Tag Archives: nick bantock

Making of New Year Card, 2024 + archival nengajyo treats

Overhead view of arts and crafts-ing New Year card “nengajyo” for 2024, or Reiwa 6 in Japan.

Such arts & crafts fun times

Starting with a substrate of elephant dung paper from Sri Lanka, adding various inky stamps – including one designed by Nick Bantock – then writing postcardy prose with fountain dip pen, adding daguerreotype photo by Ken Miner, peeking at various inspiration sources, cutting, pasting, rolling, more stamping, mistaking, remixing, fiddling….

Then flashing through international , domestic and unique stamps, stacks of addressed cards, postboxes utilized for dispatching, sneaking a few hand deliveries to special recipients, *and* a montage of previous 4 new year cards – displaying completely different techniques – finishing with exquisite time travellers from Tsuchida Cottage.

Thanks to:

Daguerreotype: Ken Miner https://kenminer.ca

Dragon + crab stamps: Nick Bantock https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/BANTOCKart

Shodo calligraphy: Takushi Fujita

Logistics: Neal Cropper

Music by: Mark Olson (guitar, vocals, music) and Dave Olson (drums, lyrics) recorded OlyWa, 1996 to Tascam 4 track cassette, otherwise unreleased

New Year “Nengajyo” 2024 / Reiwa 5 ~ for (calm) Dragons

Thar be Dragons Ahoy!

Wishing you Calm in 2024, Reiwa 5 if you prefer.

Fondly from the Olsons of Tsuchida Cottage – Ichiro, Ryoko and Daveo

For the collectors, enthusiasts, pals, renegades, artsy types, lovers and mysterios.

photo: Ken Miner
stamp: Nick Bantock
shodo: Takushi Fujita
flourish: Ryoko Olson
design, Uncle Weed

Substrate: Sri Lankan elephant dung paper

Details include:

fingerprint for biometric convenience, ¥500 vending machine hanko stamp, accurate return address, ¥100 store numeral stamps, “postcard” ink stamp from Lydia in Austin, etc.

Post’d: Griffin & Sabine books, essay magazines and ‘the usual’

My intrepid wife did a big service this morning by swinging by the post office (i’d written this lil poem of concern):

Letters and packages
Ready since Monday
Post office tomorrow, maybe

Meanwhile: laundry to fold

Being an angel, she even did the stamps wonderfully and arranged a photo with the addresses discreetly disguised.

Includes: 3 more copies of beloved “Griffin and Sabine” book off to friends in Mexico, Vancouver and Prince Edward County – meant to inspire youth & olds alike making 9 copies of Nick Bantock’s beauty sent so far this run.

The book/series combines art in the form of handcrafted, postcards, variety of handwriting, styles, custom-made stamps –both ink and postal – and a narrative with switches between realms, realities, possibly time traveling, geographic locations / both real and fictional.

You can imagine why this is very much my style. And, I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with the author/artist on several occasions, including on the recent trip, and own many of his books (in English and Japanese), a couple of prints, personalized postcards and letters, and even originals from the book. Yep.

IsDave & WasNick, Victoria 2023

As an aside: introducing youth to books that are enjoyable, mixed media, stretch their possibilities, and even tactile is so important. Though I loved reading from a young age, the books assigned throughout junior / high school were insufferable and I know turned so many off. I made a list of examples if you would like me to include it here:

{Insert odd/curious/underwhelming assigned reading selections here for curiosity seekers}

There are also some signed magazines (with my essay), a custom artwork piece (made from an immigration card), a few postcards etc. in the bundle.

Good luck on your journey sweet dispatches!

this weary standard-issue postbox doesn’t really have anything to do with the above but noticed it from the van window while at a konbini, clearly dealing with sun stroke and loneliness

Letters from Russia / development notes, sketches, drafts

Letters from Russia, mixed-media epistolary literature project, 2004

In 2004, I created a mixed-media creative writing project called “Letters from Russia” which was meant to be a series of well,… *obviously* letters written from Russia from the point of view of a cobbler in Napoleon’s army to his lover in France. All in all an unlikely and complicated conceit conceived as was a way to discuss various topics around love and war.

Appropriately, was written/crafted as part of a program at Evergreen State College called “Poets and Philosophers Discuss Love and War” which was my final “seminar” (at Evergreen, you don’t take courses and classes, rather programs and seminars and independent contracts and other non-traditional interdisciplinary learning contexts). This program involved going to Lake Crescent on Olympic Peninsula with three faculty members with different specialties – philosophy, history and poetry/creative writing – staying in cabins, doing the Evergreen-ubiquitous group projects and assignments of various kinds but also working on an individual big project amidst mediation.

Unsurprisingly, I was keen to do something “big” to finish off my hard won Bachelor of Arts degree which spanned 17 years and four or five colleges/universities depending on how you count them. A “capstone” of a sort. {digression: previously thought a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing was my path and with that would come a big project/thesis or whatever, since that wasn’t going to happen, wanted to do something that felt like similar for personal satisfaction}

So, at the idyllic lakefront surrounding, i diligently worked along on this complicated house of cards – in between long stretches of partying, drinking racks of beer, usual herbs, one guy brought a motorboat and a gun – I mean none of it made sense.

I did a few of the assigned assignments (writing something about explaining peace to a banana slug or other contrived drudgery) while putting this project together in my head. I could imagine the finished product: wanted an “artifact” with tactility and vague sense of authenticity despite it being completely fictional.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is letters-from-russia-dossier-042.jpg
sparks of inspiration and outline

The finished result was series of letters written on different pieces of paper stock from my suitcase stationery stash, compiled to create the feeling that the protagonist “Henri” (all the characters were named after French Canadian hockey players) was with the army, scavenging any kind of paper he could find, and using different sorts of writing materials. Then I added a series of illustrations, paintings, other visual expressions in various medium and styles (and worked in the character of an Italian conscript with his unit who is a painter as an excuse to include these paintings).

let’s write in cursive with inky fountain pens on handmade paper, such authentic-ness

I wrote some test letters (readers may notice original drafts used a different name for the recipient of the letters) to try out some different papers, handwriting styles, pens and to find my rhythm. Once I found my rhythm it all came together very quickly but finding that vibe and materials and to start was a real challenge.

Continue reading Letters from Russia / development notes, sketches, drafts

Post’d: dossier arrived, well-stamped, from “WasNick”

mysteries within

Adding to my collection of precious items from Nick Bantock, writer of epistolary literature (noted for Griffin and Sabine series), fine artist of the finest – and exceptionally versatile –type, stamp maker (both inky and postal), and a font of wisdom and kindness.

As magnificent as this wrapping is, the contents were even more remarkable, to be shared under separate cover at some point.

Items: Sabine & Griffin postcard originals by Nick Bantock

From Sabine in London, to Griffin in Alexandria (along with stamps designed by Sabine from her “island home”)

Two original postcard backs from Griffin and Sabine series, part 2 “Sabine’s Notebook” are now in my archive along with the stamps used in the epistolary literature masterwork by Nick Bantock.

To Sabine from Griffin, Par Avion from Kyoto (along with Mr. Bantock’s Moo card)

Really great artifacts as the esteemed author/artist selected specific locations and topics for me. Of course, there are a few other related items throughout this archive if you’re curious.

Do you know these books? I hope so.

Diary: sundry notes of ukulele, drums, stereo, handy items by post & slices of culture

Sundry tasks:

get in number

Tended to an “important call with an official agency” about a significant life decision… Don’t mean to be vague, just floating it out to the universe, next step is visiting a consulate in Osaka, September 8.

(I really don’t like dealing with things by telephone, much prefer a written record – whether analog or electronic – and feel express myself much better when I have the time to choose words.)

So, just gonna play some baritone ukulele for a while.

Working on:
Atlantic City
Illegal Smile
Questionally
Carey
Hallelujah

Pretty good at:
Depreston
Moonriver
Monkey and the Engineer

In other news:

a box of frozen meat was delivered yesterday

also several more Nick Bantock books and a replica of Indiana Jones’s Journal showed up

stack of mysterious dispatches

wife’s industrial grade water pump also arrived

Oh, and tomorrow is “go clean the graves of the ancestors day“ / We’ll bring incense and flowers. [update: done x2]

More Items, arrived by post: various seeds, porridge, legumes and nuts.

many seeds, nuts, legumes and so on (also box of meat, not pictured)

These simple tasks of convenience thrill me and are a huge help for those who are mostly house-hermits (#MECFS) this is all, carry on with the world melting down etc

After grave tidy (incense, water, candles, flowers, prayers) Tidied up carport then hung out with Ichiro, playing with inky stamps & stationery, listening to groovy records in the slowly improving (warm!) first floor of the kura barn studio.

Its all possible, Ichiro making stamp art in a “Norman Rockwell-esque” pose (as a kind correspondent observed)

Disco theme from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”? Yes you have come to the right place. Evidence follows:

https://videopress.com/v/1y6PqnH6?resizeToParent=true&cover=true&preloadContent=metadata&useAverageColor=true
Take a spin around the first floor studio space which is made for: listening to music; hanging out and making art; eventual more craft making (paper and kintsugi); plus emergency/camping supplies, tea ceremony supplies and impending musical jam space
Continue reading Diary: sundry notes of ukulele, drums, stereo, handy items by post & slices of culture

Post’d: Dossier from Sicmon Islands (so to speak)

A dispatch arrived from the master of postcards (as well as epistolary literature, postal culture, stamp design and mixed media goodness) Nick Bantock, noted for the exceptional “Griffin and Sabine“ series as well as many other wonderful books of ephemera, pop-up art, and goodness knows how else to describe his unique creations.

the contents are splendid and the package, just as much so! the post office must love him

Going to open this carefully and frame the contents as well as the package.

{yes, that is my postal address and you can mail me things and I’ll send you something back usually}.

PS bonus, (lousy photo of) Griffun & Sabine books with Japanese “legend translation” pull-out

Redundant note: Griffin & Sabine is the start of an extraordinary correspondence which stretches out 7 books eventually. They’re all very mixed-media with pull out letters, fully-designed custom postcards, different fountain pens/typewriters for each of the characters, designed and printed stamps, both inky and postal. Published by Chronicle Books.

Items: Concorde in Jordan, Everest Aerogramme, stamps from Katin, and poetry from Sierras

Trains and Trams (and Fountain Pen) #daveo50

These Postcards come with a scribble note of unexpected affection from my official fountain pen, meanwhile, items by post of late (and late they are) include:

  • Everest First Day Cover Aerogramme
  • Inscribed book by ephemera art master
  • Poetry collection from a laureate
  • Concorde First Day Cover from a flight which may not be useful

Investigate below:

First day Everest Aerogramme, Aug 1, 1975, Nepal / waiting for destination.

There is only one postmaster authorized to use this stamp / do you know who? hints: #griffinandsabine #katin Yup, Nick Bantock and his new limited edition book “WasNick”.

There is always a Present Moment to spend with Gary Snyder, poet laureate of all that is good coming my way herein Japan where he roamed from just across the Taiheyo in the Sierras.

this flight is landing before it takes off… note to self: further research

Aqaba to Amman via Concorde, first day cover envelope with all sorts of flair!

Continue reading Items: Concorde in Jordan, Everest Aerogramme, stamps from Katin, and poetry from Sierras

Schemes and Dreams for Year of the Tiger – Reiwa 4 / 2022

oh hai, just us talking about stuff like scrapbooks and schemes

+ Schemes and Dreams for Year of the Tiger – Reiwa 4 / 2022 + 

No surprise whatsoever, Dave, surrounded by scrapbooks, well-designed books, unfolded laundry, impressive selection of washi tape and a vessel of homemade miso – and feeling a little tired – looks ahead to 2022 with schemes and dreams including: 

  • compiling/creating a book called “a circumnavigation, of sorts” with freeverse poetry, snippets of diaries, scraps of letters, forgotten lists and possible scribbles; 
  • (the usual of) taking care of health and being a great husband and papa; 
  • making more scrapbooks and collages; 
  • maybe even some paintings of post boxes, payphones and portals. 

Plus tidying up digital odds and ends, stepping up some skills and figuring out how to space out and rest and relax (per Doctors’ orders).

Ichiro makes an appearance as Dave also sends a special *hello* to those who are dealing with some health challenges including uncle in Michigan, a young postcard maker in Sri Lanka, and Larry sensei, and possibly you. 

Finally, after reviewing a litany of scrapbooks of plans, poems, correspondence and other oddities from years past, offers encouragement to share your intentions for the year ahead and reflections on years past in whatever medium you fancy. 

[UPDATE] Feb 1, 2022 (due to sickness and reevaluation): basically canceled 90% of what I ambitiously planned. Recalibrating to “improve the campsite”, ergo: spruce up yard and garden a little bit, finish Kerouac video, make some washi paper, get better at writing Japanese, and maybe repair some broken ceramics with gold.

Note: Oh yeah, calendars and sweater thanks to Shawn P.

just staying alive, yup