If you have an invitation, click the link in the email to join. Or, why not create your own group?
INTRODUCTION TO IUOMA
Welcome to IUOMA – the International Union of Mail Artists. You are now part of a world-wide artistic community that was created in 1998. Currently it has almost 2000 members from around the world.
Newcomers to IUOMA sometimes find its scope and complexity a little intimidating to start with. It is not. It’s a friendly community of like-minded artists who are linked with each other and who participate in joint projects on an individual-to-individual basis or through IUOMA’s 125+ specialised Groups.
IOUMA is also a very democratic organisation. We are all equal, even though some of its members have been Mail Artists for 20 years or more, and you might have just joined 20 minutes ago. This doesn’t matter as you can establish links with as many or as few Mail Artists as you like, and participate in as many or as few projects that you choose. Don’t be shy, don’t be hesitant -- we are all Mail Artists together, and we all respect each other whether we are old or new hands at this Mail Art experience.
This 10-point Guide is intended to help you to find your way around IUOMA’s web-site and its members by setting out some simple things that you can do to now that you have become a member.
1. Start by looking at the Photos section of the web-site to get an idea of the type of Mail Art we are making and exchanging. Click on a photo to get an enlarged version of it. If you like, you can send the Artist a Comment as to why you find a particular piece of mail art interesting.
2. You’ll also find the name of the Artist there. Click on that name and you will be taken to the Artist’s IUOMA Home Page, where you will find some Profile Information that usually sets out in some detail why the artist is involved in Mail Art and contact details (including web-sites). Also on the Artist’s Home Page you will find a complete set of Photos posted in IUOMA and (on the left hand side of the page) any Blog Posts and Discussions that he or she has initiated.
3. IUOMA is all about exchanging Mail Art. If you’d like to exchange Mail Art with an Artist you have identified then Send (him or her) A Message, introducing yourself briefly, and asking if you can become IUOMA Friends. You will soon get a Message back saying something like, ‘Yes, let’s be Friends. Let’s exchange Mail Art’. Take it from there, build up a network of Friends and keep a close eye on your physical Mail Box as Mail Art from all over the world will soon start arriving in it.
4. And when you receive Mail Art it’s customary – and courteous – to acknowledge it by updating the ‘What Mail-Art did you receive today?’ box that appears at the top of your Home Page, and/or write a short ‘Thank you’ to the sender.
5. What you now need to do is to post some of your own photos on your My Page. This way your friends and friends-to-be will get an idea about the type of Mail Art that you are interested in. Also, revise and up-date your Home Page from time to time, as it serves as a combination of CV and visiting card for you.
6. Now that you’ve started the process of making Friends what you should do next is look at the Groups section of the web-site and identify some Groups that interest you. There are 125+ Groups in existence, covering all sorts of weird and wonderful subjects such as Arti-stamps, Postal History, Visual Poetry, Tombstones and PO Box Owners. (There are also Groups for French, German, Dutch and Spanish speakers). Click on the title of a Group and you will see from the Discussion Forum list the type of subjects that are being considered by each Group. If you’d like to join a Group, the process is very simple – just click on the Join... icon on the Group’s Home Page. Then you’ll be able to follow and contribute to the work of the Group, join in Discussions, and – again, don’t be shy! – start new Discussions.
7. And that is basically the two main things that you need to do to get started in IUOMA – exchange Mail Art with your Friends and participate in the work of the Groups. It’s a very democratic organisation. But there’s a lot more going on in and through IUOMA.
8. For example, read and follow the daily Blog Posts that appear on the left of the IUOMA Main Page. Another example – look at some of the Links on the right side of the Main Page: these will introduce you to a wide variety of sites and sources. To pick just one of these, look at the MAIL-ART projects where international Mail Art projects and exhibitions are promoted. You are an International Mail Artist and these projects provide you with the opportunity to have your works displayed to international audiences.
9. These Links, and this short Guide, may not answer all the questions you have. There are two other sources that you can turn to. The first is the Ask Anything Group run by The Founding Father and Today’s Leader of IUOMA, Ruud Janssen. The Group’s description says, ‘There are lots of basic questions on Mail Art that are often asked and answered. This Group might be the first place to look for answers.’ Ruud has been a Mail Artist since 1980 and has unparalleled experience: ask him a question (however simple you might think it is) and he will unfailingly give you an answer.
10. The second source is your very own IUOMA Mentor who will help you in whatever way he or she can to ease you into the IUOMA community. There are 12 Mentors, and yours is dependent on the month you joined IUOMA (see below).* If you have any questions at all about IUOMA, then ask your Mentor.
Finally, and when you’ve become integrated into IUOMA, you might like to Welcome New Members as they join – they are the most recent names listed on the Members Page. They are new to IUOMA as you once were – help them into the IUOMA community.
Happy International Mail-Arting!
Mentor(-s) of the Month:
February = Interim - Poison Label Productions
March = Boo Cartledge
April = Mim Golub Scalin
May = Interim Poison Label Productions
June = Val
July = Bifidus
August = Mim Golub Scalin
September = Interim Poison Label Productions
October = Poison Label Productions
December = Interim Poison Label Productions