Art Stamped: Bringing stamps into our lives

Posted by iChild, December 06, 2017 5:15 PM

By Art Stamped

Every postage stamp tells a story. Put lots of stamps together and they’ll take you on an epic journey: around the world, into the wild, across battlefields, back to the Jurassic era, even into space. You’ll find inventions, tales of exploration, history re-told, something that makes you think, something that makes you laugh. You might even fall in love!

Poppies

I discovered stamps as a child, spending my pocket money in my local stamp shop, attempting to complete my Stanley Gibbons GB stamp album. I’d spend hours admiring these little works of art that taught me things about the world, and about myself. They prompted me to ask questions which my parents or grandparents would try to answer. And I showed some of my favourite stamp treasures to my friends at school. It was a social and educational hobby. With the duplicate stamps I had, I’d make little origami flowers out of them. And at 13 years old, I took over 1,000 duplicates, worth very little in monetary terms, and collaged a giant flower, which, a couple of decades on, is still framed on display at Mum and Dad’s house!

As I’ve aged (along with my collection), I still discover something new every day from the wonderful world of philately – the collection and study of postage stamps.  I also, sadly, see the hobby in decline amongst younger people, especially children. So, in 2014, when my wonderful Granny left me a little money for me to go follow my dreams, I set out on my own epic stamp journey. My objective? Get more stamps on show and into people’s lives. It’s not always easy to start a new hobby. Like horse-riding, calligraphy, astronomy or cooking, you don’t even start with the basics. You start with the inspiration. Seeing someone’s beautiful handwriting or hearing someone talk with utter joy of a cake they baked. Art Stamped aims to be that inspiration. To get someone started:

I create artwork from stamps, and provide stamps and guidance to those who want to make their own.

This is a Highland Cow piece, made with real postage stamps featuring highland cows, the Flying Scotsman train, a salmon and the Glenfinnan landscape.

Highland cow

These are real cricket balls covered in Victorian penny red postage stamps, made for dinner centrepieces at Lord's Cricket Ground.

Cricket_Balls

This is a map of Africa using African postage stamps with the heat of the Sahara in red. There are birds, flowers, fish, cheetahs and an elephant in this piece!

Africa

I also run workshops with children where they make a card, a magnet, a phone cover or a piece of artwork themselves. As they look for the stamps they want to use, we tell stories. This stamp is older than your parents! This stamp comes in over 50 different colours. This one has never been used. This stamp is really thin because it was issued during the war at a time of rationing. This stamp was overprinted when England won the World Cup! You can teach history, maths, science, geography, art and more through stamps. Stamps also teach us invaluable skills from researching and interpretation, to patience and creativity. This London piece is part of the Art Stamped Skyline series:

 

Skyline

The history of postage stamps talks of opening up communication, boosting social mobility, enabling partnerships and capturing moments in time. Stamps have a job to do! I believe that the future of postage stamps will continue in this vain. Collecting, studying and getting creative with these little story tellers can take any path. That’s the wonderful thing about this hobby; it is infinite in its possibilities. You collect animal stamps and then start to specialise in dogs but then find one picturing a dog in space and suddenly you’re rocketing off into a whole new theme (or thematic as we say in the stamp collecting world). This Edinburgh Skyline is the latest in the Art Stamped Skyline series.Edinburgh

 

One of my favourite stamp collections is my ‘coffee table’ album, simply for non-collectors to browse. It contains some of my favourite stamps. They are not necessarily rare or expensive, but they make me smile. There are stamps made of fabric, ones that change colour when you touch them and even stamps that contain a seed so that you can plant them and create life. I have a stamp postmarked from the day I was born and one that smells of strawberries. So why not ask some family members and friends if they have a stamp collection you can take a look at. You can buy some stamps or even buy a whole album for just a few pounds at stamp fairs or online. Look for the PTS Shield to be assured of a reputable dealer from the Philatelic Traders Society. And when you receive a letter in the post, take a look at the stamp and save it. Your next piece of mail might be the start of a new collection. This peacock has been created using stamps from 58 countries!

Peacock

If you are interested in using postage stamps to create a piece of artwork or a small keepsake, I recommend you break the task down into three stages. i) design the piece ii) source the stamps you need for the piece and iii) create the piece. You might decide to work with colours, thematics, countries or even shapes. You can find round postage stamps, diamond shaped ones and even one shaped like a banana! If you are worried about gluing or cutting something of value, reach out to someone you know in the stamp collecting world (you know me now!) and ask for more information about the stamp. I’ve seen artwork and crafts where stamps have been cut, folded, coloured in, painted around and covered in glitter. My ‘50 Years of the Machin’ piece gives the Queen’s head a new look in 50 stamps – from holding a glass of champagne, to wearing some bright red lipstick, to growing a beard! I’d love to see what you create! I’d also love to hear of your growing stamp collections. This Union Jack is made entirely from British postage stamps. 

UniotJack

If you have any questions, you can reach out to me at suzanne@artstamped.com.

There are some fantastic resources available for taking that first jump into the great stamp unknown. You’ll be on your own epic journey in no time! 

Happy stamping!

By Art Stamped

Comments

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Thx for sharing, just attended a stampclub here where I live, 🇩🇰, and it's one of DK,s biggest stampclubs with app 150 members, but to my surprise only a handful were younger than me (56) - so it's refreshing 2 hear from someone like u, younger than most collector's .... Regards, Claus

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