Many of you would laugh to see me sitting here on my sofa, typing this blog, SURROUNDED by mail art in layers and piles on every remaining inch of the upholstery that my butt is not taking up. I wanted to make sure that I had it all nearby as I tried to describe it.  I am having to use Nancy Bell Scott's recent invention of the "Blog Jam," which is, I think, an iteration of a tool used by Cheryl Penn in the past, and undoubtedly by others who've been overwhelmed by the blessing of mail art in our lives.  Not wanting to COMPLETELY infringe on Nancy's copyright, I have added my own--somewhat less classy (moins classé??  declasser??) moniker, though I don't want anyone to think that it implies any sort of regurgitation of the facts...  These are all first-person impressions and musing on some fantastic received mail art...

First up, because I loved it, and because it visually describes a state of mind to which I am wholy sympathetic and empathetic, is Jack's self protrait: Fluxus Identity.  I think it perfectly illustrates the state of having MAIL ART ON THE BRAIN ALL THE TIME:

Jack [of Cascadia Artpost]--fellow Seattle-ite!!--also included some of his amazing artistamps on the reverse side of the piece, that depicted similar self portraits.

Hope she won't think that I'm sticking my neck out to pay a compliment--because it's always WELL DESERVED, but Svenja Wahl (Germany) sent a fly-by postcard that gave me a BIG smile.  "Don't ask," she says on the card back... "I just thought of you while making this one!!"

(GET IT??... "Sticking my NECK OUT???  Somebody send me a laugh track, or a new joke writer; I'm dyin' here!!)

Eduardo Cardosa (Portugal) sent a surprise mailing with LOTS of goodies included.  The envelope said "Strange Matter; Anomaly; Paranormal" but it's hard to intimidate a mail artist fanatic with an insatiable appetite for opening sealed envelopes.  

So open it I did; and was not disappointed:Eduardo is a member of the Trashpo group, and I'd put some of this squarely in that category.  But he's also a master of embellishing his art with a distinctive personal style:  the confluence of collage element images and words/numbers; sigilistic line drawings; the overlay of color medium--which I think is often multiple layers of crayon rubbings over various textures (a beautiful art in and of itself--evoking death masks, memorials, and remembrances/souvenirs. I used to be fascinated by the people who would make the long journeys into the hidden valleys and wilderness of my native state of Vermont, who came all the way to search out our ancient, colonial-era graveyards, and do rubbings of the elaborate carved gravestones as momentos of their ancestors.)

There was also a piece of cerealism that would've made DVS jealous--just about the size of an ATC, in Portugese: "8 Vitaminas!  Ferro e Cálcio!  Cerais Integrais!"

Karin Greenwood (South Africa) sent a response to a recent GOTIJ mailing I sent out. The envelope was beautifully stamped/printed with a fuscia-colored handmade design.  The card inside had a print of Karin's iconic figures/angels. This one included some [rather] asemic writing in the background, and HAND-PAINTED wings with a paint I have never experienced before... the paint shimmered like opals, or like a hologram in rainbow colors.  HOLY COW! Never have I seen such a paint.  Obviously, Karin has a secret alchemist paint supplier!!

Newish IUOMA member, Sarah Churchill (South Wales), sent a hand-sketched postcard from her recent holiday in Scotland.  LOVED that souvenir of your trip, Sarah!  I let her know that some of my fondest memories of travel were those times that I devoted some effort to either sketch or journal the experience--memories for a lifetime really. So how honored I am for you to have shared and sent a little piece of your trip to my mailbox--and for me to vicariously daydream about!

Do you know what my first thought was when I saw this sketch?  ..I thought you were sending me a sketch from the famous lake in Arthur Ransome's children's classic series Swallows and Amazons!  It's no secret that this series is one of my favorite reading experiences from my childhood, and the island in the background could totally be taken for Wildcat Island from the books!

...and the boats look surprisingly like a familiar dinghy from the series:

But the lake from the Swallows and Amazons series is in eastern England... not so near the Scottish lake region that Sarah was visiting.  It so happens by another coincidence that plans have been unfolding for a holiday of my own later this year, and Sarah was kind enough to provide some suggestions for sights and regions to see in Scotland.  I will now have to add those suggestions to my research...

 I'll hope to do some sketching and journaling of my own when that time comes--hopefully inspiring some great mail in the aftermath!!

Finally, I was the lucky recipient of the latest edition of Ryosuke Cohen's (Japan) Braincell #822.  GOTIJ Goat Cheese is now officially famous! (In yellow in the lower right-ish corner...) A great edition!

Thanks to one and all of you great artists!

More blogging gratitude to come...

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Comment by Thom Courcelle on May 3, 2012 at 7:50pm

HA, HA!!  Now Websters and the Heritage Dictionaries wilol have to add it to their lexicon!!

I'm glad you did it, 'cause mine surely would've spelled "GOLB MAJ!"

Comment by Nancy Bell Scott on May 3, 2012 at 4:10pm

BLOG JAM--it looks GREAT! Your stamps have such good style, Katerina.

Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on May 3, 2012 at 3:09pm


Blog Jam?

Blue Blog Jam? 

Zalop Blue Blog Jam?

Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on April 30, 2012 at 3:19pm

This is a great blog-jam / blog barf, Thom! Always enjoy seeing mail art all-together!

Someone wants hand-carved stamps of BLOG JAM and BLOG BARF ?????

 There is space available on some of my I gooooooo

Happy to see "GOTIJ Cheese" on Brain's Official ;-)

Comment by Svenja Wahl on April 30, 2012 at 7:34am

Love your blog, Thom, just made my day! Thank you!

Comment by De Villo Sloan on April 30, 2012 at 4:42am

Well Thom, "barf" is misleading as this blog has no additives, just high-octane mail-art from start to finish & your wonderful commentary to keep us company on the image highway.


"It's all good," as they say but I am thrilled to see some FANTASTIC new work here by Eduardo Cardoso. I think he was scare for a while. I've followed his work for almost two years now and in addition to what you write, I think of him as a smash of a visual poet and hope he stays with it. What you posted is some of the best yet, IMHO.


Really interesting comment you make about the tombstone rubbings. It's really very avant garde at the moment. David-Baptiste Chirot, hailed as being one of the true Fluxus artists of our time, does most of his work with chalk rubbings - he calls them "Rub-Beings," or something close to that; I apologize if I mangled it. He said in an interview he learned to do rubbings growing up in New England. He gets these amazing textures & images that makes his work really distinctive from anyone else. He does rubbings from the urban landscape.


Great one, Thom!

Comment by Sarah Churchill on April 30, 2012 at 2:52am
Thom, I could never have imagined the connotations of my little sketch for you, but it's really lovely to hear you enjoyed it so much. There must have been some Amazonian power at play when I chose this particular sketch for you!
Comment by Thom Courcelle on April 30, 2012 at 1:53am

Har, har!  THAT'S a true enough painted picture of me... I am one verbose bloggin' bastard when I get on a role... Maybe that's the difference between those two newly minted definitions... BLOG JAM = mostly pictures; more than 50% visual.  BLOG BARF = still a gratitude-laden roll call of a large number of recent acquisitions, but more than 50% textual.  Maybe?  As soon as someone makes hand-carved stamps of those two terms, it's official!!

Comment by Nancy Bell Scott on April 30, 2012 at 12:49am

Great blog barf, Thom, and you're most welcome to your new term. The first blogjam, with that title, separated itself from most other multi blogs by using 99% images and only 1% text. It was the only way at the time. And few of us could imagine you including only 1% text in a blog barf or any other kind of blog. I mean that in the best possible way, you dear! :--}  And it was hard enough for me, I admit!

Comment by Alicia Starr on April 29, 2012 at 11:05pm

yes, the d-kult stickers do carry the monkey virus. If only i followed the directions enclosed, 'adhere to buns', not the forehead as i did. Just couldn't talk my husband into being the guinea pig. Your blogs are funny, thanks.



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