In the steady progress of things, I am now preparing for artsPeak, our upcoming fabuloso annual arts festival.  I will once again be offering a free public workshop in the artZone this year, and I do hope you will come on over to Canmore and check us out!

What:  “Mail Me Some Art” mail art workshop

When:  Saturday, June 18 2011, 1-3pm

Where:  Civic Centre Classroom, 7th Ave., Canmore, AB

Cost:  FREE!!

This year, in keeping with the spirit of my ever-widening worldwide circle of arty friends, I thought it would be fun to make some mail art.  I have a mail art circle slowly developing which I hope to expand over the coming year.  Mail art is a worldwide cultural movement that began in the early 1960s and involves sending visual art (but also music, sound art, poetry, etc.) through the international postal system.  Join me as I guide you through the steps to creating your own mailable works of art from found papers and objects.  Materials will be provided, but you should feel free to bring any papers, ephemera or found objects you may wish to incorporate.   Full details can be found in the local papers or on the artsPeak website.

The image above is a detail of one of the first pieces of mail art I attempted.  So, what on earth is this all about?  If you are not familiar, there is an entire genre of mixed media art that stands alone.  Akin, in some ways, to Artists’ Trading Cards, the genre consists entirely of the sending of unsolicited art forms through the mail, either in a guerilla fashion, or as a round robin for sharing.  Check out this link for some eye-popping examples of mail art to inspire you!

There’s a great book in circulation called “Good Mail
Day” by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler.  Look for it in your local bookstore or library for some wonderful ideas.  So few people send ‘real’ mail these days, and it is always a “good mail day” for me when I receive a personal missive from one of my friends or family.  I’m not the letter writer I once was, since the advent of electronic communication, and I hope to use this to get me started with thoughtful and present communication again.

If you’d like to keep the momentum going, the Banff Centre is also offering a mail art free public workshop as part of the Banff Culture Days.  On Saturday, August 6 2011, at  the Walter Phillips Gallery @ the Bison Courtyard (11:00am – 3:00pm), they are offering Message Factory: The mail art station in Bison Courtyard invites visitors to create mailable artworks to send to their friends and family. Banff-based photographer Sarah Fuller will assist participants in the creation of postcard-sized cyanotypes–prints made by a photographic developing process that uses the sun’s natural light to create blue-hued images. The Banff Snail Mail Society will make available three analogue typewriters from its collection with which participants can compose individualized messages.

Two great opportunities in the Bow Valley this summer to inspire you.  Now what excuse do you have!