Tag Archives: #Letter365

Delivering by hand tonight

#Letter365 No15 ready to go with me to BAC
No15 ready to go with me to BAC

As I am going to Bridport Arts Centre tonight to the Story Cafe it seems sensible for me to deliver this by hand. I may not be able to post evidence tonight of me delivering or handing it over so it could be a catch up in the morning.

I love this one too. There will be other work in this vein being done over the coming weeks so I’ll try to post it somewhere as an idea – or not.

Self-restraint and discipline

Whereas yesterday was a struggle today was a breeze. I am so pleased with the piece that I wanted to save it for another day or not include it in the project! It’s one that I am happy to keep looking at and would definitely have on my wall: the sort of piece I would buy if it was by someone else! But that’s where I have to have the discipline to go through with my intention and the self-restraint to not covet my own work. Oh dear.

I suppose part of it is that I am considering destroying any unsold pieces, unseen, at the end of the project and would find it difficult to see this one “put down”!

And now I wonder about exploring the elements of that piece further. There are elements that I want to use in some larger pieces but should I now just leave them secret in #Letter365?

#Letter365 No14 being posted by a sign for fish and chips
#Letter365 No14 can’t hang about for fish and chips

It started to rain as I walked back from the Post Office. It was almost the first posting in the rain, which is amazing after all the months of no stop wet weather we have had. The fish and chip van doesn’t come for a while, so I didn’t need to push through the crowd to get to the post box. Mind you, Ann in the shop waved through the window as I took the photo, but she knows I am mad.

People are getting interested

Thank you to everyone who has sent words of encouragement about #Letter365. I hope I have thanked you personally. I’ll try and make an effort to thank you publicly too from now on.

So, for example, my thanks go to Megan Dunford who tweeted:

Picture of Megan Dunford's tweet
Megan Dunford tweeted her encouragement

…and Martin Martin said:

Martin Martin's initial tweets about #Letter365
Martin Martin’s initial tweets about #Letter365

and many more. Thank you everyone.

That’ll teach me!

Sunny evening posting for #Letter365 No13
Sunny evening posting for No13

Having said that I am now relaxed about #Letter365 I find myself, today, struggling with the first piece I created. I just couldn’t resolve it and ended up discarding it and starting afresh.  There was a very small part of me that was saying “oh it will do” and “possibly no one will ever see this”, but I would not be happy in myself to have included something not up to scratch.

So I still managed to get No13 in the post before the postman came, but I ended up rushing with the photography. I probably only managed it in time because my #Collage365 piece today went like a dream.

No12 has gone in the box

#Letter365 No12 goes in the box
No12 goes in the box – note the changed wording

I had a burning desire to give a hint on the envelope of the contents. It’s sometimes nice to give a little jokey teaser on the gift tag of a present, so people give a puzzled look and the go “aah” and smile weakly when they get it. However, I have my hands full as it is.

So why is the project called #Letter365?

The first thing to get out of the way is the # (hash) at the beginning: this comes from Twitter and my year of creating a collage every day under the hashtag #Collage365. If you are unfamiliar with Twitter, the # symbol is used as a device to make searching easier and associate tweets with a specific subject. Web design uses hidden lists of subject words, metatags, to help search engines find and index content. With the rise of blogging these hidden index phrases became public and visible and became just “tags”. Twitter’s limited number of characters meant that users needed a way to highlight a word as a “tag” and suffixing with a # was the solution – the “hashtag” – subsequently taken up by Facebook and others. So by using the hashtag #Letter365 as the project name it links it to my successful history of a publically-proclaimed, daily discipline and makes a mark in social media as well as causing a little curiosity.

Well 365 is pretty obvious. I will be creating a new, unique artwork each and every day for one whole year with the last one being created on the preview opening of the installation in the Allsop Gallery at Bridport Arts Centre on 6th March 2015.

That leaves us with Letter. Why Letter and not Mail or Post or Package or Parcel for example? Well Mail and Post suggest the process of delivery and only by inference the items so conveyed. #Letter365 is not principally about  getting posted and delivered by whatever means. Putting it into a post box or arranging for its delivery in some way is principally a device to ensure and document that I keep up with the daily discipline of creating the work before midnight each day.

It is also important to me that I get it out of my hands and into a place where I – and for that matter anybody else – can not tamper with it further. Each piece is a product of the day and reflects that day’s process. The brilliant thing about a daily process such as this or #Collage365 is that it sharpens the critical faculties and the decision-making processes. I cannot afford to get caught up in reviewing pieces on another day and wanting to change or touch up work later. I aim to ensure that I am happy with each piece each day and stand by that.

So why not a package or a parcel? I am already wondering how I can get round the self-imposed rules of the envelope having to be no larger than ordinary letter size! If I had not imposed some size discipline I could easily end up sending large pieces causing an even bigger storage problem for the Arts Centre across the year.

In any case, I have a great fondness for the letter. Everyone likes to receive letters and yet few of us send them anymore. Verbal communication over distance is almost exclusively electronic and digital for most of us and visual communication is going the same way. We demand instant gratification of our desire to know what is going on with our friends and family. We can barely resist the notification tone on our phones for a minute or two. Nevertheless, many of us remember the sweet anticipation, an anticipation that lasted days, of waiting for a reply to our letters. For anyone involved or interested in #Letter365 the anticipation is pretty long! Everyone wants to know what is in the letter you received.

The letters I loved most often included pictures, drawings, maps, photographs, plans, recipes, cuttings and more.  My friend Anita in Minneapolis wrote letters that would take your breath away – and still do when I come across the ones I kept. Most of these things you can append to your emails or stick on Pinterest or send a link to.

So what I aim to do is to create something each day that we can’t easily do electronically and digitally: something personal, intimate and largely hand-made; something that reflects each day of my life for a year; something of value worth waiting a while for.

So #Letter365 seems an ideal title.

Same old post box but another unique and new artwork

#Letter365 No11 gets the Royal Mail treatment
No11 gets the Royal Mail treatment

I am starting to settle down to this project now. I am feeling relaxed and creative about it and I am losing the apprehension I started out with. I am now confident that each day I can create a new, unique artwork to a good standard: something of quality and value that I am proud. But please do not think that it means I’m regaining my sanity for every day I continue proves that something is amiss!

Now I have begun to get into a routine I’m starting to do the planning and thinking and preparing I had hoped to do in advance of the project.

No10 goes in the box

No10 goes in the box at Bradpole
No10 goes in the box at Bradpole

While the lambs in the field opposite chased madly round and round, and my neighbour sat in his car listening to sport on the radio, I popped this one in the box. It’s been a beautiful spring day and I have been working in the garden for most of it, but the beautiful work inside the envelope has nothing to do with any of the subjects mentioned so far!

I have also changed the colour of the sealing wax – I don’t like this wax either. I must get some proper wax if I am to continue using it – or, as I have said before , make some!

Sealing wax on No10
Sealing wax on No10

I hope tomorrow i can find some time to develop some of the rules of engagement for this project and fill out some of the basic notions I am working through.