Today’s episode is a “ask me anything” episode with Jennie Hinchcliff of redletterdayzine
Question about getting things through safely -- wax seals not getting crushed, things like that. Any tips? Just mark "hand cancel" on everything?
-Becky Wilson via the SO Discord
Letter Seals Waterson’s Scottish postal taper
More the where to go and how to get started - it's a bit intimidating when you see some of cool work others put out. Dos and don'ts, things to be avoided.
-Karissa from TPA Slack
Add and pass
Sources for reading up on the history of mail art - including beyond the 70s and 80s.
-Karissa from TPA Slack
Eternal Network by Chuck Welch
Frog Pond Splash – edited by Elizabeth Zuba
Ray Johnson retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago in Jan- April 2021
Siglio Publishing -Paper Snake and Not Nothing by Ray Johnson
Projects that she's working on currently
-Karissa from TPA Slack
RAS Stamp Collection
San Francisco Correspondence Coop
Ooh, will she put together another book? Took me a bit to track down the original one - I'd love to see an updated version
-Karissa from TPA Slack
Would love to.
Does she have a favorite (or several) mail art project she's participated in?
-Karissa from TPA Slack
2014 Ex Postal Facto
Who would you like to be able to correspond with, living or dead?
-Phyllis from the SO VM
Where can they find you on the Internets?
@redletterdayzine on Instagram
@stationeryorbit for stationery experiments
You can also write to me at:
Attn: John West
P.O. Box 621
Golden, CO 80402
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/stationeryorbit?fan_landing=true)
SO ep 16 tk3.sesx_mixdown
[00:00:00] John: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 16 of stationary orbit. I'm your host John West and today's episode is a ask me anything episode with Jenny Hinchcliffe of red letter Daisy and good morning, Jenny. Hi,
Jennie: [00:00:09] John. Thanks for having me back.
John: [00:00:11] Absolutely. Jenny, could you tell us how you got started in mail art and what you've been up to lately?
Jennie: [00:00:17] sure. Yeah. I think whenever I tell this story, I always mentioned to people that. For me mailer really I became aware of it when I was in the fifth grade. I checked out a library book from my grade school library and it was called swag S w a K sealed with a kiss, the complete book of Miller and for kids.
And it was the authors, Randy Harrolson, you can still find it on eBay or whatever. And when I look through this book as a little kid, you can, it gave you instructions for all sorts of fun things that you could do through the mail. You could write away for autographs, you could write away for signed pictures of movie stars.
You could [00:01:00] collect postage stamps, all of these very cool things. But then towards the very back of the book, there were a few pages, a couple of pages that talked about people who sent wacky things through the mail. Things like plastic bananas or face masks or blown up balloons, like things that I had never even considered that you could send through the mail and it listed people's addresses.
So people like Chuck Welch, you could write to crackerjack kid people like Anna banana, you could write to, and they would write back to you. And so I thought about that for a little while. And my fifth grade brain kind of processed it and then put it away. And I didn't think about a mailer after that or really long time.
John: [00:01:49] something where it just seemed like it was too big of a world?
Jennie: [00:01:52] Yeah. And as a little kid, I was always distracted by everything anyways. So it was like, Oh, I checked this book out and then I turned it back [00:02:00] into the library, but it was more like this really interesting moment.
Where I realized that you could send something through the mail and it would be different than just like a bill that my parents got, or like some junk mail that they threw away or something like that. And I never thought about the mail like that as a little kid. I, it was just something I took for granted, so Using it for a purpose that's cool, have a pen pal or collect postage stamps or send a plastic banana for the mail. I was like, Oh, interesting. So I filed it away, for later, but in high school and college, I had pen pals. I wrote a lot of letters because I grew up in a small town.
And if you wanted to connect with people who lived the next town over, it's easiest, fastest thing to do. Was either called people, but it was a lot more fun to write letters. So I wrote a lot of letters. And then, when I moved away and went to college, I kept in touch with all of my high school friends too.
[00:03:00] And by the early two thousands, I remembered this thing that I thought about as a fifth grader. And then I was living in San Francisco and. In the nineties and the early two thousands. And even still, there was a really big male art scene that was going on here. A lot of correspondence artists live and work in male from here.
And I've always been involved in the art community here. So I was hearing these distant little occurrence of, different people who were San Franciscans to also liked do this thing that I was. Interested in. And so eventually I thought if I'm going to start meeting people and corresponding with people, I think probably one of the best ways to do it is to start ezine.
And so I did, yeah. Then, I called it red letter day. So I did four issues of that Zen and it was quite a production. I love to doing it. And. It was pretty ambitious at the time. I would put out a call for [00:04:00] entry, mailer over entry. People would send me mail, each issue was themed. And so they would send me art through the mail, depending on what the issues theme was.
And then I would photograph all of the artwork, fronts and backs, and I would put it on, I would collect it all onto a photo CD because this was the time of, CDs and burning disks and things like that. So every artist who contributed, bought a copy of the Xen and a copy of the CD. And I would do that Zane, in an addition of, 200 and 200 to two 25, depending on how many artists participated.
And I met tons of other male artists, both locally and around the globe and across the United States. In that way. And so that was my jump into it. And then from there, I, again, I was just always, I've always been involved in the art scene here in San Francisco. And so eventually an invitation came from [00:05:00] quarry and I was invited with my coauthor Kelly Wheeler to submit a book proposal for good mail day in 2008.
And so we did. And then, good mail day got a lot of interest in. We met a lot of people that way. And even still today, I receive mail at my PO box from people who are discovering the book for the very first time, which always, it just makes my heart warm. It's great to correspond with folks who are learning about male art for the first time who, good mail to his they've checked up in their library or it's come across their hand somehow.
And that though is a really great thing. And then after that, that kind of led into the San Francisco correspondence co-op, which is a group that I founded in 2011. We still meet next year will be our 10th anniversary year, which is great. We meet monthly. And then in 2014, and I talk about this a little bit later, too.
2014 was a pretty big year because I curated a male art [00:06:00] show at the San Francisco center for the book, which I'm very proud of. And that was in conjunction with a conference a three day correspondence, art and networking conference called ex pistol back though. So I've been, and we're on the horizon, which I'm pretty excited, but those are some of the, those are some of the greatest hits for now Oh, that's
John: [00:06:21] cool.
Yeah. I'm definitely glad that I was able to hopefully contribute to some of the mail coming into your PO box. And I know that there are a lot of folks that. Hadn't heard of good mail day and have been looking that up here recently, even just earlier today, I was on with the art of correspondence coalition.
And let them in on the secret. So hopefully he gets letters from those folks too.
Jennie: [00:06:47] Awesome. I know, I I have a little note to myself to ask you about your traveling. Oh,
John: [00:06:53] very good. Yeah, that'll be fun. Have you used it yet? I have, yeah, I actually I was actually writing a [00:07:00] thank you to John Bosley for his episode.
And I had taken out a rodeo ice pad. And I tore a page out of it and I used the black crayon to take a rubbing on one of our light rail stations, the actual station sign for it. So that ended up being the back of the letter. And I wrote a quick, thank you note on the front of the letter. And then I.
Did a quick little origami fold on it to get it to where it would tuck into itself so that I could let her lock it with a wax seal.
Jennie: [00:07:32] Nice. See, you've got it. You've got your Miller practice in place. Job.
John: [00:07:40] Definitely. It was definitely a lot of fun to get to do that. And looking forward to, I need, what I need to be doing is looking for more of the ephemera stuff and using the glue stick and the double stick tape, but it'll all come in time.
Jennie: [00:07:54] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Practice makes perfect.
John: [00:07:58] Absolutely. Yeah. So definitely [00:08:00] something that I need to be working on is the various male art skills, as well as I need to see about retuning my handwriting, just because I've not done proper cursive or any other kind of calligraphy in years. And my print just doesn't always do it.
So I'm going to see about retooling there a little bit as well, but. It's all about practice.
Jennie: [00:08:25] It is. Yeah. It reminds me that a friend recently just gave me a Twispy found in pen and it's got one of those kinds of squared off tops on it, like the nibs squared. Oh yeah. It's a little stuck.
And she said I don't know if you'll like this, but you know that one, I'd love to give it to you. And so at first I was like, Wow, this could be cool. And then my second thought right behind that was, wow. My cursive game is going to it's going to level up right now because this snub nibs are really good [00:09:00] brokers of, but like you, it made me realize, Oh, I really need to practice my percipient.
I knew about it.
But I thought you liked to hear that one of those twisties came my
John: [00:09:08] way. Yeah. I've been working on pin tabling, other folks here recently and sent out a Twiz B five 80 as part of a package. So definitely fun stuff. Yeah. We're ready to get into the ask Jenny anything. Oh, let's do it.
Jennie: [00:09:29] I'm ready. All
John: [00:09:30] So we've got a.
Question from Becky Wilson via the stationary orbit desk board. And her question is about things getting through the mail safely, things like wax seals, not getting crushed and things like that. Do you have any tips for getting stuff through the mail? Other than I think we'd mentioned before getting stuff hand canceled.
Is that just a standard piece of advice?
Jennie: [00:09:55] This is a question and thanks Becky for your question. Oh, this is something I get [00:10:00] asked a lot, all the time, getting things through safely. How do I send my piece through? So it isn't damaged or it isn't eaten up by the machines or, maybe it's something weird.
How do I send that through weird being something unusually shaped or maybe 3d or something that and I get asked about wax seals a lot also because people are really. Like a lot of sealing wax, it can be brittle it breaks or cracks or flakes off the envelope, et cetera, et cetera.
And so usually what I tell people around sealing wax is consider what the result is going to be. And if you want your wax seal to be on the outside of your envelope or on the exterior of whatever you're doing, I would suggest using a ceiling wax that has a little bit of rubber in it. Or even a, you can buy those glue gun sticks that are keep based and you can create a wax seal using a glue gun stick.
I've seen that a lot. [00:11:00] Yeah. And what happens is because there's a little bit of rubber in there they're flexible. And so all mail is usually machined. So that means it gets run through on a conveyor belt and sorted very quickly along with thousands of other letters at a time. So I would. For wax seals.
I would say if, give it a fighting chance, use something with a little bit of rubber. If you're going to seal a letter and then stick it inside an envelope, then you can use some of that more brittle, less flexible silane wax. There is still the possibility that it might be crack because they are still running the mail through the belts and everything.
But I think that I've had better luck. Using that more brittle sealing wax on things that I put inside envelopes. And I really like the wax that you can get from letters, seals.com. There is [00:12:00] they've got this really gorgeous stuff called WaterSense Scottish postal tapers. They're like these long. Kind of candle looking sticks and they make them using this 300 year old recipe and they make them in small batches.
So they're gorgeous if you're doing, like for example, letters to Santa Claus, usually every year I get asked to do a few like letters to Santa pieces. And this Scottish postal taper there, it comes in burgundy gold, and I think a black. And it just really, it gives that really nice historical look to documents or letters.
So that's my advice around wax seals getting more wacky things through the mail things. What have I gotten lately? Someone sent me a giant piece of tree bark that had an address and a bunch of postage. Yeah. I know stuck onto it. People have sent me like framed pieces of artwork unboxed through the mail.
[00:13:00] Something like that. Yeah. I know something like that. Don't send glass, like people be smart, don't put the, don't put glass in the frame, Lexi and for things like that, a lot of times what I suggest to people, three dimensional objects. If you're going to send those through the mail, it helps.
If you have a really good relationship with your. Postal workers at, your branch post office or wherever you consistently take your mail into a place. If you don't have a good relation, if you don't know anybody who works at your local EO branch, what you can do is take, for example, let's use a framed piece of artwork.
You could take a framed piece of artwork up to the counter and ask them to weigh it for you. And, they'll ask you, how will you want to send this verse, class, whatever, and you'll tell them, they'll give you a denomination and then you can buy that much in postage stamps. And what I would do is get the postage stamps.
I'd take it home. I apply all the [00:14:00] postage. I put the addresses, address on it, a return address my own. And then I would either hand it off to my postal carrier here at my house or apartment building. Or if you feel confident and comfortable doing it, you can just drop it into a blue box. So that is one way to get around sort of these, and if wacky odd shaped objects, getting things through safely, them, that word means a bunch of things to a bunch of different people.
And so a lot of times folks will say to me I want to make sure nothing's lost or torn up or destroyed. And part of the thing around sending me through the USBs, is that what the machines and what the postal handlers and what, like every part of the process in each machine and each person who touches it, they add to the fact that this is a piece of art, something you've made, it's getting sent through the mail.
[00:15:00] So if I mail a postcard to you, John, and you get it. And there's and perhaps you've experienced this where, there's Sharpie cancellations across all of the postage stamps. I know people who hate that, but I actually really love it because to me that shows that someone else's hand contributed and inadvertently helped make this piece of mail.
That is also a piece of art. Yeah, it's a huge drag when you send something and it arrives at your recipient's house and it's in one of those little plastic, we care bags. Cause it got totally chewed, but in a way that is a really great story too. It is what it is.
John: [00:15:47] Yeah. If it's so dear, you need to insure it.
Jennie: [00:15:50] Yeah. Yeah, it's a great point. If it's so dear. Then, what you should probably do is enclose it in an envelope. And if it's [00:16:00] particularly fragile, then, would it be the cardboard in that envelope, but also, know that the, again, it just all goes back to intent. If you want to send that postcard and you want to see what happens to it, and you want to talk to your friend who receives it Hey, was it scratched up?
Was there Sharpie on it? Was there a giant sticker across the front? Then send it, but if it's, if you've labored over a super awesome collage that's postcard size and you don't want any of the bits to fall off a bit or, get chewed up. Yeah. Protect it and put it in an envelope. Some sort of exterior enclosure.
John: [00:16:36] When I did that little piece of letter locking. I didn't number one, I had the rubbing on the outside and I didn't want any of it destroyed. I didn't want the wax seal destroyed. So that went into a, an envelope and it was sent without an outer wax seal on it because I've had so little luck, even putting non-measurable postage on, putting [00:17:00] on stamps that say non machine where it's like a mink stamp that goes on.
And I still end up with about 50% of the wax seals getting destroyed. And I've just decided that I've had enough of it. And I'm just going to go ahead and I'll black seal. I'll let her lock. The insides are all wax seals, something on the inside, and then it's going to go into an outer envelope because I want the wax seal to get there.
Jennie: [00:17:22] Yeah, it is again, it all goes back to intent. What is the most important part of it to you? And if the most important. Part of it is making sure that your wax seals arrive in place and damaged. Yeah. Take precautions to make sure. But if you're like, man, I just want to see if it even gets through, that's different.
That's different for sure. So which I will also say, John, you sent me a great piece of mail recently. That was, it had wax seals on the outside and it was a letter locked letter inside. And both the exterior and the interior wax seals were complete. Oh, [00:18:00] that's awesome. So whatever ceiling wax you used is good stuff.
John: [00:18:06] Wax Hill. I was just doing beads from Etsy and using a spoon for those, but I completely agree with you that I've seen a lot of the folks out on YouTube and Skillshare and when they're doing their wax seals and these are professionals. Or they're using glue guns for those wax seals
Jennie: [00:18:25] or they're using those little like Brulay torches, I think that's a little fancy, but
John: [00:18:32] you can, I don't press myself with fire like that.
Jennie: [00:18:37] I wouldn't either. I wouldn't either. And I think a glue gun is perfectly acceptable. There's some purists I'm sure among us who would never deign to go there but I think it's dope.
John: [00:18:48] So we started off with a little more advanced question about how you get stuff through the mail.
Once you've got your mail art or your letter ready to go. The next question is from Chrissa off of the Panax [00:19:00] Slack. And this is just a real basic down to the brass tacks. A question things about how you get started, how to get paid some of the intimidation when you see some of the cool stuff that others have been doing.
And I think what it really gets down to us. Some of the things you would consider to be do's and don'ts, and especially things to be avoided. Once you get started getting into doing male art and doing other embellishments on letters.
Jennie: [00:19:27] Sure. Yeah. So the do's and don'ts I like how this breaks down. So four, do I think the number one most important do is to figure out what your own style is.
Because if you decide the thing that you really like to do when it comes to making and sending mail, and that can be, it really can be anything because one of the beautiful things about mail art is that it can be pretty much anything to anybody. [00:20:00] Maybe you have gorgeous handwriting and you really like to write letters.
Maybe you love the law. Maybe you love. Doing this type of thing called an add in pass, which is where you take an eight and a half by 11 sheet of paper and you start it and then you mail it off to someone else and they add to it. I would for a number one do the first place to start. I would think about what you like to do.
Some people don't like to write letters. And so they would rather do collage or they would rather rubber stamp, or they would rather work on, like postcard size or, that kind of thing. So think about that because really you want to have fun with this and if it becomes like this obligation or you're like, ah, that's not fun.
John: [00:20:44] I'd also like to add into the dues column of do play around, do try different stuff, because you never know what's going to really bring you joy until you have a chance to play around with it a little
Jennie: [00:20:58] bit. Yeah, [00:21:00] absolutely. And even if that's as simple as like buying a new toy at the art supply store, or like going to the hardware store and thinking, Oh wow.
Wire mesh, I could cut that down and send that in the size and shape of a postcard. I Anything is there to inspire. Yeah, exactly. So I would think about what, what makes you happy artistically and what you really enjoyed doing? So I would also say that as a corollary to developing your personal style, it's also important to know who you're sending to.
And when I see that, what I mean is a lot of folks will, talk to me about the fact that. They send to family or friends that they know, and that they never really receive anything in exchange. And, they wonder why that is. And it's important to realize that you can send to your family and friends, but they might [00:22:00] not necessarily understand what to do with any sort of, like wacky correspondence or mail art that you send to them.
Whereas, if you correspond with a like-minded group, people, other male artists, they're gonna nine times out of 10, send you something back. It's important to know who you're sending to. And I like to suggest to people that if you're someone who likes writing letters, I would invite other friends who are into the idea of doing, slow tasks, things like hand sewing or.
Repetitive, Mark making things like that to hand write letters to each other, you can start a group where everyone passes around their address and maybe you set a deadline, one letter a month to this person in our group. And everybody gets a letter. There are ways to create connection like that based on what people like to do.
So maybe you have a family member who loves handwriting letters. That [00:23:00] would be great. They could be part of your group. But, if you just like randomly start sending out lodged postcards or handwritten letters to people who don't necessarily understand what you're doing or what your expectations are, it can be a little, I think this point being, or the sender, because the receiver doesn't quite get what's going on.
John: [00:23:22] Yeah. And I think there's a lot to be said for the fact that I think there's still a mindset out there amongst. Most of society that snail mail just isn't a thing anymore. And you've really got to find somebody who has bought into the idea of snail mail, being something that they want to do. And that's the reason why pen pal clubs and correspondence coalitions, and just general pen pal, like listings are important.
And those, because those are people who have already bought
Jennie: [00:23:58] in. [00:24:00] Exactly. Yeah, and I think there's more, there's definitely more awareness, today more than ever, like people really are. They're really interested in getting away from the monitor. They're really interested in doing things that are more analog and so letter writing and doing things with your hands has, it's definitely all of these artistic practices you think of.
Knitting and crochet and sewing again, writing letters, cutting, pasting, all of those things. People are really responding to that. I think there's a real Renaissance because people are especially right now, we're in front of monitors and screens literally all day long. And so it's a relief, at the end of the day, to just go sit for me, go sit at your kitchen table and just write out a bunch of postcards and rest my eyes, so I think it's also important to have realistic expectations for [00:25:00] yourself and for others when you're making in sending mail, you may, when you fall into the mailer rabbit hole, fall down the hole. You may be avalanched with a bunch of very cool mail and it's important to realize that you don't have to answer it all at the same time.
And the corollary is that you, you don't, you may get a lot of mail. You don't have to answer it all at once and you don't have to feel obligated to, send out a one to one ratio all the time, but then also. No that other people are in the same boat as you, so we all have busy lives.
We've all got things going on. This is our fun thing that we do. It's not our full-time job. And so be patient do be patient, do have realistic expectations for yourself and for others that you're corresponding with. I think that's important. For don'ts I would say, yeah, I guess again, like [00:26:00] one big doubt is don't expect a one-to-one reply ratio and don't expect a start, to have tons of addresses of people to correspond with overnight.
It's a process and you build it and you'll start getting mail pretty quickly, you'll fall into a groove of how much and who you correspond with. And my other big don't and part of me is like, leaving would have to say this, but I do please do not. People listening. Stationary, orbit audience people listening right now.
Please do not send anything lewd, obscene or dangerous through the mail. Okay. Don't do
John: [00:26:38] show the dangerous part glass frame idea. That's not good.
Jennie: [00:26:43] Just don't. And always use real postage. You have to use real estate. People ask me that too, because artists stamps are a big part of the mailer genre.
And as a refresher artist stamps are stamps designed by [00:27:00] artists. They are not usable for actual postage, but oftentimes they look a lot like real. Stamps, but like I said they're designed by the artist or the person, making the stamp. When I design artists stamps, a lot of times, we'll here's a good example.
Halloween was yesterday, so I did a big Halloween mailing and I designed a special artists stamp. I have a Ross back perforator here at my studio. And so I can perforate. Papers so that it looks like postage sheets of postage stamps. I designed a funny little black cat postage sheet of postage stamps for Halloween, and I perforated them up and I put them on the back of each postcard in the place where a stamp would be.
But I also put a postcard stamp right next to that. So you always have to use official postage when you are sending out your artwork.
John: [00:27:59] Yeah. Yeah, [00:28:00] absolutely. So I think that the artist stamps actually will take us smoothly into the next question, because I'm sure that this is going to come up again, but Perissa from the TPA Slack also asked about sources for reading on the history of male art, including stuff beyond the seventies and
Jennie: [00:28:18] eighties.
So I love this question because I am a big research nerd. I have suggestions for you. Some of my very favorite books, one is the eternal network by Chuck Welch. You can view that for free online as a PDF, and I can give the link to John for the show notes. Another great book is called correspondence.
Art correspondence, art and eternal network are both out of print. Eternal network is easier to find because you can read it online. Correspondence, artists, little. Ardor it's edited by Michael Crane and Mary . And that book [00:29:00] is a fantastic overview, different interviews, different rundowns of different art scenes in different countries.
From the seventies, from the eighties, it also approaches different artists theories around male art, their perspectives, why they do what they do. Different kind of sub genres and parallel movements that operate within the sphere of male art eternal network is also, it's a great reference book. It is a little bit more philosophical, but still has fantastic essays by a wide variety, a huge spectrum of artists operating in the network in the seventies and eighties.
Another book I really like is called the world of Donald Evans by Willie Eisenhart. Donald Evans was an artist stamp maker. He died very young, but all of his artists stamps are and water [00:30:00] colored and beautifully created. So that's a very inspiring book. I love to page through that when I need some inspiration.
And then another thing I like to recommend for folks. Is a book called the umbrella anthology, which was edited by Judith offered Judith was the editor of a newsletter called umbrella. And that ran through the eighties and into the early nineties. And she was quite prolific and she was a friend to male art.
She was also a friend to book arts and printing. So umbrella was like this amazing publication. It was like a bulletin board of what projects people were working on and call for entries for shows and new things that were being published. And it's an incredible resource. If you want a snapshot of what was going on at the time in any one of those given scenes in the nice thing about back issues of umbrellas, [00:31:00] they've digitized, all of those.
And so you can find them online just nice. And I'll. I'll get the link for that as well. So those are a few times. I know that,
John: [00:31:09] I know that the question was about some of the history beyond the seventies and eighties, but I thought I remembered on your Instagram that you'd gotten hold of an early release of a new book, that it didn't center on Ray Johnson, but it was very close to where he was and his start in the male art
Jennie: [00:31:27] movement.
Yeah. So that book, I'm so excited about that book. So that book is called frog on splash and it's edited by Elizabeth Zumba. The book is published by Sigley Siglia breasts, which is a fan astic press. And that book is it's this really incredible combination of collages by Ray Johnson and text. So like snippets.
By bill Wilson, who was a [00:32:00] good friend, a long time friend of Ray Johnson's. They were neighbors in New York city. And not only did they correspond, but they were very, they were, great friends and bill Wilson passed away. I want to say either in 2018 or 2019, so pretty recently. And it had always been this idea.
People had always been very hopeful that he would write a book about Ray Johnson and he, God said that he was always working on a manuscript, but it never happened. And so frog on splash by SIG Leo is it's especially dare I think because it is this amazing coming together of two friends, both in pictures and in text.
And the other thing too, is this book frog on splash is coming out in conjunction with a big Ray Johnson, retrospective it's happening next year at the art Institute of Chicago. So that's also pretty exciting. I think that exhibit opens in January and runs through April, 2021. [00:33:00] So
John: [00:33:01] no, that's exceptional.
That you've got a group like the art Institute in Chicago taking that he's a male art up. That's very cool.
Jennie: [00:33:09] Yeah, it is really cool. And Siglia has also published, they did a rebrand of Ray Johnson's paper, snake, and then they published a book of his correspondence also called not nothing. The select writings from 1954 to 94.
So Siglia, their books are beautiful. Their production quality is great. You're here in the U S they do really interesting work. And I love the fact that they have published three Ray Johnson books. That amazing.
John: [00:33:37] Yeah. That is that's very cool. And it's one of those things that I just don't think you can get away from Ray Johnson when you're talking about some of the original.
Male artists and that start to the movement and where that spirit came from. Yeah,
Jennie: [00:33:52] it's true. That, it's interesting because awareness and recognition of him and his work has really ramped up in the last, I [00:34:00] would say seven to eight years before it was very difficult to find books or publications about him or even writings.
It's great. That Johnson is getting his due now because his work is pretty fantastic. And it was a very interesting thinker. He was a very cool word Smith. He, was this. Performance artists in his own, right? Yeah. Yeah. He really, he deserves to wear, the Laurel leaves.
John: [00:34:30] Okay.
So we're gonna, I'm gonna go ahead and take a little jump here. And this is also from Carissa and she wants to know what kind of projects you're currently working on. So we're going to go from history to presence.
Jennie: [00:34:41] Okay. Past to present currently. Wow. I'll be honest, we've all kind of been in shutdown mode.
So my, my motivation has been like at the bottom of the barrel right now, I still send out mail. I'm a little slower than usual, just because some days it's [00:35:00] hard to get to the studio and sit down and turn the volume down on my internal noise and make some work. But what I find I have been doing a lot of is I do have a couple of new projects in my head that I'm thinking about.
And so I've been researching and figuring out the groundwork for those projects so that I can, when I'm ready, I can just jump right in to doing them. So I'm, I don't want to jinx anything. I'm going to, I'm not going to mention any much more than that, but but, and I was also, I'd like to mention that I was recently, probably about a month and a half ago.
I was gifted with a large collection of rubber stamps that were used by the artist, Richard Simon son, his kind of mail art moniker was R a S. And so I've been cataloging and archiving those rubber stamps. Because it is a really incredible collection. And so I want to make sure I have a record of them and [00:36:00] that I know who and where they came from.
And I've also been researching him, Richard Simon's son, because I don't know very much about him. So that's been an interesting process. And so when, we're able to gather and hang out and, be more social with each other. I have an idea using those rubber stamps in a group setting I would like to execute.
So that's one of the more physical things, but then also, we, the San Francisco correspondence go up, we are a group, we meet monthly and we always met in person up until March of this year. So I've been working with Maureen forgeries and we have moved that group online. And show running something like that every month also takes time.
So I've been trying to find that happy spot of being both online and in the studios. So it's happening, that's for sure. And I sent out [00:37:00] a big Halloween mailing yesterday, so that was fun. I got it together. I did it.
John: [00:37:04] Chris actually has a question that I think is going to end up being more of maybe a suggestion for a new project for you.
But she was saying that it took her a while to track down good mail. And she was wanting to know that because it's out of print. I, if there's a chance that you've been thinking about doing an updated version of that.
Jennie: [00:37:24] I would love to do an updated version of good mail day. Yeah. When we originally put together good mail day, It was published by Cory books and our first print round sold out before it even hit the shelves, which was pretty exciting.
They did a second print run and that run was larger. So it took longer to sell out. But now quarry falls under the umbrella of a different publisher. Yeah, I am. I would be totally hip to the idea of updating that book. I think a lot of the information, the key information is really good. And still really [00:38:00] solid, but I agree with Carissa, I'd love to update some parts of it because, they're like new people entering the male art network all the time.
And so that book was written over 10 years ago. So they're definitely new names I would love to add into the mix. Yeah. So I would love to make that happen somehow.
John: [00:38:19] And I think she's got another question here. That's in the followup to that of, do you have a favorite or even several male art projects that really have a part in your heart that you've participated in?
Jennie: [00:38:35] Oh yeah, I do. I do, I, in 2014, I, 2014 was a, it was a good year. It was a fun year. And one of the things I think that I'm proudest of throughout my male or I wouldn't call it a career, but my mail art situation is in 2014, I brainstormed an event called [00:39:00] X postal facto, and that was a three-day conference of male artists and networkers and people who loved all things postal.
And so I put together a team of people Maureen forgeries, Kate Kaminski, Jennifer utter, Sally Wurlitzer, and Angela Kevin's who I will be forever indebted to all of them. And we put together this event. And so it was just three days. We had round table discussions. We had vendors, there was a big exhibition.
The exhibition was called mail art book, and it was at the San Francisco center for the book. And there were over 300 artists from over 30 countries that submitted artwork for that exhibit. And so for large parts of the exhibition, the mail was there and people could actually flip through it and look at it and handle it and get excited about it.
We had people who traveled from across the country to attend the conference. We had a few people who came from [00:40:00] Europe and Mexico, which was very exciting. I got to meet a lot of my sort of mailer heroes, which was thrilling. Actually, it was super exciting people like creative thing and buzz blur. I got to meet Anna banana, who I had read about in that book swap that I first saw in the fifth grade.
And it was a really amazing weekend. It was super incredible. So that is definitely one of the projects that I'm. Most proud of because it brought so many people together and it was such an invigorating weekend. And it really reminded me that, the male art scene, the networking, the community, it really is all about connecting in person.
I felt like that whole weekend, I felt like I was levitating off the ground and I w CAEP. Pictures that people had taken of me. And I look like a maniac, but I, it was just because [00:41:00] we were all doing so much and it was so exciting. So that's definitely one of those
John: [00:41:06] ones. You have a memory like that.
Jennie: [00:41:08] Yeah.
Yeah. I'm pretty excited about that.
John: [00:41:13] This one's going to be, I think this'll be very appropriate given that yesterday it was Halloween. Who would you like to be able to correspond with? Living or dead. And this question comes to us from Phyllis via a voicemail on my stationary orbit website.
Jennie: [00:41:29] Oh okay.
Or Phyllis, that's a good question. So I'm going to say, this is the question that was, I don't know why, but it was the most difficult for me to answer. So I broke it down into two parts. So who would I like to be able to correspond with living or dead? Guess I, I read through quickly.
I said, I thought to myself who I like corresponding with, I love corresponding with everyone because everyone sends such different mail and [00:42:00] the things that people send are so uniquely part of themselves. And I really love that. I just really love it. Male artists have this phrase where they like to say the mailbox is a museum.
And I think it's really true. Every time I go to my PO box, I open the, you like put the key in here at clunk. He opened the door and you pull out the stack and it's just wow. It's like an art show. Every single time. Love it. People that I love seeing in my mailbox, I always get super excited when I see mail from.
Kwan miles who's in South Africa, he sends amazing mail. He's an incredible collage artist ever headstrong she's in Sweden. She makes amazing artist books does letterpress prints and sends beautiful little. Like collages and artists' books, Amber w in Portland. She's she does it all. She's like a great collage person, artists stamps, just beautiful work.
And [00:43:00] she's actually right now show running the Portland correspondence. Co-op so that's pretty cool, Jay, you 13. Amazing collages. Tori Baroni does great little zenes and mailer projects. And then if I. Was find a correspond, like people, someone folks that I wish I could correspond with who aren't here anymore, picked an artist and politician and a male artist.
So for my politician, yeah. So for my politician, I picked Ben Franklin because who wouldn't want to talk to Ben Franklin about the logistics of setting up the United States postal system and being the first postmaster general. I totally want to talk to Ben Franklin about what went into that. That would be amazing.
That's a great answer. Yeah. And for artists, I would love to correspond with Joseph Cornell. Some of you, some of your listeners may know [00:44:00] Cornell's work. He was an incredible, he made these incredible three-dimensional box pieces. He did a lot of collage. He had. Amazing clipping files and was quite a character himself.
But one of the things I really love about Cornell's work is that it's very evocative, Sperry, beautiful. Each of his assemblage boxes is like its own world that you're staring into and falling into. And. He would create elaborate stories around these boxes. A lot of times they would be dedicated to film actresses or ballerinas and he would strike up correspondences with them.
And so I, I love the fact that he really was a person in his own world and he created that world. I think that so much of when you correspond with someone and you create art for them and you're exchanging back and forth through the [00:45:00] mail you do that anyway. And that's part of what a person responds to.
And I think the most meaningful exchanges come from people that you really resonate with. It's like they get your language really instantly really easily, and you don't have to necessarily explain anything to them because you're already on the same wavelength. And that's, that's amazing. That's a really amazing thing in this day and age,
John: [00:45:26] no. I think there's a lot to be said about somebody on your wavelength, because when you see stuff that comes back, it makes you want to up your game.
Jennie: [00:45:34] Yeah. Yeah. And it makes you think, Oh man, like again, they get me like, ah, this is so awesome. There's a connection there, there's a connection.
It's very real. And it's very instant in, is also related to this person made this thing for me. And what I'm talking about right now is strictly visual art pieces sent through the mail. There's something really [00:46:00] incredible about receiving something at your mailbox and looking at it.
And it's just got all of these incredible elements and you realize the person who sent it to you, made it for you and they just, they instantly, they understand you and that's really pretty awesome. It's pretty cool.
John: [00:46:18] Yeah those are great answers. And I really, I actually enjoyed the relaxed pace of this one.
It wasn't quite as rat tat, tat as some of the other interviews that I've done, just because I tend to blast out question after question and this had a little bit different pace to it, which I really enjoyed. And so I really appreciate you coming back onto the show and. I guess the last question is for folks that want to get in touch with you, or want to see your work, where can they find you on the internet?
Jennie: [00:46:47] So the best place to keep track of me on the internet is through my Instagram account. It's at red letter daisies. So I, I'm posting photos and things all the time. They're usually [00:47:00] the work I'm doing in the studio or my cat. Cause that's how I roll. And people can always email me red letter day firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm open to that. If you have questions about mail alert or anything like that. Totally fine. So yeah, those are probably the two best places to get ahold of me.
John: [00:47:17] All right. Very good.