Blowing My Own Mind

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Yes, sometimes I do blow my own mind. It isn’t very often that I dream up a project that is rather elaborate and involves mechanics/engineering feats, and it works out the first time I try it. I literally made a “Squeeee!” sound. But before I get to that I should probably tell you all what I have been up to for the last 2 ½ months or so.

Mostly I have been very busy with the Two Artsy Gals podcast. Every time I feel like I am in a good groove with the planning and recording of the show, something happens in my world that makes for a crazy recording schedule again. We went on our big family vacation to Mexico the last week of October, and as always, we had a blast! Because I was going to be gone for two airing dates and planned to be appropriately worn out the week we got home, my partner and I recorded three episodes the week before I left, then I typed all the corresponding blog posts and pre scheduled all the blogs and episodes.

Two weeks after we got home from our vacation I had ankle surgery. I had a bone spur removed from my ankle joint and although it was fairly minor as far as surgeries go it has still been a painful recovery. Because I planned to be down and out for two weeks, my podcast partner and I again recorded three weeks ahead of ourselves, then I typed up the blog posts and prescheduled everything.

So here I am, fairly recovered (I get my stitches out this Wednesday and they are itching so bad I can’t wait!)… I have actually been doing some great mail art over the past couple of months and had plans to do a post filled with my most recent projects. That is until this project took shape. Now I am so over the moon about it, I don’t want to talk about anything but it! So here we go, the mind blower!

Our November project for my Mail Some Art, Yo! group was an altered envelope to be done in the theme of black and white circus fun. You all know I hate the shit out of clowns (terrifying bastards that they are). So my brain really went toward old school circus side show stuff and freak shows. I love old freak show imagery! I have been trying to find a way to incorporate my love of origami into my mail art for some time and when I started the daydreaming process for this, my mind saw visions of tightrope walkers and freaks in a pop-up box/envelope.

I played around with a few pop-up boxes that I know how to fold and settled on one commonly called a diamond pop out box. I had originally planned to use collage in this envelope but once it started coming together my vision for it was little scribbly illustrations. I folded the envelope out of 18 X 24 “ 50 lb. sketch paper and then incorporated the black elements with 60 lb black drawing paper. I used my Faber-Castle Pitt artist pen set and a Marvy Reminisce white gel pen to the do the illustrations.

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The illustrations were a bit of a confusing pain because I folded the box first and lightly marked the stripes for the “tent”, which is the outside of the box/envelope, and the inner illustrations, then unfolded it and drew everything. I wish I had taken pictures of the illustrations before I folded the box back up but I was so excited about the way things were coming together that I could only focus on moving forward.

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It is hard to see how this goes together in the images I am using so I filmed a short video that I will put at the end of this post. The final element to add was my little conjoined twin tightrope walkers. I used some waxed hemp twine for the “rope” and ended up having to use white thread sewn into their arms and the outer box flap in order to get them to stand upright when the box opens (truth, they still lean back a little bit but the fact that they stand at all is a minor miracle and I am so thrilled by it that my head might explode). This is a two sided illustration that I did on white inkjet sticker paper. I did one side then folded the paper in half, cut the illustration out with an X-Acto blade, then opened it up and drew the other side on the shape so it would match up.

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I am so in love with and thrilled by this envelope that I am sad to see it go (yes, I want to keep it all for myself). But I know my friend Mary will love and appreciate it so I am glad it is going to her. As promised, here is the little video of how it opens and closes with some detail shots. Thanks to my husband, Big Orange, for holding it while I filmed.

Oh, I should note that the “pull” arrows got glued in place before this got put in the mail. I couldn’t glue them before because they seal the whole thing close (which is why there are “cute here” lines in the middle). I set it on top so you all could see the way it looks when the arrows are glued down.