Monday, July 24, 2017

A Little MMSA Business

Hello Wonderful Mail Artists,  

(No, it's not snowing here, although that would be refreshing.  I just wanted to offer a cooling image during the hot, humid weather some of us are experiencing in North America.)

I hope your summer is going well and you are enjoying time with family and friends, as well as participating in the various swaps. 

  • There are openings in the calendar for guest-hosts to organize a swap, if anyone is interested.  Yes, it is work.  Yes, it takes time, energy and requires good organizational skills and a little technical savvy.  But it has its rewards.

  • Several hosts have noticed the absence of postage with a few in-coming group swap mail art pieces.  Just a gentle reminder to please tuck in some stamps to cover the costs of our mailing out your swap pieces, thanks.

  • Once in a while we receive a post card with loose collage elements. The swap host has several options:  

1.  try and secure loose pieces/edges with glue or tape,
2.  mail it to the new recipient in an envelope which the host has to provide at her own cost, or
3.  cross one's fingers and hope the collaged card reaches its intended recipient all in one piece.

Options #1 and #2 take extra time and effort, of course.  Option #3 keeps us awake at night worrying about your art in transit...

  • Perhaps we could open a discussion about support media, i.e. glues and sealants, and other techniques. Here are some possibilities:

1.  white glue (my favorite, especially for magazine clippings but they tend to ripple)
2.  glue stick (NOT very effective long-term, in some cases)
3.  double-stick tape (a recent failure-in-the-making)
4.  Mod Podge (one of our guest host's favorites) or gel medium
5.  covering the whole post card with packaging tape or clear label sheets 
6.  stitching through the layers- very effective!
7.  Others?  Tell us what works for you.

  • Which brings up another concern:  some mail art has been arriving stuck together in the envelope, or even stuck to the protective waxed paper. Usually there is no damage but sometimes there is, with layers ripping off when we separate the embracing cards.  
It's like the waxed paper is admiring the art card:  "Oh, you are so beautiful!" and the art card is admiring the waxed paper: "You are so protective of me, keeping me away from those other cards!" They snuggle a little closer and then break into song, a la Huey Lewis "...I'm happy to be stuck with you."  (Pardon the humorous digression:)
  • One suggestion is to allow 24-hours of drying time before putting your art in an envelope and mailing it in.  (I'm told that Mod Podge dries hard, not tacky or sticky...)

As always, we would like to hear from you.  Every comment is carefully considered.  Have fun and thank you for being a part of this creative, friendly online mail art community.  Honi


  1. Thanks for this, Honi, especially about glues and other sticky stuff. I always wonder what's best....Our summers aren't humid here, but it sounds like that's what wreaks havoc with stickables. How about YES! paste? I use it sometimes, though it's on the messy side to deal with. I think it was recommended in a Jane Davies workshop. And I think she said she thins it down.

  2. While no expert, I'm definitely preoccupied with experimenting with new glues and sealants. Like Jan, I'm always wondering what's best. I love to get feedback on how cards arrive--because no matter how much I like working with a particular glue, it's pointless if they can't handle a ride in the postal machines! While I still reach for my trusty Aleen's, glue sticks ranging from cheap drugstore brands to exotic Japanese clear cement-y versions, and even pull out the super scary aerosol glues that will provide a permanent stick for 100 years, my very favorite glue for quick paper to paper work is a $3 tube of Kuretake Zig Memory 2 Way (and there's 5 tip choices like chisel, ballpoint, broad, etc).

    For a more stiff bond or for collage work that needs the freedom of moving pieces around a little after application, I've found Yamato Rice Sticking Paste is great. One green tube lasts forever, plus it's gentle enough for even origami/tissue paper but it dries really securely; safe for hand application as it's totally non toxic. Yasutomo Nori Paste is similar but thinner. People swear by YES! and that's easier to find but nothing feels quite like Yamato Rice Paste.

    For collaging bases, like adhering whole sheets of paper, it's hard to beat Liquitex or Golden Matte medium but I prefer the "Paper" Mod Podge as a sealant--it's harder to find than the standard all purpose MP formula with the classic orange label, but it's less goopy and feels more gentle for cards. It doesn't retain brush strokes as well, but that's a matter of personal taste. A thin application with a cosmetic sponge dries really quickly.

    I feel like the hunt for the perfect glue may be never ending!