Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mail Art Call

Check out This site
Art by Michael Harford, 2010

I’ve been on the blogs a while now. I think I actually started in 2005. That means I’m going on my sixth year. I deleted my blog once, and cleaned it out pretty good another time, leaving only posts I thought had significant value. The oldest I have posted on my current blog is from March of 2007.
Some of the sites on my side bar have been there for a long time as well. I haven’t visited everyone in a long time. One of these days I’m going to sit my butt down and go to every blog and make a comment.
Lately, my own blog has made a sort of transition and I dabble in the art of haiku and very amateur photography. In browsing around from here and there, mostly by clicking on a commenters name that I might see often at a blog I might frequent, I have found some fantastic sites and made many new friends.
But I still have many old friends. Some of whom I have had the honor of meeting in the flesh either when I was traveling, or when they were traveling, and stopped over in my neighborhood. On an upcoming journey, I have plans to hopefully meet two or even three or four bloggers that I have only “met” here on these pages.
One such blogger friend is Michael. He calls himself Coffee Messiah. Michael garnered that name as he used to be in the coffee business and has the eye and nose for this important beverage.

A creative selection from Coffee Messiah from his blog

Years ago, I used to sell freshly roasted top quality coffee beans on Ebay, and the name of his blog, also Coffee Messiah, caught my eye. We exchanged back and forth and have been for years now. Last Fall, Michael was in the Minneapolis area and we met for coffee at the J&S Bean Factory, a coffee shop and Roastery in St. Paul that is owned by a very good friend of mine.
Just like I have changed, or rather evolved, from the way I used to blog to the way I participate in blogging now, so has Michael. I’ve been visiting his blog lately and I see he has taken to doing artscapes, or art scenes, cut and pasted on post card sized stock.
Another Messiah original

I went down his side bar and found a blog called Scrapiteria. It is about the art of collage and goes as far as to call the people who do this form a collagist. Scrapiteria is only interested in cut-and-paste artwork. No digital forms. I know I’ll be going back there for more of a look.
In the meantime, Michael, the Coffee Messiah, has put out an Art Call for Mail Art. Mail Art can be found all over the world. It could be called a cultural movement and has been around since the 1960‘s. It involves sending visual art (but also music, sound art, poetry, etc.) through the international postal system. Mail Art has also been called Postal Art or Correspondence Art. In its basic form, I see Mail Art as a post card size work of art. HERE is another site I found with some history and great examples of Mail Art.
At first, when I saw Michael’s Mail Art Call, I didn’t have a lot of interest. But lately, through Michael posting submissions for the call on Facebook, I have seen more and more of it and I kind of like it.
Here is The Coffee Messiah blogsite. He mentions the 2011 Mail Art Call in the first post, but scroll down and see some of the collagist style art that has been submitted or found by Michael. Make sure you scour the side bar and check out the links as well.
Then, go to the Mail Art Call site. It is called The World is a Town. Those words are described as being found in some very old Russian transcripts that date back to the 11th Century. The theme is described and the call is made. Submissions are starting to be delivered to Michael and he is posting them. The ultimate destination for the submissions is an art show, but maybe more might become of it all. More shows, possibly international shows.
I was talking with my twelve year old Grand Daughter. She is the oldest. I showed her the sites about Mail Art and she took off. I had things all over my desktop. I finally put them all into a folder so she could keep all her work together. She is eagerly creating a Mail Art piece to submit to Michael’s call. I have never seen her so enthusiastic about anything, and I love to see her this way.
It was funny how I came to introduce her to Mail Art. A month or so ago, she was drawing these round faces. She was using recycled paper, lined paper. In fact, the paper was the large wide margined lined paper that an early elementary school child might use when first learning how to print.

Anna's first attempt at Mail Art which I find quite impressive

I recalled Ledger Art as done by the plains indians. I told her what I knew, that is, there wasn’t much in the way of paper to draw and paint on, so these resourceful people took to using old ledger book pages. This site has some wonderful examples of Plains Indians Ledger art.
My Grand Daughter’s art looked kind of like the ledger art,or at least mimicked the form by using what she could find, in this case, the lined paper. She had created a series of what she calls, Anna’s faces. Here are a couple of examples of her work.

Ringo the Lizard

I mentioned the Mail Art Call and put the two together. Using her faces to create a submission. She hasn’t stopped yet and is furiously working at creating a piece for submission.

You can tell she is so mature, she uses our names and not Grandma and Grandpa

I am considering taking a shot at creating a piece of Mail Art myself, and since I now have so many ties to some fabulous artists on my own side bar, I hope that they’ll read this, go to Michael’s site and make a submission themselves. From what I have seen over the past year is such marvelous creativity from individuals and art colonies traveling and working together on collaborations and themed projects.
I’m looking forward to seeing the submissions that Michael posts on his blog and anticipate I might recognize some names of the contributers from my own blogroll. I know I’ll see at least one from my Grand Daughter Anna. I’m also hoping that The Coffee Messiah reads this and comments with more information about this project.
It was really good to meet him face-to-face. I’ll be heading down through his neck of the woods one of these days. I’ll have to visit and have a cup of coffee, or maybe tea.
Take care and be well.


Mary said...

You're granddaughter is so fortunate to have your encouragement so early in her life.

rebecca said...

i love your enthusiasm...and now you have ignited anna!
she has been bitten hard!!!
i am off to take in all your generous links.
stay warm...
thanks for being here.

Stephanie said...

Look at what you are inspiring in your granddaughter!!

I am fascinated with the ledger the backs of the men all lined up, embracing...

I'll check out the mail art blog...

susanna said...

This is a really interesting post, Joe. I agree with Stephanie. The ledger art is fascinating. That has me thinking that wouldn't it be great if every year, a book publisher put together a book of American children's artwork? It would be interesting to see how their little "towns/worlds" looked through their eyes, especially over the years. Anyway...

There is something fascinating and uplifting when artists who are strangers come together for a collaboration. And how great is it that your granddaughter has been inspired to submit her own collages to the project?! I think you should, too! Btw, I already considered you an artist, Joe. Your dreamcatchers are absolutely beautiful and meaningful.

rochambeau said...

Hello Spadoman,
Thank you for the introduction to the Coffee Messiah (great name) and for bringing his Mailart challenge to our attention. Anna's on a roll!! Adore her work, really.
Wish I had some of my ledgerart books. That's all I had. I majored in Legerart! Funny.



to you Joe, Barb, (who by the way are looking very well in your portrait) and to your family too!

Have a wonderful time on your adventure to New Mexico! Will you be meeting bloggers there?


Coffee Messiah said...

Thanks for the mention and kind words Joe!

Of course, like other prior to me, what you make with your hands is an art also, so never thought you weren't an artist.

As I mentioned to you, I'm happy that your grand-daughter is excited about joining in the mail art world. So many of the originals are gone, but people keep popping up to join in.
There are no rules really, and anything goes. Sometimes it appears like a mish mash, but it says something from that person, although we may not see it at first.

Lie you, politics for awhile was our aim and goal, much like it was in the '60s-'70s, but then there comes a point where for me, I needed to express those concerns visually. I've been doing this my whole life and never thought much about, really.

And yes, like you, we've seen a few different areas of interest, and have changed our focus, but we're still doing the same thing, only in a different way.

Thanks for the nice post and look forward to what your grand-daughter sends. I really like the picture of the people she did, and the "dance" card.

Lastly it was nice to finally meet, if only for a few moments. I hear we may be going to Rib Lake this year, in that case, and if you're around, perhaps we can hook up again.

Thanks and Cheers!

Sorrow said...

Your granddaughters art is wonderful. It has all the whimsy and soul of a free spirit.
I used to do that when i was kid..
can't believe it's still out there.
It's good to know.
Thanks Joe

Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

Very impressive-your granddaughter's work! And, how unique and special is that-the fact that you are BOTH participating in this mail art call? Most certainly a life changing moment for both of you.
This will be one of those very strong and positive memories she will have of you and doing things with you.
Way to go!!!

Mel said...


See--I don't think there's a greater gift than when you bring to the life of a child. It goes full circle. And we let it--which I think is such an awesome thing.

G-d bless that little gal--she's full of passion and love and she puts it out there so well.

She's a lucky gal to be so encouraged. You are truly graced that you get to.

Enter more than one--and enter often!

Ohhhhhhh..maybe she could start her own site with a bit of help!

yeah, yeah yeah...I'm such an instigator! ;-)


((((((((( Sorrow )))))))))))

(sorry....LOL....just had to!)

Christopher said...

When is Anna going to start her own blog?

english inukshuk said...

*waves at sorrow*


I really really like the ledger art, the hair arrangements shown from the back and the circle of seated figures especially!

hope Anna keeps going, and that you take copies of everything that she produces for her own record of her progress and creations

mig said...

The Plains Indian Ledger Art is wonderful - I particularly like the one called Bad Eye. Seeing as how he's got such a good eye for sketching.
Your granddaughter's mail art is terrific too - I love the title. She's really got the idea and clearly shares her Grandfather's creativity. Lucky girl to have such a great guy to inspire her and lucky you to have such a lovely child to inspire!
And I really enjoyed the beautiful work on Coffee Messiah's blog and The World is a Town. Lovely! Thanks for all the fascinating links.

Mel said...


Just smilin'....

Not instigatin' or nuffin'....