Somehow, somewhere between my first couple trips to Japan (frankly it’s a little bit foggy after a plan to go to Mexico and live on the beach didn’t materialize, hemp fests, Dead concerts, flower sticks & hemp bag selling), I was in Logan, Utah (where i had spruced-up my Volkswagen bus “the Earthship” only to abandon it) where my Mom rented a rambling old polygamist house in the shadow of the LDS temple which she rented as a boarding house for various students plus a few randoms living in the backyard in a sort of tent/van village.
Logan isn’t my favourite place (so many cops and rules!) but, here I was and as such, I put together a party to reunite with old friends, share stories, collect lent items, play some music and hit up hot springs.
I designed this “aerogramme-inspired” invitation (meaning the paper was both an envelope and a letter), including various snippets of haiku art, doodles, maps and intentions, and floated them out into the world. The party was called “Far Far West” in homage to a Gary Snyder poem about going to Japan and my westward facing, Pacific centric geographic mindset.
Wasn’t sure what to make of it all as addresses were stale, friends were transient, memory scare, but, as it goes, worked out just wonderful as dozens of people came throughout a few days with folks camping out in the backyard to the chagrin of the neighbours who tried to poison the dogs (seriously!) as well as called the police who stealthed into our backyard campfire while we were singing along to Larry’s autoharp and Marty Kendall’s ceramic drums and, surprisingly, the police were rather chill about everything / they asked us to play a song, we did, they told us to have a good night, they left, we laughed and we sparked up another one and kept on going.
As it goes, there was a *loaves and fishes* vibes as my wonderful Mother put on big pots of curry and different stews with ingredients folks brought along, and we kept pots of coffee and exotic teas going in a truly freeform fun for all couple of days.
I recall the 2nd day included a trip out to a derelict hot spring on the side of a forgotten highway which had sort of been roughed in by a dangerous assortment of bricks. Nevertheless, we soaked, we played banjo music… and I have a photo of me and Sensei Larry to prove it (somewhere in the boxes there might be a few more snapshots).
I will say that I was surprised to see this invitation – both the original layout as well as a production copy printed on 50% post consumer recycled “redrock” paper and dutifully printed with some copywriting that somehow makes me smile still. (Note: included the layout and production versions for posterity and archiving).
In the event you doubt my credentials, I present prestigious documentation for your perusal… Hey, I can’t seem to find the certificates for the invitation to the ceremony (which I did not attend), so a blurry snapshot will have to do for now as evidence.
Noting I have more to say about this and how I left high school a couple weeks into “senior year” and in rolled at Utah Technical College, later Utah Valley Community College, later several other name changes… and took an assortment of classes about photography, ceramics, mountaineering, anthropology and creative writing.
As it goes, attending this then-little college with an interesting eclectic mix of ages, interests, attitudes etc. was a fantastic decision. More to say another time, perhaps when I add the actual certificate and other related materials.
World Fair/Exposition 1986 (EXPO 86) was a huge deal in my sorta homecity of Vancouver. I’m no royalist/monarchist but do love paper ephemera and artifacts – as such, here is one such item: a program/invitation booklet of United Kingdom royal family inviting folks to the event in an act of unnecessary hubris and pomp, but whatever, its a slice of history.
For the international guests coming for the wedding celebrations, we wanted to make travel easy so we produced a Travel Dossier and series of videos to help with all the “macro” logistics of coming to Japan and getting around easily.
Then for the “micro” logistics around Okayama and wedding-related events, we assembled Welcome Packets which were distributed (with some customization) to the guests’ hotels.
The packets in general included maps of the local area, in particular, a great English-language map by “Next-Trip” which included the 2 primary hotels and various coffee shops and fave restaurants along with the popular tourist sites (castle, gardens, museums etc). To top it off was a few business and/or event cards for other useful shops and exhibits.
Additionally, we stashed a “Japanese Basic Vocab” sheet with handy phrases and a transportation sheet which had instructions for taxi drivers in Japanese and English to aid in getting to various venues. Plus an itinerary of the events, times and locations.
Finally, there was Google Map of venues and Whatsapp group chat channel for on-the-go digital updates.
There were a couple of special young ones coming for the shindig so they received a special welcome packet designed to help them make scrap-journals of their trip. As such, included scissors, glue sticks, stickers, pens, letter/note sets, and blank books with hearty paper – all compiled in a vinyl zippered pouch.
As evidenced by sweet Emily Olson upon her return to Canada, the scrapbooks proved to be a handy way to document a journey in “real-time” with paper ephemera and others papery bits.
For the record, the narrative from the itinerary doc is included, more or less intact.
Wishing safe and happy travels to all day international diplomatic renegades who are bringing their beautiful energy to this pleasant corner of Japan.
Also, sending my very finest thanks for all the good wishes coming in from so many wonderful people throughout my life. So grateful you have stuck with me through these turbulent years and are able to witness this life reinvention from wherever you abide.
So much more to say, but the to do list still has many small but important details and my delicate body needs rest to recoil some energy for the next several days of festivities and showing off my new hometown to miraculous pals.
In the meanwhile, note that every smoke signal is most welcome, well noted and will be reciprocated in due course.
Yours very fondly and fortunately, daveo/UW
Poster by Joanna / Gamamo Creative PS She is seeking her next gig. #HireHer#Tip#DRO420
This wedding announcement card had a few purposes beyond inviting people to events. Notably to share our story and personality to groups of friends and family who didn’t know one another and didn’t know the other half of “us”.
Rather than a “regular” template designed scripty card or modern-ish version with a candid-esue photo and quirky yet rote design, we made something ourselves by hand, analog style.
All traditional “rules” of design were broken except the ones about “telling a story” and “reflecting personality and culture”. Noting we mixed Japanese, English, images and art in creative ways to tell the story, rather direct duplicate translations.
The result was 4 panel of truly mixed-media, each panel telling a different part of the story, in a unique way and laden with motifs of various kinds. Pieces used included: letraset run-off lettering (from 1970s), flowers/plants, all sorts of paper collage, watercolour pencils, shodu ink, stamps (postal and inky), stickers, doodles, ephemera and all the rest.
There were 2 iterations due to the use of fresh flowers in the design (which was scanned then printed) which crushed and wilted.