Tuesday, April 1, 2014


I don't collect stamps, although I admire them.  I have occasionally bought bags of old stamps, or children's stamp collections, for pocket change at a local resale shop.  I tend to organize them by color, for use in my collage work, like this:

I have bags of blue stamps, violet stamps, greens, and oranges/golds/browns, as well.  Some are from the USA, but many are not.  I also have little bags of stamps about writers and artists, the Olympics, holidays, and stamps commemorating US states and territories.  Frankly, I have no idea what to do with those. 

At any rate, I recently checked Nick Bantock's most recent book, The Trickster's Hat, out from our local library.  Unlike Urgent 2nd Class, which discusses more of the artist's technique and materials, The Tricker's Hat is a series of exercises meant to develop creativity both in writing and visual arts.  Perhaps some of the activities are from his workshops.  One of the exercises was to create a small (1.5 x 3 inch) collage using old postage stamps.  The idea was to work quickly, and create a small landscape using bits of stamps torn by hand.  He recommends cutting off the perforated white borders first.

This is what I came up with.  It won't set the world on fire, but it's interesting.  I have a real fondness for tiny artworks, especially those which incorporate bits of paper ephemera.  I find that people can often glide past a large painting and murmur sweet nothings, never really stopping to look closely.  But these little artworks make people stop, stare, and try to figure out what they are seeing. Here it's not only the wee engraving and portraits, it's also the cancellation stamp that leaves a bit of visual texture.  I was fascinated by the results.

This is my second attempt.  This time instead of  working completely from imagination, I had an old photo from a vacation. The original featured green fields in the foreground, a sliver of water, distant fields and a pale sky.  I'm not sure I like this collage as well, and perhaps it is because the torn stamp in no real way resemble the source.  Perhaps imagination is better for this sort of thing.