly take your artwork in that direction if you wish. We simply use the art to create postcards. Small. Simple. Easy.

This is my third consecutive year participating in this swap and it never disappoints. You might think it would be boring year after year, but rather, I find it more challenging as I go along.

Read about my first year here: https://trashbubblesandlifeslittlebits.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/liberate-your-art-follow-up-and-blog-hop/

Read about my second year here: https://trashbubblesandlifeslittlebits.wordpress.com/category/liberate-your-art-2015-post-card-swap/

This year, I chose two images to work with. The first was a photograph I took of some colored pencils that, to me, was striking.

Colored Pencil Photo

The space off to the right felt empty. I almost abandoned the use of the photo for that reason. Then, I had the idea to pair it with one of my favorite quotes about color and this is what transpired…

COLOR QUOTE Colored Pencils

The colors changed from my original in the uploading/printing/scanning process. Sadly, there was no way to prevent that. My preference was for the brighter, truer, more crisp colors, but I am satisfied with the final product, knowing that if you don’t see them side by side like this, you don’t know there is a difference.

The second image I worked with was a 4×6 collage I created using Crow About StudioB elements from Nancy Baumiller. You can find the image packs I used here: Funky Borders: http://www.mischiefcircus.com/shop/product.php?productid=23280&cat=0&page=1 and Tree Lovers & Things: http://www.mischiefcircus.com/shop/product.php?productid=23281&cat=0&page=1

TheWallflower

The Wallflower

Once again, the colors were more muted than I’d intended. Firstly, I do not have a laser printer with which to print the image packs for use in collage. Secondly, re-scanning/printing further changes the colors. For my purposes, the softer more muted colors were okay.

Vistaprint was my printer of choice for quantity and cost concerns.

Five printed postcards are required for the swap. I’m not sure if I will choose one design over the other, or if I will send a mix of the two. I also need to art up the envelope I’ll be sending them in. That’s what’s on my desk today.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

 

 

A Piece of the Puzzle

In an attempt to find my way back, I’d begun the month of January cleaning, sorting and organizing my studio. I didn’t get very far.

One item kept tripping me up — literally. It was a large puzzle whose artwork was created by Christina Riese Lassen of Maui, Hawaii c2004. My daughter’s friend built it, sealed it and presented it to her when she was still in high school. She left it behind when she moved out. It was missing a few pieces in the lower right-hand corner, but I couldn’t part with it. Something about it really spoke to me. And so, it floated around the floor, sometimes being used as a backdrop for photos, but mostly, it was in the way.

The other day, I accidentally loosed a four inch section when I tripped over it. Voila! The idea was born to break it into mail-able pieces I would re-seal them on both sides to make them sturdy enough to survive the postal journey on which they were about to embark.

DSC_0381

But… how to make them my own? I didn’t want to destroy the artist’s work. That was what I loved and why it stayed so long on the studio floor.

While sorting and organizing the magazines I use for collage, words and phrases kept jumping out at me. I decided to take the time to clip some and found that the choices I made had me thinking about the puzzle. In an effort to move past it, I began matching the clippings to the sections I’d broken up, thinking that I simply needed to acknowledge my mind’s connection so that I could move on.

Instead of the release I sought, I found deeper meaning in the bits. I jotted down each word snippet on scratch paper and wrote the first two or three things that came to mind for each one.

When I finished, I had an outline of sorts. Reading over it, I found it was a lesson in self. It reminded me of some things I’d forgotten, showed me where I’d been meaning to go and delivered the promise for which I’d been looking.

Here are the twenty one pieces before mailing:

PuzzleAllTogetherNow PuzzleBalanceBlues PuzzleBeautyElectric PuzzleBloom PuzzleCarvingAnUnusualPath PuzzleCreativeControl PuzzleEnergy PuzzleFuturePerfect PuzzleHeadingIntoTheFuture PuzzleHiddenBeauty PuzzleInspiration PuzzleJewelBox PuzzleRareBirds PuzzleSeaShades PuzzleStrangerInParadise PuzzleSundance PuzzleTheGrassIsAlwaysGreener PuzzleTranquility PuzzleTrueColors PuzzleWhatLiesBeneath

PuzzleMystery

And this is what they inspired:

PieceofthePuzzleJournalArt

They were mailed domestically. Look for them to land soon, in a mailbox near you!

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

P.S. I have recently contributed a piece to the blog You-R-Here. I would really like all my readers to see it because I mention each and every one of you. Please take the time to check it out: http://you-r-here.net/2016/02/01/goodwill-lynn-radford/

 

Is The Road To Hell Really Paved With Good Intentions?

The past six months have been more difficult for me than I ever could have realized. It all began with the loss of my mother last July and the grief spiraled out of control. Every attempt at trying to resume my regular routine was met with anguish and resistance. It was futile to keep trying, or so I thought.

Creating in any form became impossible. I couldn’t find within the peace I needed to settle down with my supplies, or even a pen and paper. October saw my lame attempt fall flat in my fulfillment of a commitment for the Retro Café Art Gallery 2015 Tombstone Swap. My heart just wasn’t in it. If you haven’t already seen it, you can read that last blog post here: https://trashbubblesandlifeslittlebits.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/spooky-happenings-at-the-studio/

My friend, Jill, began a new blog in November. She hosts you-r-here.net  and invites fellow creatives to guest blog weekly. Her idea is this, “You-R-Here… So, interact with your environment and the people surrounding you.” I was excited when she asked me to participate. At the same time, I was scared to death. What could I have to offer in my state of grief and confusion? I forced myself to contribute in order to try to get myself out of… well, out of myself, I guess. It seemed I was only able to work up a short piece every two weeks, but that was more than I was able to produce otherwise.

My light, my joy, during these dark days was my grandson, Noah. His smile, his happy chatter, his child-like wonder pulled me from within and let me be light and free when we were together. Thankfully, I can count on a dose of Noah at least twice weekly.

A conversation with a Dear Aunt helped to release me from a great deal of the negativity I’d been harboring since my mother’s passing. My Aunt helped me to put it all into perspective, to show me the light at the end of the tunnel that my blinders had hidden from my view. For that, I am more grateful than you could ever imagine.

And so… I managed not only to “get through” the holidays, but to find some level of comfort and enjoyment in them. I looked forward to the New Year, as many of us do, as a fresh start. I vowed to get back into the studio (which had become the place to toss junk and store miscellaneous stuff out of sight these last few months) to sort, organize and just spend time there. My hope was that in so doing, I would eventually be inspired to begin creating once again.

Today is the 19th of January. I have made some progress in the sorting and organizing department. The biggest change I made was to hang the twinkle lights I’d been meaning to hang for two years! They are finally off the floor and out of my way, providing ambiance the way I’d intended.

Houston, we have twinkle lights!

Most importantly, I AM inspired. I have begun creating in small ways. Yesterday, I launched a new mail art project that is helping to get another large thing off my floor and out the door, whilst allowing me to be creative and introspective all at once. Look for more on that later this week because I finally feel that I can return to my twice weekly blogging schedule.

In addition, I am writing again, creatively. I was so happy about this development that I committed to the 10th Annual Short Story Challenge. It promises to be an exhilarating creative boost. The first leg of the challenge begins at midnight on January 22nd. Registration is open though the 21st in case you think you might be interested in participating.

If you’ve ever experienced a creative block of any kind, you know how monumental this all is. So, to answer the question I posed as this post’s title… NO! The road to Hell is not paved with good intentions. The road back to self, however, is. I’d intended to make more progress by this time, but I am happy with the fact that I am moving forward, I am embracing the life I am meant to live despite my heartache and the healing is happening.

Thank you, all of you! On the rare day that I even looked at my blog, I was encouraged to see that you had kept checking in despite my absence. Your faith in me, when I’d so little in myself, gave me hope. For that, I am immensely grateful. There would be no blog without you folks who care to catch a glimpse inside my crazy world!

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!