January 7th, 2007

new year

Forty-eight pages

I've been getting these envelopes from Canada for some years now. Some of you know about Dale Speirs' zines with the cactus names and the complicated numbering system -- several hundred individual issues that are numbered up to approximately 62.5A right now. That I can lay hands on at the moment anyway. No, there's another upstairs with a comprehensive article on the history of mail art back before and including Ray Johnson (How to Draw a Bunny Ray), that I am going to read again more carefully in my copious spare time.

They come in these envelopes marked Via The Papernet with a gorgeous variety of Canadian stamps on em, in different denominations. Often they are not even cancelled, which is somewhat less interesting (not dated). Such care is put into them, I've always had the impression that they are part of the mailing, part of the unique event of the zine being published and mailed to me, and rather important artifacts in their own right. Being a bit of a packrat, now I have a little collection of these great envelopes. It is not just a collection of the stamps or the covers. Since I've been sorting out piles of zines in the last month I've accumulated a couple dozen of the envelopes, a neat little stack. I was kind of thinking they would be good for collage. Envelopes and stamps are classic collage materials.

I am a maker of books. Artists books, whatever those are. So today I have put these envelopes in order -- it is part of making books to decide what order things should be -- and slit open the sides (most of them) to make folded book pages. Lots of blank book pages, with these decorated postal covers interspersed (one page in four). Some are white and some are kraft-paper yellow, which is a bit intense. I have been wondering what to put on all these blank pages, and I think I am going to start, or carry on, by painting them a bit. Then sew them together. Then, who knows.