Saturday, May 8, 2010

DECO - Decorative Booklet

What is a deco?
Deco (short for decorative booklet) is a small booklet made by one artist, and then delivered to other artists, each working on one page. When all the pages are done and the deco is full, the deco is being returned to the artist who created it.
The artist creating the deco chooses its subject, and the other artists give their interpretation of the subject. The subject of the deco can be anything you like, abstract or not.

What is a deco made of?
A deco can be created from various materials, keeping two things in mind:
It must be durable as it is often sent via mail, sometimes overseas.
It should be small enough to fit into an envelope and light in weight so it won't require extra postage.
Therefore, the basic deco is a bit smaller than a standard envelope and is made of paper. It can also be smaller, but it usually isn't bigger.
You don't want to put a lot of pages in your deco, as the often transitions between artists increase its chances to get lost and never to be returned to you. 5-7 pages are likely to be enough in order to enjoy a selection of participating works, but not too many.

How to create a deco?
The cover is made by the artist who creates the deco. You can decorate both the front and the back outer covers, with photography, painting or collage work.
The inside cover should contain the relevant information which enables to return the deco to the artist who created it.Because the deco is being delivered from one artist to another, and eventually it is supposed to be returned to its owner, it is very important to provide the relevant information: the subject of the deco, to whom it is intended and by whom it was created (sometimes one artist makes a deco for another artist, as a gift or as a surprise), and both email and mailing address.
The inner pages can be made of paper or cardstock. Some artists prefer to work on a separate page and then adhere it onto the deco's page, so everything should be durable.
Binding the pages can be done in various ways: sewing, using eyelets, tied by ribbons, glued or folded in a special way - just not with simple stapler pins.

How long does it take to work in a deco?
It is considered reasonable to keep the deco for no longer than a month. One of the important things in mail art is not to get stuck at work, because then you may forget the deco or it may get lost.

Who can work in a deco?
Anyone can work in a deco. Most artists use collage but you can use almost any technique, as long as the deco doesn't become too heavy or thick and can still fit into an envelope.
You can use photos, draw, stamp, add 3D embellishments (such as eyelets, brads, buttons, ribbons, fabric etc.), or you can combine several techniques.

How is the deco delivered?
Each artist who works in the deco delivers it to the following artist who's willing to work in the deco, and the last one working in it returns it to its owner.
It is recommended to make a list of the artists who will work in your deco, so you can track it and let people know where to send it after working in it.
Delivery is usually via mail, and communication is usually via email.

Why work in a deco?
Unlike other altered art or mail art objects, the deco combines works of various artists.
It is interesting, intriguing and challenging to give your artistic interpretation of a subject chosen by someone else.
It's great to receive your deco back after traveling between artists, sometimes around the world, and see their works.
It enables creativity and discussion about techniques and ideas.

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