Thursday, August 27, 2015

Paying Attention

With my last post, you know that part of my my being AWOL on the blog has been due to company. Not just the lovely time spent while they were here, but also the not so lovely time picking up my messes and cleaning. The guest room is also my office, where I have spread out all the family photo albums and letters and documents for scanning and researching. So I hurriedly scanned a few more things before gathering everything to be stowed temporarily in a close. It is also the room where I do my taxes. I still had a box with a year's worth of bills and receipts to shred. It's a mindless but time-consuming task so I had put it off. Now I was prodded into action.

Not long ago, I picked up a book new to my library, The Little Book of Book Making by Charlotte Rivers and was totally mesmerized by the handmade books it included from so many artists that make this form their preferred outlet. One using the insides of security envelops particularly caught my eye. Could there really be that many patterns out there I wondered? I was pretty sure the security envelops coming my way had only a couple of relatively boring patterns on them. I made a mental note to pay more attention to the ones showing up in my mailbox. And then I promptly forgot.

That is, until I started pulling bills to shred from their envelops and sorting for recycling the envelops with plastic windows from the ones that were all paper. Oh wait. I was going to look at the security patterns, wasn't I? What I found in that year's worth of envelops quite surprised me. What a haul of envelops I had once I was done. And because that's just the way I roll, I decided to carefully release where they were glued so they would lie flat exposing the patterns, and then sort the patterns into piles.

These were by far the most common pattern - I think they reflect the credit companies I do business with.  The printing was often uneven across the paper and the saturation varied from envelop to envelop. And most of the envelops were designed this way - basically rectangles with narrow extensions to close up the sides.

These were one-offs. You may need to click on the pictures for a larger view to see the patterns.

Most were printed with black or grey ink, but a few were blue like this one. My camera really didn't like figuring out what to focus on with some of these patterns.

One lone envelop was not the usual business envelop size but a nearly square one which will give larger pieces to work with.

Here's a close-up of that stripe. Eye's going batty yet?

Some return envelops had windows but some did not. These will give me the larger areas to work with too. There's that crosshatch again but the ones on either side are different from the rest.

Then I ran into envelops constructed in what I consider the more classic manner - set on point before folding in the bottom, sides and flap. Yet another pattern.

And two more patterns in blue from that style of envelop.

I've saved the best for last, or so I think. Yes, it looks like another crosshatch but this version has some interesting patterning going on within the crosshatch.

I'd be curious to know why this is as one really wouldn't notice it unless opening the envelop flat.

I guess that's the thing about humans and design - we just can't help doing more than is necessary or even seen.

Some of the patterning continued onto the flaps. These can be trimmed to narrow strips. Oh, and above the torn-off flaps, there are small pieces that I cut from an envelop that had a snowflake and lines on it. Definitely art journaling fodder.

I envision using these envelops in my book making as well as art journaling. I've been puzzling over what to line my recycled box covers with and this might be it. While it is exciting to find a use for these envelops, I fear I may have triggered an unstoppable obsession. Where once I could toss that envelop into the recycling bin, now I am hesitating and tossing it into my art journaling supplies. I'm paying attention!



Sherrie Spangler said...

Now you've got me curious about my envelopes, which I normally toss in the recycling bin as soon as I open them. I'll have to start looking inside them.

Michele Matucheski said...

Ok--so I put The Little Book of Book Making on hold at my local public library. Thanks for the recommendation.

I must be your art twin, because I've been fascinated with those security envelop patterns for years. For a while I was saving them--just the blue ones. I used them in a Sketchbook Page a few years ago--- I can't seem to find it. Used the blue security envelopes as a collaged background for "If wishes were fishes, we'd all be casting our nets ..." I can't seem to find that blog post now, though.

What are you going to do with them?

Lucia Sasaki said...

Hi Sheila!
How good getting news from you!
When i saw your post i thought to myself: Wow, i have this book, i bought it last year!
Today i took it to see from who you got this idea of envelope and i found it: Purgatory Press, p.36.
Great idea, indeed.
i was impressed with your demonstration of how many patterns these envelopes bring: i will pay more attention in mine in the future.
Thanks a lot for sharing these insights!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Careful, Sherrie. I had no idea how addictive collecting these would become! ;-)

Michele, we really are like two peas in a pod when it comes to much of this art stuff. Would love to see how you used these envelops if you can track it down. I have notions of collaging some of these (because I don't think any are big enough on their own) to cover the inside of the recycled food boxes I'll be sewing signatures into. (
Also thinking of using them as I continue working through the art journaling exercises. More ideas may come... You are going to LOVE that book!

Lucia! Thanks for posting the name of the book maker and page number where the work using the envelops can be viewed. Since I no longer have access to the book, I didn't have that information at hand. As inspirational as the book is, I decided not to add it to my collection. I am so surprised to hear that you have it in yours! Another case of like minds. :-) I'd be interested to hear if you discover many patterns in your own mail.