Mixing & Machin

Rainbow Patchwork Stamp Art by TangleCraftsIt’s a long time since I made one of these! ‘Postal patchwork’ was one of my first forays into stamp art, and every now and then, I still get requests for them.

Stamp Art WIP by TangleCraftsThe geometric designs are created by slicing the stamps in half diagonally, then realigning against the same design stamp in a mismatched colour.  I love the way the colours interact and bounce off each other…not to mention the creation of some fun two-tone profiles of the Queen, where two stamps join!  The rainbow spectrum has a striking kaleidoscopic effect, but tonal colour schemes also work well. I once made a whole series in different colour combinations for a private gallery in the US…

Machin Stamp Art by TangleCrafts

My stamp art ‘career’ began with Machins – of which I now have way too many to ever count! It’s the stamp I grew up with, so I have a bit of a sentimental attachment to it; and I’m also pretty sure that there is no other country that can claim such a vast array of colours to a single definitive stamp design.  Having said that, though, the patchwork principle would be just as effective with any definitive stamps, so long as the only design variable is the colour.

ladybird 1 edSomething else that I grew up with is Ladybird books! I was recently looking through my copy of the Ladybird Book of Stamp Collecting (published in 1969). It is largely an overview of thematic stamps, but it also has sections on a few postal curiosities, and aladybird 4 eds I was flipping through, the small section on ‘bisect’ stamps caught my eye. These are stamps that have been cut in half diagonally but were still legitimate postal tender.  Quite a few instances of the practice are documented, from various quarters of the world, but the Ladybird book shows British stamps issued in 1940, during the German occupation of the Channel Islands. Stocks of penny stamps were running low so the Post Office authorised the use of 2 pence stamps cut in half diagonally to count for half the face value. Genius! This was of course decades before the issue of the first Machin stamp; but perhaps the concept was lurking somewhere deep in my subconscious when I first started playing with postal patchwork those years ago…

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