Monday, December 10, 2012

Parcel Ghost's Guide to Post: a new zine about mail!

Originally conceived as a means for teaching young mail-art makers about the rules of the post office, the Parcel Ghost quickly took on an afterlife of his own. In the Parcel Ghost's Guide to Post, the friendly spirit (who used to work for the post office when he was alive) shares his knowledge about mail practices and particulars, and tells some stories about his adventures and mail he's sent and received. This zine is intended for mail lovers of all ages.

Get a copy for yourself and your mail-loving friends HERE

The Parcel Ghost has started a tumblr about his mail and adventures HERE

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mail Call class at BEAM camp

For a week this summer, I was a guest instructor at BEAM camp in New Hampshire. It's a sleep-away camp way out there in nature, specializing in innovation and building and making things happen, a very cool place to be. I was there to teach two art classes, the first of which was Mail Call, designed to teach kids all about mail and mail art (not male art, as I keep having to explain). The idea was that I'd show the kids some examples of mail art, point them toward a pile of supplies, and then set them loose to create their own weird things to send to friends and family back home. I managed to snap some photos of the kids' work before all the postcards and letters were mailed.

I purchased some antique-style cat stickers recently and they proved to be one of the most popular supplies in the art barn. Everyone had to make a cat postcard! Yes, everyone. The kids also really liked the washi tape, decades-old Pantone swatch book, and rubber stamps from the supply box.

More postcards by various artists. Note that the cat sticker on the card in the lower left corner is saying "Please love me Aidan!" I hope Aidan received this postcard and chose to love that beautiful, mysterious cat admirer. The kids also enjoyed using typewriters for their mail projects.

Nature postcards made of collected nature in cellophane bags

A kid made this postcard of lace and the dictionary definition for "gentle"

On the last day of class, the plan was to teach the kids to carve erasers into custom rubber stamps. But when the day arrived, we couldn't find the knives anywhere. We ended up making do with the one x-acto I'd brought from home and a couple of craft knives we found in the office. "Please, please just watch out for your fingers," I said, giving a lesson on knife safety before the kids got started "And please don't lean your face in quite so close while I'm carving. Please." I said a little prayer for no lost fingers and no poked eyes, and then let them go to it.

Eraser carving was going great! Kids were sharing materials, waiting patiently for use of one of the knives, asking for help carving some of the tiny details. And then the lights went out. Yes. Thirteen of us (me, my assistant, and eleven campers) sat in the dark as much of camp lost power. "Just keep working!" I chirped, trying to keep a cool exterior. Carving erasers was my backup plan, the final structured activity I had planned for these kids, and it wasn't safe to have them wielding knives in the dark. We'd have to do something else. Sure, I could improvise something, but in the dark? That made it a little more tricky. "Hey, can we carve on the porch?" one of the kids asked. Great idea! So half of us went out to the porch, finding that the floor of the porch was mostly dry enough to sit on. We sat out there, working on our stamps, when someone had the excellent idea to tell ghost stories, because that's what you do when the power goes out. I had a chance to tell my most favorite ghost story, which the kids deemed "creepy but also nice." By the end of the afternoon, we had many stamps to show.

Eggplant by a counselor; all others kid-made!

When I got home from camp, I made a stack of camp-inspired postcards in thanks to the mail artists who sent us interesting, beautiful, or mysterious mail at camp. It's amazing that how many people are willing to share their time and their creations to keep the art form going! Many thanks go out to Angela J., Christine N., Linda W., Jacque D., Aaron J., Pamela G., Billie Jo S., and Judith M. Check your mailboxes soon!

Special thanks, also, to my friends at the Letter Writers Alliance for multiple mails including the pigeon, to Superdilettante for excellent mail, and to Virginia and Leah for stationery donations. Please stay tuned for a post about what we made in my other class!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zine Talk 6/27, open to the public

Next Wednesday, 6/27, I'll be presenting a bit about my zine-making history and how my formal education in journalism and design influenced my ongoing perzine publishing. Alana Kumbier will be talking about zines and libraries and building community. Papercut Zine Library will be there. It should be an excellent evening. Thanks to the Somerville Arts Council for the opportunity.

For more info, click here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Somerville Open Studios 4/5-4/6

Why come to see me at Somerville Open Studios on May 5 and 6? I'll tell you why:

1. Zines! It's a common theme in all my work this year, and at open studios you can purchase my zines, including the recently-published Inspirado. You can also see what goes into making a zine, as I'm planning to work on a new one during open studios. You can also find out more about my upcoming zine event with the Somerville Arts Council. Tell me about the zine you used to make in college! Zine talk: let's do this.

2. New things! I'm working on a few new things, one of which is a series of small pieces that are a combination of painting, collage, and drawing. Right now I'm referring to them as Conversation Pieces and if you come to open studios you'll see why. Mysterious!

3. Buttons! If you come to open studios and mention reading this blog, I'll give you a Miss Sequential button AND a high-five. Don't miss it!

4. A new space! Previous years I had open studios at my house, but not this year. While I still do my work in my home studio, my friends at the Washington Street Art Center have invited me to show my work with them, because they are great. The WSAC has about 20 working artists, and so if you stop by and see me, you can also the the work of these excellent people. Excellent!

5. Buddies! Greatest (to me) of the great WSAC crew is my friend Megan Mary, who, as you may recall, wrote/illustrated Inspirado with me. Megan Mary makes some incredible cut paper art that you will enjoy. See us both making art and talking about art! See us drink tea or seltzer! It will be like you are LIVING THE ZINE. I don't know if there's anything else to say about that.

See you then!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

New zine alert: INSPIRADO

This zine is a collaboration with my friend and fellow Somerville artist Megan Mary Creamer.

Inspired by the art chats we have over tea at a local cafe, this zine takes the form of one of our conversations, showing each of our perspectives on several topics related to our art and process. The layouts feature both of our work, so you can see the results of the processes we discuss.

This zine is printed in black and white with a limited edition cardstock cover silkscreened with blue metallic ink.

5.5 inches x 7.5 inches, 16 pages. Awesome.

Available now online, available locally at the Somerville Open Studios 5/4-5/6.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Spring Zine Thing! And more zine events!

There's just one week until Spring Zine Thing, a mini zine fair/party I'm co-hosting with Megan Mary Creamer at the Washington Street Art Center in Somerville. That's plenty of time to make that zine you've been talking about, or gather together your dollars to buy someone else's! The Spring Zine Thing runs from 2-6pm, hope to see you there.

But that's not all! Here are a few other zine-related things I'll be up to in the next few months:

Somerville Open Studios is on May 5 and 6 this year, and this year I'm lucky to be showing my work with my friends at the Washington Street Art Center. I'll have zines for sale, some other work, and a few things I don't even know about because they are not yet finished. It should be a great time, and there is a ton of great work to check out at the WSAC.

Somerville Arts Council has been running a series of salon talks about various art media/processes since the start of the year, and on June 27th I'll have the floor to talk about zines! I'll be talking a little bit about my zine-making history and how, as a long-term perzine publisher, my recent work has been shaped by my journalism and design training. My co-presenter is Alana Kumbier, who will be talking about how zines can help build communities around libraries and archives, based on her experience with zine-librarianship at Wellesley College and her participation in the Queer Zine Archive Project. Special thanks to Tim Devin who is organizing the event!

Monday, March 12, 2012

New zine! Miss Sequential's Sketchbook

Yes! A new issue of Miss Sequential! Awesome! This issue is called Miss Sequential's Sketchbook, and is a collection of comics and drawings on no particular theme, except maybe the theme of I Drew Them All. The comics are a combination of real happenings, things that happened in dreams, and things I imagined, which is kind of fun. It's 28 pages of good stuff that you will enjoy, and you can get a copy HERE.

Also: If you live in Chicago and missed the Chicago Zine Fest this past weekend (bummer dude), you can purchase a few issues of my zines at Quimby's, which is incidentally one of my favorite shops in the entire universe. Truth.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New mini zine: Things I Should be Doing

I started working on this mini zine at a comics workshop at Ladyfest Boston and lo and behold, it took on a life of its own once I brought it home and added some security envelope and typewritten details. You can get a copy from my shop.

Also, let it be known that this was a warm-up project for a new issue of Miss Sequential, which will be taking shape in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!