ephemera

Mail Art

After my discovery of Adanaland earlier this year, I have been ruminating upon the lost pleasures of the mail. It is a simple concept really; that as we have become  accustomed to the immediate availability of just about anything via the web, and our ordinary existence becoming ever more virtual and automated, our expectations of the ‘old mail’ have dropped accordingly.

So it’s time to show you what I’ve been doing instead of all my usual stuff: mail art.

At the end of June I joined the International Union Of Mail Artists (IUOMA) and in early July I sent out my very first offering, to Brazil, Romania and Germany.

This was a small (150x110mm), 5-station pamphlet stitched booklet, whose cover included flaps that wrapped around and formed the envelope. The bright red stitching was visible on the outside. Inside were 16 pages of unaccountable Victorian censoring and hasty editing.

 

 

The second mailout was another book form, this time featuring a concertina folded page of handmade paper enclosed in a hard case binding (115x80mm). The book was sprinkled with asemic writing and symbols and included a translucent folded marker with additional tags. Four of these were sent out to Japan, Brussels, Pittsburgh and Minnesota USA.

 

 

So far, in return for these two little offerings, I have been sent the following…

From Cristian Sima in Romania:

From Bifidus Jones, Minnesota USA:

From The Celestial Scribe in Brazil:

From Marie Wintzer, Japan:

From Guido Vermeulen in Brussels:

From Gunter Schwind in Germany:

And from Claire Dinsmore in Pittsburgh USA:

And for those of you who like the packaging just as much as the contents – check out Claire’s envelope!

I get the best mail in our street. Bar none.

Still more to come!

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4 thoughts on “Mail Art

  1. I began life collecting coins until my dad caught me swiping a couple buffalo nickles and a standing liberty quarter out of the church collection plate. I was maybe, five years old. Already, the concept of something old and something collectible had firmly planted itself somewhere in my pea brain. When we got home from church that morning, dad went into the den, pulled out an envelope that had a purple three-cent liberty postage stamp on it, and said “you see this, Gary? It’s a stamp! People collect these things, and guess what? They’ve been making these for over a hundred years!!” That’s all that was needed.

    52 years later, I am no less fascinated by these tiny little micro-posters of rather intense and involved design, excellent execution, and in many cases, considerable value. They represent not only the culture, history, society and economy of their country of origin, but they also represent communication from one person to another. They talk. They are timeless. They are, very much, limited edition works of art. Some more or less limited than others. Even the most common of stamps have their story. Alan, master of Hedgehog Press and Postmaster General of Adanaland and the Perfect State of Flatby has actually realised all the the above, society, history, culture, economy, and in some cases, even sports and Python-like humour, in his issues. Moreso, I find, than most folks, even died-in-the-wool Philatelists!

    As a formal collector of Classic-Era stamps and postal ephemera from the US, UK and German States, I have begun to dedicate a whole section of my collection to these “Cinderalla” issues, prize among which are the Adanaland & Flatby issues. Myself a Letterpress Printer (yeah, stamp collecting is responsible for that, too!), I have as well, issued a few cinderellas, and at least one bona-fide commemorative Christmas Seal.

    With the diminution of overland mail, and the marginalization and homogenization of the current postal issues, few of which really live up to the designs of their predecessors, it might appear that it is the Private Presses, such as Hedgehog and Fox Paw, that are now carrying that torch.

    Thank you for spending time with the subject of Philatelic art and things related. I myself have an article on my blog related to Philatelic design, plus an image that can be easily vectorised by my fellow “black art” practicioners, should they wish to produce a postal label borrowing a classic design from mid 19th Century Europe: The Ceres Head.

    http://www.gjohanson.blogspot.com/2012/06/philatelic-art-enduring-design.html

    Carry on, Sir, and best of Providence in all your Philatelic and Printing Endeavors!

    -gary

    G. Johanson, Letterpress
    Letterpress Printing & Design.

    1. Thank you for your comments Gary. It is great to share one’s interests, passions and discoveries on the web, no matter how specialist (or dull in my wife’s view!) and it helps to confirm that although we are all living infinitely more remote lives these days, those who are like-minded or just curious will find a point of contact in cyberspace!

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