Archive for June, 2010

catching up…

I’m trying to catch up. Yes, yes, I make postcards much faster than I can post. That’s a known fact. So when we went east, I even made postcards on the plane. It sure made the time go faster. Even the delays and cancellations on the airline that I am not supposed to mention the name of for fear of being SUED. That being said, I am happy to tell you in private :)

Can you tell where the cut-out images are from? If you can’t figure it out, I’ll share it after all of the photos.

To Wolfgang Skodd:

To Rudd Jansen:

To TR Raden:

To Penelope Samuel:

To carla cryptic:

And the message on the back of some but not all:

And the whole lot on display at our swanky hotel in NYC called The Pod:

Have you figured out what the cut-out is? Airports all over the world.

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Seeing that I am finally home for a weekend with my cats and girlfriend, today I will post on the theme of home. Our place in the world and where we choose to be is the theme of Claudia Ligorria’s mail art call.

I have done a good bit of wandering in my life. I have lived in ten different cities or towns in nine states in the United States and have also lived in five other countries. This doesn’t even include the places that I have visited. Of all of the places that I lived, somehow I ended up in Spokane, WA. That is why I find Cherrie Moraga’s quote so fitting:

After awhile it comes down to a question

of life choices not a choice between you/or her

this sea town/or that bruising city

but about putting one foot in front of the other

and ending up somewhere

that looks like home.

You can see more mail art from Claudia Ligorria’s call out here.

While on the theme of home, I will share two more postcards that I have sent off recently. I sent this one to a colleague who I had dinner with the other night. She and her partner live in a little apartment overlooking Friendship Square in Moscow, Idaho. Nearly all of the walls are covered with bookcases and/or cat art work. I was in a home away from home!

And, I sent this card to jennlui. The blue and green background is a scan of one of my favorite aprons that I won at Palouse PRIDE last year!

May we find all find our place in the world, wherever that may be.

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a full mail box

I hadn’t been able to check my post office box for over a week. When I finally did, I found some wonderful surprises. I just love getting all this visual creativity in the mail! 

Okasdaskat sent me this rich red collage. I totally dig red. 



I also received this cool piece from Xtina Solano. I love how she put it together with staples and used painted paper scraps. 


I received three correspondances from the Good Mail Day call out as well. Carolee Wheeler sent me these fun photos from the 1970’s. And look, they have adhesive tape on the back!




PD sent me this cool envelope full of recycled stuff as a result of the Good Mail Day swap and Stephanie sent me some awesome collage materials as well. Thank you! I am looking forward to the challenge of using all of the materials I have received in postcards. 





I have been a bit out of control with joining swaps. I joined a quotecard swap on swap-bot and have received this card by Adrian Tomine and interesting quote. I haven’t seen the movie that the quote is from. 



I still need to send my three out. They will be handmade, of course. I wanted to wait and do them at home where I have many more materials to work with. I think that I have settled on the quote and will start them after this post. You have to send mail to get it after all!

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I have the back up phone again which means that it has now been a week since I have been home. My sweetheart came to see me on Sunday, but I have yet to see the cats. I miss them tremendously. I didn’t realize exactly how much their absence was affecting me until last night.

First of all, I need to be careful about going to the gym at 9:00 at night. I left VERY energized, hyper really, a little after 10:00. On my way home, I saw this little black cat on the side of a busy main road in an area with gas stations and U-Haul truck dealers, not houses. I found myself stopping to check on the little one and she came right up to me. She was black with a white belly and as cute and cuddly as a cat can be. She seemed healthy and taken care of but I wondered what she was doing alongside such a busy street. She had no tag. I picked her up and took her into the Texaco station where I was parked to see if the clerk recognized her. He didn’t but was very helpful and gave me the phone number for the University Vet Hospital since the Humane Society was closed. They were no help when I called and after leaving a few frantic phone messages with friends and colleagues, I decided to go to the police station.

I feel pretty comfortable in the police station. As a domestic violence and sexual assault advocate, I have spent a bit of time there. Plus, Pullman’s a small town. The woman at the front desk was very helpful and let the police know that if anyone reported the cat missing, I had her. I tried to figure out what to do since the woman I stay with when I am in town is allergic to cats. I debated sleeping in my car with the cat and taking her to the Humane Society in the morning. That would have been fun if the back up phone had rung that night and I would have had to have taken the cat to the hospital with me. I was trying to think this all through.

Thankfully, the animal control officer was there and eventually came to help. We checked to see if the little kitty was microchipped and she wasn’t. I wondered if I should go door to door to the houses and apartments in the area and try to find the kitty’s owner. We both laughed because doing this at nearly 11:00 at night would really make me into a crazy cat lady if I wasn’t already. After telling me that the stray cats were the reason there were so many coyotes in the area and that she had picked up quite a few dead cats that week, the officer proceeded to tell me that she thought that the best thing for the kitty was for me to take her back to where I found her and hope she found her way home.

I did drive back to the Texaco station and reluctantly stood outside with the kitty to see if she would find her way home. She eventually crossed the busy street and went into the garden of a law office on the other side of the street. I went over and she came out to rub my leg. I interpreted it as her telling me that she was OK.

As I drove home, I started thinking through the whole incident. I think that one of the reasons I became so concerned with the kitty is that I am desperately missing my own. We have three cats, Silver, Asha, and Maya. I was going to share photos of all three, but I am having technical difficulties with Silver’s photo. It figures. She can be a bit contrary herself. Asha is a small grey kitty and Maya is the round black ball that appears on many of my postcards.

I miss them so much. Luckily, I will see them tomorrow night!!

Now that you have met my kitties, the black cat on my postcards probably makes more sense. The crazy cat lady might as well share some Maya inspired postcards.

To GS:

To Bifidus Jones- front and back:

A cat mail art call:

To okadaskat’s purple call. It arrived minus Maya :(

Maya floated above and amongst fragile tags and inspection tape for Eduardo Cardoso,

among flowers and a chandelier for Rachel Fasig,

and more baggage labels for Samuel Montalvetti.

And, you may have observed from previous posts that I now have my own logo and an awesome recycle stamp en plus!

Maya has recently been spotted in pink as well. But, I will wait to share that with you.

I really need to get to the gym before it’s 9:00 again.

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As I tried to decide which of my postcards to share next, I got stuck on this alliteration. Politics and packaging it is!


I sent the following large postcard to the “World Without Water/Le Monde Sans Eau” mail art call. Some of you know that I have a bit of an issue with bottled water and the way that it is marketed. I encourage you to spend time reading the ridiculous messages on bottled water.


I also wanted to share more from my BP series. You can see the one that I made for the “No Oil in Abruzzo” call out here.

The first postcard that I made related to BP is a bit different from the rest of the series. I was consummed with Orwellian sarcasm when I sent this one to TF:

To Xtina Solano:

To KK:

To PT front and back:

And this last one went to RW:

These two are not part of a series. LS received “Sortons de la Prehistoire” and EA, the person who first introduced me to the concept of “Orientalism”, received the second.


I just love bubble wrap!!! To ET, EA, JT, LM, and SSC:

Clear plastic is fun too! TP and Super Aska received these:

I don’t think that I’ll ever get to share ALL of the postcards that I made this summer, but I am sure going to try!

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Nearly every time that I go to my post office box these days, I have mail! It is so exciting. Here are some of the recent surprises that I have received from people who I know as well as others who I have never met except through the mail.

The first two are from activist friends of mine.

And, I received some gorgeous photo collages from Rachel Freeman, an IUOMA friend.

Another local friend sent me this:

From fellow IUOMA member Art Tower in Germany:

Two of a friend’s little ones sent me these:

Two more friends sent these:

And, another IUOMA friend, Kris Naylor, sent me this amazing tea bag package postcard with little paintings inside!

Out of the blue, Coralette Damme, another IUOMA member sent me this:

And, last but not least Jennie Hinchcliff of Good Mail Day sent me this:

Mail art is so much fun. It’s going to be hard to stop in August when I start school.

Oh, and one more thing. I sent a postcard to the Spectacular Sights- Postcards from Places Yet to be Seen exhibit that will be taking place in Stockholm this August and now it is on their blog. Check it out here!

I’m off to get some excercise and then hopefully make a few postcards.

May you all merrily create,

mad madge

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trust the mess

I was struck with a pang of negative thoughts this weekend:

Your postcards are so unprofressional compared to other people’s “mail art.”

You are not an artist. You don’t even know how to use paint. “Real mail” art uses paint.

Your edges are ragged and sometimes you smudge your ink.

Your collages are simplistic. All you use is garbage.

There were many more, but these are a good sampling. The only reason that I am even devoting time to discussing my negative thoughts is because they weren’t even supposed to happen during my postcard making. This was supposed to be my way to unwind after working at a domestic violence and rape crisis center for the past year and to free up my head with visuals and my hands with texture before four or five years of heavy intellectual reading and writing.

I am very self-critical in my day to day life. The point was that I would have a space away from this where I didn’t care if I got into school, got a job, made an A, or got something published. This was supposed to be fun with no criticism allowed. It seeped in and I am mentioning it because I know that I am not alone. Plus, the self-criticism that we humans can put on ourselves is just BS. It slows us down, actually.

I think of the art that I am most drawn to and it is raw and often messy. It says how the maker is feeling, it experiments with materials, and most of all shows that the maker was not afraid to make a mistake. Sometimes this art is made by professional artists and sometimes not. “EL GRIT,”  a reaction to the destruction of the Gulf Coast by BP sent to me by a friend, is an example of something raw that was not created by a professional artist but as far as I am concerned is extremely powerful. I posted it here, but am reposting it because I want to look at it again.


I went digging for Sabrina Ward Harrison’s “The True and the Questions.”

Trust the mess, she says. Art isn’t meant to be pretty. It is meant to evoke. […] Trust yourself. Leave ripples.

I know she got this from somewhere but haven’t found where yet. Mary Oliver, perhaps? I even pulled out a list of quotes that my friend Goyo compiled when we were both human rights accompaniers in Guatemala and couldn’t find the reference. No matter. She is right. I, you, we need to “trust the mess.” And in so doing, it would be nice to “leave ripples.”

I have to send three postcards with quotes out to people via one of my many exchanges and so if you find any quotes that deal with mess and risk would you please send them to me? Pretty please???

He he. I have managed to get myself out of a rut through inspirational action. May this help any readers of this blog out of any negative thoughts that they are embroiled in too!

paz y solidaridad,

mad madge

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