This time of year, it is we craftspersons--knitters and quilters and other artisans--who start to get a little shock of realization that we better get crackin' if we want to finish projects before the high winter holidays. There are sweaters or hats or mittens or socks to knit, or wall hangings or new baby blankets to finish piecing and batting together. It's a crazy time of furious fingers and stitches flying off needles. Even more maddening, I have multiple family members with birthdays that all seem to crowd around the winter holidays--I gratefully was able to finish a sweater vest for my little nephew whose birthday was last week. It's a good thing he's such a little pipsqueak, 'cause such a small sweater was a lot easier to pull-off in time.
Anyway, it is therefore very much appreciated that other fiber artists would spend this time of year to create some amazing mail art to send to me, despite the pressures of the season!
Boo Cartledge sent me a fun Halloween-inspired design. It is really too cute to be called scary though! A blue and purple spider has spun a stringy blue web over his hoard of candy corn:
Halloween is the perfect holiday for Boo... Is "BOO!" Boo's signature on an amazing little piece of art, or is it an exclamation of fright meant to scare away hairy blue and purple spiders? Maybe it's both! It's a wonderfully fun piece that made me grin and was wonderful to touch. Thanks Boo!
And Amy Irwen, who has been so creative lately, blessed me with a nautical-themed mail piece. This work was sewn up in a plastic sheath and came through the mail as-is without need of any envelope, so the artwork was its own postal vessel.
The address side was on a board of marble-ized design and--what'dya know!--a "LIAM TRA" stamp!
The other side uses a stitched and quilted print pattern of yardarms and booms, masts and sails. This piece was fun for me because I have recently been re-reading some favorite childhood books by British author Arthur Ransome--the Swallows and Amazons series, which is about a groups of small children who have sailing adventures on a lake in eastern Britain whenever they go on family holiday. The books are tremendous fun, and I just finished the third book in the series--Peter Duck--wherein the children have adventures on the high seas (all the way to Crab island in the Caribbean!) to find treasure and avoid the murderous perils of the pirate Black Jake. The antiqued photo featured in Amy's postal artwork could be a picture of Uncle Jim (Captain Flint) and the old salt, Peter Duck, from the story. The miniature knitted watchcap could be the headgear of Captain Nancy of the sailing dinghy--I mean sailing SHIP--of the Amazon!... well, it's amazing when one's correspondents are so prescient as to send artwork that "fits" one's life, isn't it? Amy titled the piece "Brothers," and that fits, too, since my brother and I have had adventures this past summer--mostly keeping an eye on two little swashbucklers of his own...
More of both Boo's and Amy's terrific fiber/textile pieces can be seen in the Fiber Artists and Mail Art Group of the IUOMA site. You should check them out!
Jen Staggs is also a member of that group, and her latest piece deserved recognition in this textile-themed blog. Her large carved linocut depiction of a woman's corseted figure is not only well-executed, but historically topical. It was traditionally whale bone that was inserted into elongated pockets of the woman's corset that helped to keep it's rigid shape and constrict women's abdominal and waist shapes. (Ouch!) Jen has made the image's historicity more prominent by imprinting the image on an actual historical register. My particular copy notes that L.P. Worth purchased a pair of slippers on June 2, 1913 for the price of $2.50. However, it does appear that on June 3rd, Mr. or Mrs. Worth returned the same slippers for an equitable amount. On the reverse side of the piece, Miss Bessie Wilison purchased "Ox" on June 5 1912 for $3.50. One wonders if "Ox" was maybe Ox bone for soup, or some other cut of meat, or if "Ox" is shorthand for something else. Facinating. A treasure, Jen...