Here are some of my offerings for the Sidewalk Poetry event at I Know You Like a Book from 6-7pm tonight in Peoria Heights. The flip side of the palm card is information about PeoWrimos, my writers’ group! Come read your poetry, or enjoy the words of others.
Tag Archives: art
I’m an avid letter writer. I “adopted” a senior in Florida whom I adore. I have pen pals. I write to friends who’ve moved away. I send cards.
I love mail! I’ve gotten to the point where I almost feel like sending a letter in a plain white envelope is sending my child off to school naked!
Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.
I’m not an artist, but I love and appreciate little details. Here are three examples of very easy (and inexpensive) ideas you can use today to send your correspondence slightly less naked!
1. Colored chalks. You can even use sidewalk chalks, but be aware that the cheaper chalks will rub off more easily when going through the postal machines. I take a cotton ball and using the lighter color first (in this example, yellow) I dab patches of color all over the front and back of the envelope. Then I dab the second color in the spaces in between. I shake off the excess chalk and carefully blend, so the colors form a soft bond, and it almost gives it a tie-dyed effect.
2. Purchased envelopes from dollar stores. I found these cute envelopes in a package of twelve for just $1US. If you hunt around in nearby bins, sometimes you might find matching stationery, as well.
3. Sharpie squiggle art! Who doesn’t love sharpie art, and it makes a bold impression. I obviously had to use an address label, but this envelope was so much fun to make, I will be making more!
If you’re in a hurry, even just adding a cute sticker, a doodle or a funny quote can add charm to your correspondence.
I’ve gotten away from writing letters as I’ve been dealing with illness. I’ve missed it. I know when we move (especially if we move to another country) this will become an integral part of my life. I’m on a mission to make it more routine again. To pick up from where I left off on the 100 Haikus Project.
To send bad art with reckless abandon, but heartfelt intentions!
If you’ve ever received a very colorful, hand-embellished envelope from me, know that I am trying my hand at mail art. Mail art has been around since the advent of the postal service but it was made popular in the 1950s (known art exchanges have been documented with Exquisite Corpse, earlier in the century as well). It is making a revival, especially given the popularity of email, the decline of the economy which is affecting the postal service in every community world-wide and the love of nostalgia.
I’m a huge fan of mail art! Not only decorating envelopes, but participating in exchanges that are devoted to sending handmade goodies via snailmail.
I recently became involved in a mail art swap, and I had the best time! I lurked in the group for several months before I finally signed up for one of their every-other-month swaps (I don’t have permission to advertise the group, but if you search on mail art in Facebook, you will be able to find it & request membership of the closed group!) in June and mailed my creations out this month.
Mind you, I am not an artist. I can doodle and make some crafty things without feeling horribly embarrassed, but the reason I waited so long to join an exchange was because nearly everyone there is a true artist! The reason I joined a swap recently was because the theme was “Dinosaurs, Unicorns & Octopi” and I wanted to make an octopus. Like this:
It was purely nostalgia & selfishness that drove me. I didn’t have any other plan than a dorky yarn octopus-one like the pink one that sat on the pink bedspread of “my” room at my grandparents’ house when I was growing up. There was one guy in the exchange…I waited with baited breath, just hoping I wouldn’t end up with the guy as my partner because I didn’t think he’d appreciate a cutesy yarn doll. Finally, I got a girl!! Alas, a non-frilly goth girl. Thus, the crazy, red button eyes and charcoal gray color of my doll! haha
This also afforded me the opportunity to start something I’ve been wanting to do for a few months now. I was the recipient of a 100 Post Card project last year, was honored to be involved & thought it would be really cool to pay it forward with 100 Haikus. That project has since evolved, and now I am planning to send 100 Poetry Broadsides (handmade) instead with my original poetry. Here is the broadside I sent for the exchange:
I drug my feet on this, actually. I had to freehand the mermaid tail and it terrified me! The deadline was looming though, and I just had to do it. I don’t think it turned out nearly as bad as I was thinking it could!
Finally, feeling a bit sub-par with my art skills (or lack thereof), I decided to make a mixed tape for my exchange buddy. I stalked her tumblr account to see what sort of music she liked & got a CD made with all sorts of dino-uni-octi-themed music & a handmade CD insert. You get to enjoy a song off of the CD too! I figure, she will at least enjoy the music even if she thinks the octopus is stupid & the artwork and/or poetry is lame.
I am pretty fearless with my attempts at art. Maybe because I know I’m not an artist (technically writing is an art, but the art that I have any talent in only involves WORDS!), so you might think I’m just a glutton for punishment, but…
I signed up for the next exchange too, which is an Alphabet exchange (think Dr. Seuss’s Alphabet Book). Plus, I invited my daughter, who truly is an artist to join the exchange too, because she LOVES typography. It was her favorite class in her college art studies. She is going to make me look really silly, but I am super proud of her, and I have writerly ideas in mind too. I can’t wait to find out which letter I will be responsible for (we will be assigned our letter in early August). I can’t wait to start on the newest chapter of my artsy endeavors! Carpe diem!
[Note: The contents of this post may or may not make sense due to a 3-day migraine. Read at your own exquisite peril.]
Exquisite Corpse is an old parlor game a group of creative friends made popular in the 1930s. It involves several players who “write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.” The name of the game is a direct result of one such collaborative poetry effort:
“The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine”
I remember making art with my classmates in grade school in this manner too, and the game has been adapted to suit many surrealist art styles. Some early artistic creations can be found in a slide show filled with strange looking creatures and wild imaginations.
I can’t wait to do this with my local writers’ group! Several among us write poetry, and this would be a fun exercise, maybe even for the non-poets. Poets.org suggests that your group should come up with a sentence structure beforehand…like adjective/noun/adverb/verb/noun – and that everyone can contribute one word at a time, until you feel you have a poem of sufficient length. You can add articles, verb tenses, etc. later, when you’ve completed your own exquisite corpse of a collaborative poem.
I will go exquisitely nap now and dream of fabulous collaborations!
Collage Poetry has been fascinating me, because it incorporates two things that make my creative muses happy–art AND writing. Years ago I took a collage & altered book class with a couple of friends, and since then I’ve tried my hand at a handful of collages, but nothing that made me say, “Oooooh, I really should frame this!”
I knew that I wanted the C bit of the A to Z Challenge to be about Collage Poetry, but who knew I’d find sooooo many creative folks out on the web. Wow! What talent!! I wish I could share everyone’s work that I came across, but more than anything, I wanted to show you how easy it is to create your own style of Collage Poetry.
Corinna West creates her poetry collages digitally. She uses “digital photography, spoken word poetry, and Photoshop based collaging techniques to make images that are more than the sum of their parts.”
A different computerish version, even more blog friendly, can be found at Kyle Godfrey’s Blogger site. Just slightly different is Mary Bast’s version of photography with found and classic poetry, some of which can be found at The Pulitzer Remix.
According to Austin Kleon, it’s just as easy as blacking out words you don’t need on a newspaper to create poetry. He has written a book called, Newspaper Blackout, which shares some of the poetry he has created in this way.
How linktastic is this getting? And, I’m just beginning. We’re approaching my very favorite form of the poetry collage arts–the ones that could be found hanging in prestigious art gallery exhibits. It’s where my poems want to live when they grow up!!
Vivian Faith Prescott prints out her poetry, cuts it into stanzas & pastes it to a collaged background.
As someone who keeps art journals, I found these pages by Annie Yu to be breathtaking! Let’s be honest, my poetry would love to live in journals like hers too!!
Mixed media artist, Jess Schneider, uses a variety of techniques to create her stunning poem-art. Some of Charles Henri Ford’s collage poetry can be find in one of my neighboring city’s university’s websites. These pieces date back nearly fifty years!
Could I pretty please with whipped cream & a cherry on top take Sara Naumann’s workshop? Her work is gorgeous! Here is a quick, free tutorial, by Quinn McDonald, if you would like to try your own hand at a poetry collage. No matter which technique inspires you, you’re sure to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Carpe diem!
What’s your favorite book, and why? Mine is and probably always will be A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. It’s my favorite because I identified strongly with Meg, the main character at a time in junior high when I was ridiculed by my peers for my intelligence, awkwardness & whatever else they could find to pick on. Meg was my kindred spirit, and in her character, I found myself. A good book can do this for you. By the way, here’s an interesting timeline I found on the history of books.
The ballade originated in France and is a strictly rhymed and metered poem that has my little pea brain boggled on how to explain it, so click the handy link above. Here are some examples of ballades to help your comprehension (and mine!). Now that I’ve learned about the ballade, I think I will have to try writing one for myself. How are you celebrating this B day of National Poetry Month?
Beat Movement & Its Poetry: This Bohemian style of writing influenced a generation of non-conformists in the 1960s. It is the poetry I’m most comfortable with & I’d love to see a revival at spoken word & open mic events–I’ve even tried to recreate that vibe when I perform my own pieces at such gatherings. This style of poetry was meant to bring the art of poetry to the streets–edgier, free, raw and less confined by the constraints the academia demanded. You can still find traces of the beat movement in the small coffee shops and art centers tucked in quiet corners of cities all over the world.
What exactly is a broadside? In a nutshell, it’s a sheet of paper with art and words. It’s commonly used in bookstores for displaying original poetry & artwork, and it can either be handcrafted & posted on bulletin boards at will…or it can also be a broadside including the words of a famous poet and/or artist for a cost. Most coffeehouses, libraries & bookstores have a bulletin board where you can post a broadside for the world (or at least your community) to see.
A smaller version of the broadside is a poetry bookmark. You can download free poetry bookmarks found on the internet, or get inspired to make one of your own with your favorite, original or found poem! If you want to pay-it-forward, slip a poetry bookmark into the next library book return.
Art, film, books, poetry, music, dance–all of these are meant to inspire you in a beautiful and meaningful ways. May you be broadsided by the arts in an inspiring way today and every day.