One of the things I like best about mailart is that it isn't just one thing, and the only one who sets the rules is the USPS and ourselves. There's always something new to fiddle with. Or, I can forget about it for a few days and fit in a nap somewhere. Tonight I started to paint some envelopes that I'm recycling for a 'bad poetry' mail-out. After about the third mess, I stopped and just thought about it for a minute. I realized I really didn't want to do it. I wanted to create, but I was just too tired. So I quit for tonight. Tomorrow will probably be different, but for tonight I just left it.

Monday I will be sending out, among other things, a big poster size/quality flyer about the St Croix Valley Pottery Tour. It will be a pretty terrific event in southern Minnesota. Some of the potters have studios up north here where i live, so they are familiar to me. I won't be able to go, but the poster/flyer is really nice, so I used washi tape to attach a note and a few things to the inside of the folds, washi-taped it closed again, and fixed it for mailing out. I hope the person who gets it is able to go on the Tour, but even if not, it will be a cool thing to get in the mail -- it was for me when it arrived here. One of the things I taped inside was a "bad poetry" poem, but otherwise I didn't make art for it. And it will still be mailart, see?

There are a lot of things that mailart can be. I've been know as an artist most of my life, and that's good in one way because it saves explaining, but difficult in another. For some reason, people expect an artist to always be 'artistic'. Just what that means is probably different from person to person, but to me it means that people's expectations of me are usually pretty high. Too high. If performance is always an issue, where is the fun? Mailart, for me, is fun. I can make art that is clunky or goofy or bewildering, and it will be ok. I can make flowers or 'pretty' things that no one will mistake for serious art. I can experiment and do poorly with my experiment and it just doesn't matter. NOBODY CARES! And that's one thing I love most.

Sometimes I can only look through the main photo gallery, making comments on some of the art that's coming and going, because I have to postpone making art myself. But that still keeps me in touch with the folks here. The photo gallery is an opportunity to see some of what others are doing, and to express appreciation for some of what I see.

Mailart isn't just one thing, and the IUOMA isn't just one thing, either. I hope that both are a great source of happy for you.

Hugs, Linda

P.S. I now love running camels.

instalaugh:HAHAHA camels running are my new favorite thing I could watch this forever

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Comment by Linda French on April 20, 2015 at 6:30am

Oh Bhomas, Bhomas, I feel your pain and horror.

Comment by Thomas Brown on April 20, 2015 at 6:00am

i make sloppy mail art sometimes and i am ashamed. i made some tonight. there were some errors. i feel horror. i thirst for purity. I have an unquenchable thirst for purity. lol. what?

Comment by Heleen de Vaan on April 19, 2015 at 10:32pm

Thank you very much, Linda, for your further explanation. I love to read thoughts about mail art (as I do love mail art :-) )  so thank you for all your food for thought!

Comment by stan askew on April 19, 2015 at 10:22pm

 Linda ... thanks for your recent visit to my page and for making the time to share your thoughts and observations regarding mail art. LOVE the camel video, and i very much appreciate Katerina and Heleen's comments, as well.

Comment by Linda French on April 19, 2015 at 6:53pm

I should have mentioned that anyone who does think mailart isn't real art hasn't ever looked at the main photo gallery. Right all?

Comment by Linda French on April 19, 2015 at 6:48pm

Oh Heleen and Katerina! I look back and see that what i wrote is both unclear and incomplete. I agree with both of you, just did  not express myself well/completely. Let me try to fix it.  :)  

I believe that mailart is real art, and as an artform, it's serious art. What I intended to convey is that there is a lightheartedness in mailart that lacks the stuffiness of "conventional" art. It also breaks the barrier of art and formal correspondence by being accessible to anyone who cares to participate. Since it is also an expression of generosity (or maybe it should be?) judgement is at least partially, if not wholly, suspended. 

I always want my mailart to be enjoyed, whether it's 'art' or 'craft' or just 'hi.' It's the doing of it that is art. If the piece produced is art, too, that's a real bonus. Personally, I also think most of our mailart is real art. And maybe all of it is. But the engagement in the process and the extension of ourselves going out into the world through mailart, that is, to me the true art. No matter the skill or the vision. We all just voluntarily contribute to the body of work called mailart. 

For now, I think that 'craft' and 'art' are only separated by a very thin, often blurred, line, and I think I should give that more thought before I say more about it.  LOL!

Thank  you for your comments. They are so welcome to me.    --Linda

Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on April 19, 2015 at 3:39pm

'Love that running camel...gives a great smile for today! :-)

Thanks Linda!

Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on April 19, 2015 at 11:07am

'Have to agree with Heleen! Every piece on mail art in the mailbox is art...

"no jury" :-)

It is not"cr*p", it is not "sloppy", it is not "bad"...IT IS!

and someone made it, created it...digitally even, or photocopied,

or an original painting,collage, montage, print, artistamp, boekie, TLP,ATC, add 'n pass, etc.,etc. etc.

Each piece, just to add the postage stamp and address and SEND it in the mail= MAIL ART!

(and very well appreciated by my postman and me :-)

Keep making...keep sending!

Comment by Heleen de Vaan on April 19, 2015 at 11:02am

(And if someone's intention is creating craft, and sending the mail as craft, then it is craft. And that is o.k., too.)

Comment by Heleen de Vaan on April 19, 2015 at 10:56am

Nice blog, great camel :-)

The people who have too high expectations of you as an artist (and/or whom you accept to have too high expectations) have forgotten that they are artists themselves, too.

I agree with what Picasso said: Every person was born an artist. The hard thing is to maintain this once grown up.

Mail art indeed is fun, sure :-)

However I have to disagree that mail art also is 'making things that no one will mistake for serious art'. To me each mail art made with serious intentions (to be sent as art, not craft) is serious art. Maybe people around us are not ready yet, or have lost the ability, to see the art within (similar to the surrounding people's reactions in times of CoBrA art, pop art, dada etc), but if we ourselves consider it art, it ís Art.

And of course we care, of course it does matter (we = the receiver, and in case of colourful envelopes in which the stamp is hard to find, the post company cares), we are artists, not 'nobody'.

But you'll probably mean that in mail art we can show our real free inside. Being an autonomous, real free artist :-)

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