Somewhere in the recent past in Seth Apter's Studioscapes Project, I found a reference on one of the featured artist's blogs to a Mail Art Tribute contest for Nick Bantock. I jumped at the chance and I'm glad I did when I did, because there were only two days left for submitting mail art when I discovered the contest and read the rules.
Several months ago (see my post of September 2nd, PFF #27), Seth had also presented a Freebie contest for those folks who commented on one of his posts. The post was called the Book Guild and was a listing of favorite books of over 150 artists, myself included. The prize was a signed copy of a book called Good Mail Day, by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan-Wheeler, plus a piece of Mail Art by Jennie herself. A most excellent book judging by the title, and I would have dearly loved to have acquired an autographed copy for my slim library, which includes every book that Nick has authored except for one - the Capolan Artbox. I was a bit down in the dumps when I discovered I hadn't won the book (Have YOU ever won anything?), and I put the book purchase on the back burner.
While Christmas can always be considered a Good Mail Day, in my case, my oldest sister (Penny) and youngest (Judy) collaborated (and probably conspired as well) to purchase a copy for me as a Christmas gift. I devoured it. Plenty of really neat ideas, some labels and cards to be used, and at least one really helpful hint for me which I had not considered using - a sewing machine with no thread in it to be used to create perforations for your own stamps. Up to this point, I'd been making due with an Xacto blade, which doesn't result in the same type of perforation, and I'd never really been happy with this method.
To see the results of my Tribute Entry, visit A Tribute to Nick Bantock Mail Art. My piece garnered third place, page three in the book to be published, and a copy of the book to put in my library. The piece displayed on the web site doesn't include the removable label which was hiding the number that needed to be included as one of the criteria for valid entries to the contest. The piece is not entirely my own art work, but I did do Nick's initials in Gold Leaf, I used several pieces of ephemera I'd obtained from Mary Green, a chop I'd made myself from an eraser, and a couple of stamps. I also used a reprint of a piece of old paper that I'd put a parrot on (The Parrot Confectionery), and a not-so-old playing card which I'd found on the street - all perfect elements for a piece of Nick Bantock Mail Art.
I don't know where the mail art avenue is going to lead me. Mail art is primarily exchanged artist to artist, although I've been selling some of mine along the way. My envelope art was selling off the wall in a local gallery over twenty years ago, and although I'm no longer associated with a gallery, I continue to mat and frame some of it because people want it and enjoy it. I am going to do another piece of mail art for the Quick Finish event at the Western Heritage Artists show in Great Falls in March, but that's the subject of future posts as we get closer to showtime.
If you like the view here, take the time to visit Beth Niquette at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for more inspiring, colorful, witty, wacky mail art and postcard images for Postcard Friendly Friday!