Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I received this happy piece of mail art from
Jane Smith of CA.
Thank you Jane!

Jane's mail art is always a copied printed version
of her original art work.
So Jane, do you scan your art work into your computer
or do you photograph your work then download it???

Also, what kind of printer do you use?
I'm always impressed by the quality of your prints.

I would like to buy a new printer that can scan overs sized  paper
and also make large prints.
I know the ink for such a printer is costly.
Does anyone have any advise on buying a new printer, over sized or not ?

I was happy to send Jane some mail recently.
It was a "better late than never" piece. I had started it last spring during 
National Poetry month.

I decided to put it on today's post because I think it might give someone else inspiration.
So if you are stuck and plum out of ideas and direction with your art,
try using a poem to inspire you.

This is the poem, The Country, by Billy Collins.
It makes me laugh!
Some quick pictures, then the full poem will follow.

The Country

I wondered about you
when you told me never to leave
a box of wooden, strike-anywhere matches
lying around the house because the mice

might get into them and start a fire.
But your face was absolutely straight
when you twisted the lid down on the round tin
where the matches, you said, are always stowed.

Who could sleep that night?
Who could whisk away the thought
of the one unlikely mouse
padding along a cold water pipe

behind the floral wallpaper
gripping a single wooden match
between the needles of his teeth?
Who could not see him rounding a corner,

the blue tip scratching against a rough-hewn beam,
the sudden flare, and the creature
for one bright, shining moment
suddenly thrust ahead of his time—

now a fire-starter, now a torchbearer
in a forgotten ritual, little brown druid
illuminating some ancient night.
Who could fail to notice,

lit up in the blazing insulation,
the tiny looks of wonderment on the faces
of his fellow mice, onetime inhabitants
of what once was your house in the country?

Jane let me know that a few years ago when Billy Collins was our nation's Poet Laureate she attended one of his readings. I was glad she was familiar with this poet and that she likes poems that make her laugh too.


  1. Great mail art! And, love the house book with poem. Neat idea!

    1. Thanks. I wish I could write poetry...I would give the post office workers something to talk about with my mail art.

  2. Such fun to see my art pop up on your blog, Jill ! This was a prototype for an art project that I taught to a class of 6th grade students...paper mosaic. On the printing issue, I actually take my original collages to Kinko's and make prints there on heavy card stock.
    Sounds like you have a storm back there...stay warm! Jane

    1. Kinko's, thanks for the tip! we haven't had a storm, just temp -11 degrees, this moring it was -6!!

  3. Are you frozen Jill? I saw your tems were even lower than ours, ouch....Glad Jane clarified because her mail art is the best. I love her collage work and wondered how she did it too. Now I know....., thanks Jane. The poem was a hoot. Living in a house with a stone foundation, the mice are always about.....Never seen one in my strike anywhere matches though! xox

    1. It is so cold here popcycles won't come out of their wrappers. It's so cold words leave your mouth, freeze in mid air then drop like stones to the ground without anyone hearing them. I'm working on my fiction writing, can you tell? I plan on entering a flash fiction contest.
      ( I have my work cut out for me)

  4. Thanks for sharing, Jill! I love Billy Collins. I think I own all his collections of poetry. One of my favorite poems by him is called

    "Introduction to Poetry"

    I ask them to take a poem
    and hold it up to the light
    like a color slide

    or press an ear against its hive.

    I say drop a mouse into the poem
    and watch him probe his way out,

    or walk inside the poem's room
    and feel the walls for a light switch.

    I want them to water-ski
    across the surface of a poem
    waving at the author's name on the shore.

    But all they want to do
    is tie the poem to a chair with rope
    and torture a confession out of it.

    They begin beating it with a hose
    to find out what it really means.

    (the end)

    ...and that's exactly how I remember High School literature class!

    1. thank you Wanda! you are a treasure!

    2. Wanda, that BillyCollins poem is one of my favorites! I teach a poetry unit in April (National Poetry Month) to the students at my school, and I always quote this poem and tell them - we're NOT going to analyze the poems, we're going to ENJOY them!