I like my new postman, he brings me armfuls of books each morning without complaint wearing a big smile on his face and always knocks loudly if the parcels won’t fit through my letterbox. I’m usually expecting the books I receive but on Saturday, I had a little surprise as there was one in the pile that I hadn’t ordered. Upon opening the padded envelope it turned out to be from my good friend and doyen of the mail art scene Mr Lestaret (who blogs here)
This is a beautiful little square book measuring around 10cm square with heavily printed board covers. It is bound like an accordion, each outward fold containing a paper sheath inside which is a page.
Each of the four pages themselves are removable from their sheathes and appear to be constructed from recycled books, fragments of various papers and cloth. Each page has a wonderfully tactile and waxen feel to it which gives a certain stiffness to the leaf.
The whole book is a joy to handle and look at, the pages are multi-layered so you can see submerged words, symbols and printing like looking into cloudy ice. I love what Lestaret has done here and once again am happy to be a part of his rather exclusive mailing list.
Some years ago, I commented on a piece of asemic writing work produced by Lestaret (who blogs here by the way) and stated that a large scale work would look excellent framed and hung on a gallery wall. I cheekily mentioned that if he ever fancied producing such a piece then I would most definitely give it room amongst my modest art collection. Since that conversation, Lestaret has gone on to produce three asemic novels (which are still available here), a collaborative graphic novel (more of which at a later date) and countless other pieces of his patented curiology.
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from the man himself who revealed that he was now working on such a piece for me. I was extremely excited and couldn’t wait to see the results. He kept me updated as to it’s progress during subsequent calls until last week when he told me it was finished and he would be bringing it all the way up from Kings Lynn to Rotherham for me. When he arrived at my house, I gingerly removed the brown paper wrapper to reveal a 40cm by 50cm board literally covered with tiny scraps of recycled paper from old books upon which he had meticulously covered every inch of space with asemic writing. He told me he had carried out the work using many ‘dip and scratch’ type nibbed ink pens which makes this work all the more incredible.
I have now mounted, framed and hung the piece which looks stunning. Every time I pass by it I look and see something different in it’s arcane letterforms and line upon line of text with no meaning. It truly is stunning and so I wanted to share it here in large format so the picture can be zoomed in to capture a little of the detail. It was difficult to photograph obviously because of the glass front hence the reflections and angles but I don’t think this detracts from the artwork as a whole.
I am now a proud owner of a large scale Lestaret original asemic work and I honestly couldn’t be happier. Click on the images below to supersize them;
I think i’m probably the recipient of some of the best unsolicited mail in Yorkshire. Sure, I get my fair share of double glazing quotes, credit card application forms and bills but every now and then something really special turns up on my doormat which makes me smile. A couple of days ago, this very envelope was retrieved from the usual tangle of postal rubbish and I knew there would be a rare treat inside;
I always tend to put such envelopes to one side util I can give them my full and undivided attention, that moment didn’t arrive until Tuesday morning and so with hushed reverence I carefully split the top flap and gingerly removed the following item from within;
This is a beautifully handmade booklet fashioned by none other than the good Mr Lestaret (who blogs here by the way), that arch mail artist and self-styled purveyor of patented curiology.
The paper used throughout appears to have been constructed by pasting sheets of older leaves together and has a wonderfully satisfying tactility about it, particularly at the edges.
As with a good many other pieces of Mr Lestaret’s mail art, particularly his booklets it all means absolutely nothing… but also means everything.
The end product is all. The feeling and smell when holding a physical book in the hands means more than words can ever hope to convey. There is a sense of love about these objects within their plain brown envelopes, of passion and pride, of being brought into existence just to exist.
I’m extremely proud to know Mr Lestaret personally and eternally pleased to be a recipient of his unique brand of curiology. Long may it continue to arrive through my letterbox!
There are way too many words cluttering up our lives and complicating everything unnecessarily. Why use one word when several can be utilised instead? The Blogosphere is a vast slab of verbiage the size of Jupiter. I won’t add to their number unduly here but I had to write a few lines about a rather remarkable book which is full of words without meaning. It’s called Underovary and is the third instalment in a planned tetralogy of asemic novels by the extremely talented Christopher Skinner.
Each page of this volume is filled with lines of text. Letters forming words which extend into paragraphs and chapters which are punctuated by diagrams, ciphers, glyphs – shapes of indeterminate origin. None of it actually means anything specific but it all makes some kind of perfect sense.
After explaining the concept of asemic writing to Junior Unsubscriber recently she sat quietly leafing through pages, absorbed utterly for a full half hour. This is indeed a rare feat for an eleven year old when confronted with the printed word, especially these days.
Underovary is very highly recommended reading and can be purchased directly from Christopher’s blurb shop (here) along with the other two titles. He also writes a blog under the name of Lestaret (here) which details a variety of his artistic endeavours. Further examples of his mail art have been featured on these very pages and can be found here and here
Here are a few examples of text from the book, all images are copyright Lestaret 2013;
Many Thanks to Christopher/Lestaret for providing the rather fetching asemic blog header.
It’s been a quiet week on the post front since my return from Scotland, mainly due to a temporary curtailment of eBay activities during this period. This has unfortunately meant that junk mail and bills have far outnumbered the packages containing books which usually brighten up my day. Yesterday however, the situation improved immeasurably as I received another envelope bearing the stamp of the esteemed Lestaret & Co.
I wrote about the mail art of Lestaret in June (here) after receiving a wonderful handmade book which was inspired by my Rural Weird mix which is still available for download (here). Once again I would highly recommend a visit to his blog (here) and web shop (here) as I always find his work intriguing. Now back to that envelope…
After prising open the small black envelope, I gingerly removed the following card;
I decided to run the main title through Google Translate and discovered it’s meaning to be “Pointless Specimen Identification” which elicited a hearty chuckle. Bizarrely enough, this small piece of text is a mixture of Swedish, Latin and Welsh. I then turned my attention to the interior of the card;
The plate depicting a ‘Common Bookworm’ which is subtitled “Oligochaeta Libri” is printed on beautifully textured, handmade card. The inscription on the card to the left of the plate is in Esperanto and was translated by Google as follows;
To be kept safe for easy reference.
If identified within your establishment alert the ministry of librarian things are going.
Penalty for failure to conform is unpleasant and probable cause social disgrace, speech impediments and loss of appetite.
Below this text is another line of Esperanto meaning “Citizen Notified” followed by my name which is hand written in cursive script. It’s all marvellously odd and wonderfully unique, two qualities which I have come to associate with all post I receive bearing a Lestaret stamp. If it’s good enough for His Excellency Viscount Runcible of Arbourthorne then it’s good enough for the humble unsubscriber – keeping checking your bookshelves!
Here’s a final shot of the plate as researched and catalogued by the erstwhile Messrs. Lestaret & Co.
The surly postman often brings me a variety of wonderful objects which almost make up for the bills, flyers and junk mail he litters my hallway with each morning. Recently he has been delivering dozens of old books, the result of a rather good run of eBay auctions. Last Friday however, he dropped something through the letterbox which was wholly unexpected but highly desirable.
I occasionally receive pieces of fantastic mail art from a rather talented chap called Lestaret. His envelopes are instantly recognisable due to the elaborate decorations they bear and always bring a smile to my face as I carefully prise them open in the knowledge that another beautifully constructed curio awaits my attention. Inside this envelope was a most intriguing little handmade book which, according to the stamp affixed to the rear cover was inspired by my recent Rural Weird mix (here).
The book measures a little over 11×8 cm, has covers made from corrugated cardboard and is stab bound with a rough twine. The five leaves within appear to have been recycled from another volume and are overprinted with strange monochrome images, the final page features lyrics from the old English folk song John Barleycorn. It’s all very wonderfully, rurally weird.
Lestaret has a blog (here) which documents his many artistic endeavours and is highly recommended reading. He also has an online shop (here) that stocks some of the pieces which he produces, his up-cycled computer key and guitar knob badges are an essential purchase. This tiny volume is not for sale however and is a limited edition of just five, all of which have been posted to lucky recipients around the world. I feel very honoured to have provided the inspiration for this beautiful piece of patented curiology as issued by The Ministry of Lestaret.