Archive for January, 2012

Thanks to swap-bot, I tried collaging a few file folder envelopes. The swap asked for one, and I made four. I still have one to send from that batch. So, here are three of them.

To Lorena

To Alice Rabbit

To Elyse

Like everything else that I make, they are experiments. It was nice to have so much room to play on. My postcards are generally smaller. I still feel like I am developing my style. I’ve started art journaling so that I can experiment more and not worry about making something really ugly.

Working on my next batch of file folders now. The swap is to make file folder envelopes where all of the images come from one book. Of course, I have already made two and who knows how many more I will make before I am done.

My application is in by the way.

hasta pronto,


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a personal pep talk

This is a card I received from Stewart Charlebois. I like the forward thinking look the young girl has. Full of hope and potential for the new year and years to come.

Hope and potential are feelings that I have been struggling with this month. As some may know, until last May I was in a Ph.D. program. Well, officially I’m still in it; but I am not sure I am going back. While I was doing fine academically, funding was a nightmare with our state’s current budget crisis. I became very deflated and depressed when I couldn’t find funding despite my skills and experience and decided to take time off to think through my path.

This is a card that I received from Helen Amyes. I think it represents my feelings of deflation pretty well.

One of the options that opened up was to get the credentials to teach ESL. I am trilingual and have spent a good deal of my life abroad or working with people from other countries. It is a world that I am comfortable in. I met with a wonderfully warm professor who encouraged me to apply to the program.

And now the application is due in a week and I have been working on the essays for a month, at a snail’s pace. There have been moments where I wonder if I really want to go through with it. I am realizing that much of this may be fear of once again finding myself putting my heart and soul into a dream only to find that my path is blocked. I don’t know if I have the energy to go through this all the time. I would rather collage, journal, and make mail art.

But, I have to at least try, right? Put myself out there, get this application done, and then go back to my visual creating.

Here I go. Next time I post, I will have the whole application done and handed in. Wish me luck!

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jerry’s map

I just discovered Jerry Gretzinger’s work. I love how his mind works and how the project has grown and changed over time. I also love the use of the altered playing cards to help him choose what direction to go next.

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Look at what was in my mail box the other day.

Kris Naylor did it again. Last year she gave me little tea bag wrappers taped together to form an envelope sized rectangle, each with a little painting inside. You can see it here.

Now I need an explosion of creativity to get me to sit down and write two essays that I need to get done for something that I am applying for. They aren’t hard essays; but for some reason, I am dragging my feet.

Oh those dreaded “shoulds!”

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The International Union of Mail Artists (IUOMA) is a group that I always go back to. It is an international group of people who like to exchange art through the mail. I like it because I get mail from all over the world and I feel comfortable sending my experiments to other members. There are no ratings like on swap-bot, no accountability if you don’t send something back. Most people do send something back though, on their own schedule, which works for me.

Angie organized a New Year Cat swap on IUOMA and I participated. There were eight of us and I am still waiting for some of my cat mail. I will post what I received when I receive most, if not all of them. Mine are done and have started arriving at their destinations and so I feel comfortable sharing.


The cat is my dear Maya. The images of her are contact paper transfers. It would be fun to make a carved block of this image to print.

This time, I experimented with textured wall paper and paint. After awhile, I found that it was easiest dabbing a light amount of paint on my finger and lightly passing it over the raised areas. Later, I added color with watercolor crayons. I did decide that I like working with inks and watercolor crayons more than with acrylic paint. I may try to make washes out of the acrylic paint that feels more like the consistency of ink. Has anyone tried this?

I hope you are having fun making,


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a cleansing

The partner of one of my coworkers is Japanese. Every year before the first of the year, they do a major cleaning of the whole house and every CD is dusted, every window washed. Inspired by this idea, I did the same thing on a much smaller scale. I cleaned my workspace. I dusted, reorganized, consolidated, recycled, and even threw some things away. It is a nice and much more organized space now.

I like to come in at night and light candles at my little altar with mail art hanging to inspire. I have a few projects that I am working on and will post shortly once they are in the mail.



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welcome 2012

Generally speaking, we regard discomfort in any form as bad news. But for practitioners or spiritual warriors- people who have a hunger to know what is true- feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.

-Pema Chödrön

2011 was a difficult year for me. I had been focused on a dream and was working hard to fulfill it, but was finding that external forces were making this dream difficult to achieve. I blamed myself. I experienced cycles and mixed feelings of disappointment, embarrassment, anger, depression, shame, low self-esteem as well as a good amount of negative self talk. I took a leave of absence from my PhD program to sift through my feelings and to be in an environment where I had the support that I needed. I felt like I had been intensely focused on a goal and a large gust of wind had come and knocked me off my path. I was left on the side of the road, goalless and with no plan.

All of my collaging and mail art has been so helpful to me. It has given me the opportunity to be creative and make art again as well as find a creative community with whom I can share.

Entering into 2012, I will continue making. I feel that I am just beginning to allow myself to see all that the moments of 2011 were teaching me. I have no plan except to be open to going to those uncomfortable places within myself and sitting with them, perhaps even befriending some of them along the way.



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