RECEIVED: Fluxkit & Bagism from Claire Dinsmore (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA), Asemic Haptics from Christopher Skinner (Norfolk, UK) + Famous DVS-Planet Claire MinXus interview,

Contents of one bag from among about a half dozen in Fluxkit by IUOMA member Claire Dinsmore (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

August 30, 2012 I have already noted a recent trend in mail-art that involves sending scraps and unaltered, found material in lieu of making it into conventional art. This might be connected to an increased awareness of recycling via Trashpo and yet another variation on add-and pass. But for seasoned veterans, it also has an uncanny resemblance to those inexplicable Fluxus objects (often bagged) that once circulated in mail-art and forever circulate in the Eternal Network.

(See Alison Knowles for more on Fluxkits:

Claire Dinsmore (aka Cleo) confirmed my observation with a sensational package of bags stuffed with an amazing variety of content ranging from Trashpo to highly aesthetic materials rich in color, texture and suggesting haptic interaction. Claire is an accomplished, indeed professional, artist; however, I do not believe she intended to make a Fluxkit or reference Bagism. Yet in the context of mail-art, I believe that is exactly what she has done: A gathering of many different materials that invite the participant to actively interact with them.


Selected material from Fluxkit by Claire Dinsmore.

MinXus-Lynxus conducted an interview with Claire and posted it on our blog, and it generated considerable interest. Here is the entire interview for IUOMA friends, including passages not deemed appropriate at M-L.




DVS : Claire, I am very perplexed about some things. Don’t get me wrong. I REALLY like your work. But what is up with the retro thing?

DK picks up trash in the streets of Elgin & that’s what it looks like when you receive it. But you do this “Back to the Future” thing. It looks like Trashpo Charles Dickens would send, if Charles Dickens did Trashpo. It’s, maybe the dissociative is good. I don’t know. Now I know what a Fluxkit by Charles Dickens would look like.

Value is a slippery subject anyway, but what is the value in receiving a Fluxkit from Charles Dickens? Not in terms of monetary value, but in terms of a Victorian Fluxkit. Maybe it’s a good idea. I don’t know. Now I can imagine what DaDa would look life if it were made by people before DaDa was invented. Know what I mean?”


Claire Dinsmore: Retro?” hmm, “retro” signifies kitsch 50s/60s to me generally. but i suppose it can mean anything old. trash can often be old stuff, so not sure why that wld be odd…? when my trash is “retro,” its 80s-90s or new. the streets are absurdly clean here. the trash in the folios is usually packaging headed for the recycle or trash bin that i keep, or scraps from my work. I’ve been making books for over 30 years, and I can’t bear to throw any of the scrap away, no matter how tiny. I have boxes full of scraps. a lot of the papers are handmade, most Japanese, so unless Dickens collected Japanese paper… Must say, I think a Dickens/Victorian flux-kit sounds pretty damned cool though! An interesting thought I just had/realized – papermaking in Japan is an exceedingly old tradition, so I imagine some of those papers can have creative roots that go back 100s of years…?


DVS: So you're a Victorian DaDaist. I expected as much.

Then I am curious. What is the intent? I am supposed to make something from all the material? My reaction is whatever reaction I have and has little to do with your intent. But I am puzzling over the intent any way. It’s interesting. I will have to confront it and make some sort of meaning from it. Have you noticed? People are mailing art less and just sending material. Why is this happening?


Claire Disnmore: There is no intent. It’s a composition/construction, as it were. “Art for Art’s sake,” as they say… Or, it’s a kit (DK said it was like a trashpo toolbelt – lol!). You can use the stuff in the pockets if you want, or not…. It’s yours now, and up to you…. In this case at least, I would say the material is part of the piece – but isn’t it always anyway? “The media(/um ) is the message” mr mcLuhan – always indicative of choice, and (with)in that choice… (That’s how I construct my often over-the-top packages – everything is a significant element that contributes its voice, as it were, to the experience of the whole. That’s what art is to me: experience. If one can communicate that in the piece, the flavour/tone of the creative energy/impulse at work, then I feel the piece really “works.” The Experiential element, man!) When people send stuff/things, that entails choice, and thus, the creative. Ready-made/found-object fever? Cornell fever? I’ve noted that folks who dig collage are often object freaks too…the flea-market within! A nostalgic turn of mind…? Have to admit, I did not expect you (of all people – lol!) to distinguish it (apart) from “art!”


DVS: In MinXus-Lynxus, who has the best hair is as important as poetry and art. How would you rate your hair in comparison to Ezra Pound's during the era of Imagism?


Claire Dinsmore: Wow, that was unexpected - but cool (if i had known, i might have been more thought-ful(l!)/less off the cuff %_^ - Be that as it may...)

BTW, I am not at all new to mail art - I started in 1982, but it fell out of my life for decades...only recently starting up again. (via chance really - a surf which led me to Tictac's blog, and that to IUOMA. The rest is...)

The folio creation was rather unlike me actually - I was working on some stuff for DK at the time, and I wanted to create a celebration for her, as it were. I had just received a package from Japan & was taking the packing slip off the box to add it to my personal trash pile/hoard [an overflowing box by my desk for convenience), and suddenly the idea just popped into my head - this was a way in which we could (sort of) play together! I am often rather thoughtful about my work, and consider a lot. I usually design/sketch before creating also (metalsmith habit - one has to work it out technically for it to function.) This was immediate (and exceedingly quick for me). It's a toy really... Play! if you will...

ps: the copper is a scrap also. I love to cover things in my house in copper foil - especially as it ages & patinas & is marked w/ being worked...The color sends me, the odd's gorgeous with warmth in the half-light i prefer to exist in...

Aaanyway, thanks again...and: Enjoy! (btw, did you send my card? there's something one's supposed to sign I believe...?)


DVS: You must have been an infant when you started in mail-art. Karen Champlin sent Ray Johnson her cereal boxes before she learned to write. Would you consider sending one of your old shoes to Dark wall?


Claire Dinsmore: O/curious: [in the blog] why pictures of some of the elements, but not the piece itself (the whole construction is - it)? (signed: cap'n, obvious)


DVS: Leave it to Claire-voyant to critique the critic: (1) By strategically "quoting" parts of the work, I can provide some sense of the whole. If I'm writing about "Moby Dick," I'll probably select key passages rather than reproduce the whole book. (2) I STILL haven't gotten my camera working, and I couldn't have scanned all of it.


Claire Dinsmore: Paranoid darling? (note: larf here) nope, not my usual polemics/wasn't critiquing cher, just curious as to what, particularly, impelled your choices...? I mean come on, that's an ex. of the "interactive" intent at work - how could it not stir my curiosity, oui?! %_^ For me, it was an interesting new way to look at it actually, and, as I sd., made me curious... Some of the pockets contained definite choices re separate elements (interesting: the top one you chose for instance, yet I don't even remember enclosing the draft of the poem. rather apropos though, as it's about the creative...); others filled as they were because of the look of the grouping. The filler sometimes arbitrary, in others I wanted to enclose a certain piece I wanted to share the particular beauty of...)(and that wasn't always easy, lemme tell ya! some of these beauties I've had for 30 years, and small scraps are all that's left, thus they're often quite "precious" to me...) Aaaanyway, I truly enjoyed your blog mon ami (and was flattered, indeed) - thanks again De Villo!

And don’t forget to visit Planet Claire:


Haptic & Asemic Writing from Christopher Skinner (Norfolk, UK)


Mail-art by IUOMA member Christopher Skinner (Norfolk, UK)

MinXus-Lynxus USA is thrilled to acquire this wonderful, framed piece containing Christopher Skinner’s asemic symbols and artwork. Although new to mail-art (we discovered him at Yo Ma),  he is an accomplished artist and craftsman who produces artist’s books and is sending beautiful, assemblage-type pieces (very similar to Claire Dinsmore’s) to appreciative recipients across the globe. Christopher is of an aesthetic school rather than anti-art, although he seems to dabble in a higher type of Trashpo from time to time.


Here is a link to an excellent, pre-mailing photo of this work courtesy of Christopher at His IUOMA gallery:


As the scan (above) reveals, Christopher Skinner’s exquisite and delicate piece suffered on its journey through the postal system. These chance changes are, however, considered part of the creation of mail-art. Christopher also used wax to gain an impressionist effect, and that is flaking also. This (slight) deterioration of the work makes me think of Erni Baer (Hamburg, Germany) and Nancy Bell Scott (Maine, USA) who are fascinated with disintegrating art objects, especially metals well along in the rusting process. Also John Held Jr.’s mail-art call in conjunction with the San Francisco Quarterly involves work that is decomposing. Here is the reverse side of Christopher Skinner’s piece:


A very interesting narrative has been interjected.


Christopher Skinner sends wonderful envelopes and stamps. Note the interesting card he included on the right. He seems to be a master of printing. Time for your close-up:

And here is a reverse view of the envelope and card:

We are so pleased to have Christopher Skinner’s work. Dw is rummaging through the Mink Ranch Gift Shop seeking an appropriate response. And make sure to take a tour of more work by clicking below:




"No! I prefer MinXus!"



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Comment by Claire (aka Cleo) on September 3, 2012 at 12:06am


Comment by De Villo Sloan on September 2, 2012 at 10:27pm

GateCrash: Twister

Comment by Claire (aka Cleo) on September 1, 2012 at 10:17pm

lol - what a treasure trove you must have! ever think of opening a museum? (bad word/concept huh?)

Comment by De Villo Sloan on September 1, 2012 at 6:02pm


Comment by Claire (aka Cleo) on September 1, 2012 at 8:41am

"For my mink conducts the bandaged orchestra with his tail." O my what a delicious line! Sounds automatic... Such a (folk) lore you've created mon cher! I must learn more of the annals of Minxus...

Comment by Claire (aka Cleo) on September 1, 2012 at 8:38am

ha ha ha! are you laughing at me now DVS? when i get excited, my manic self often kicks in & good luck shutting me up!

Comment by De Villo Sloan on September 1, 2012 at 2:48am

Oh, yes Claire. The Tangerine Oncoming is a MinXus-Lynxus thing based on Dw's visionary poem "Mink of the Tangerine Oncoming" & related to the cosmic meatwheel vision that has some connection to Kerouac's "Mexico City Blues." It involved some a view of the future & turned up a lot during Solar Festival 2012, which is over. A line from the poem is:

"For my mink conducts the bandaged orchestra with his tail."

to give you a flavor of the thing.

Probably enough said on that one.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on September 1, 2012 at 2:41am

This is where comment streams are invaluable. Thank you, Christopher.

I am guilty of slack as well. I didn't dig into The Voynich Manuscript when I first saw the reference Christopher provided. That is a most amazing addition to the canon. 

I hope all asemic writers - and Yo Ma has many - take note of this treasure.

(And many thanks to co-host Claire live in Pittsburgh for the ongoing commentary.)

Comment by Claire (aka Cleo) on August 31, 2012 at 9:33pm

Wonderful: "...meaning can be derived despite direct formal communication,..." Beautiful, and I utterly agree - therein lies Magic, as it were. And thanks for responding Christopher - even though more of the roots have been elucidated, the sense of delicious mystery in the piece remains...And: I have no doubt you've still a plethora of equal magic within you... You have found a receptive audience indeed - We await! ^_^ (Yes, "Magic" is a word which indeed suits your creations cher!)

Comment by Christopher Skinner on August 31, 2012 at 9:11pm

Ok I'm here. I have been a bit busy of late and have been slacking with all sort of things. Sorry.

For the record DVS, the asemic calligraphy is taken directly from The Voynich Manuscript - an ancient and  mysterious incunabulum that is filled with the most exquisite calligraphic script in a language that has never been deciphered, and unfathomable drawings of unidentifiable plants and aquatic maidens. There is as much mystery in its origins (many claim it to be a hoax) whilst others have devised elaborate and unlikely tales of its origin. You can view the entire book in PDF here

I am fascinated by writing systems, lettering and typography, signs, symbols and codes. My asemic work stems directly from this. I like how meaning can be derived despite direct formal communication, as well as exploring the perversion of the accepted conventions associated with specific types of written communication.

I am very humbled by the positive comments about my work and and am glad that they found a receptive audience.

I just hope I haven't 'peaked'.



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