Sacha Baumann is an artist and designer living and working in Los Angeles.

Fragmenting friends

A couple of weeks ago a tweet came through my feed that sparked my curiosity: "Sign up HERE to be a part of the Brown Paper Bag Collage Scrap Exchange!" I promptly clicked the link and was delighted to read that Sara Barnes was organizing a collaborative collage project. Totally up my alley.

Like so many other people who work with paper (I assume, I hope, please don't let me be the only crazy hoarder), I have a large collection of scraps. If I cut something from a page of a magazine for a collage (say, a melting Spam sandwich or a spiky pair of heels) I don't throw away the remaining pieces of the page--I hang on to them. Or if I'm flipping through a catalog in a doctor's office and a particularly ridiculous phrase in an advertisement strikes me, I tear out the page. Years of doing this has created stacks of tears and scraps. And I'm attached to them. But I also recognize that it's slightly ridiculous to be holding on to a 3 x 6 inches torn piece of magazine with the picture of a particular fuzzy pink texture I love. For 5 years.

I was also attracted to the exchange because I am fascinated by the creative process of other artists. Art voyeurism is highly enjoyable for me. As is collaborating with others. And, if you know me at all, you know I LOVE sending art through the mail. (Hopefully you've received some from me. If not: email me your address.)

I signed up for the exchange and within a few days I received an email from Sara with my randomly selected match: Sandy. We had a few emails back and forth working out the address (Sandy initially didn't put a country, but the "zip code" certainly was not American). I'm not sure if Sandy is male or female--but whichever, he/she doesn't yet have a website set up (hence no link here), is crazy about zines, and has just graduated from "uni." Sandy is cool and enthusiastic.

I put together a pile from my piles and stuffed them into a big envelope to send off to my new collage-making friend:

Today I went to the post office to ship off the scraps to the U.K. The postwoman was about to toss the envelope in the International mailbag, and I thought, "Gee, that blank white envelope looks boring." I asked for envelope back and took it home for a quick (albeit dramatic) facelift. The results:

The scrappy envelope now sits in my mailbox for tomorrow's pickup. Hoping the postoffice here and abroad enjoys my somewhat silly presentation, maybe even makes note of our website addresses. And that it gets to Sandy safely. And sometime before the end of the year. Snail mail is cool--but awfully slow.

I'm looking forward to receiving my own envelope from overseas. I'll make something from the scraps and post the results.

Big thanks to Sara Barnes for organizing this exchange. (Check out her Tumblr–Sara's not just an art blogger, she's a brilliant artist in her own right.)

Hoarding and collaborating go hand and hand. Who knew?

Minis made by me

a non-fictionalized account of actual events