Faux postage trials, Part 1

As you can see from my previous post, faux postage has been on my mind, lately.  A few days ago, I started work on a set of new text-based artistamps perforation comparison(right, still a work in progress!).  Inspired by Beanie Mouse & his tracing wheel I decided to think about alternative methods of perforation.  My fallback method is to print rows of dots – faux perforations – onto the sheet of artistamp designs, then either use the perforating blade of my paper trimmer to perforate along the rows, or just cut out by hand with scissors. fayc perforations There’s nothing wrong with this method: at a glance, the stamps do indeed look perforated, and when the paper trimmer is applied, do indeed tear off like perforated stamps; however the optical illusion doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny, and as soon as the stamps are separated, the gig is pretty much up (unless stuck to a dark background, in which case the black of the faux perforation half-holes blends in nicely).

So I did some trial runs to compare visually the results of some different perforation types:

perforation flow charts

Results, from left to right:

  • Inarguably, the most successful method of perforation is the paper trimmer.  My only problem here is that the edges of the finished artistamp do not look sufficiently stamp-like (for my taste).  But it works, there’s no denying that.
  • Tracing wheel #1 has a pin-style wheel and I thought might produce cleaner, more holey perforations.  However, the spacing of the pins meant that the perforations were far too far apart, and when separated looked like the (less sharp) inverse of the paper trimmer’s perforating blade: marginally more stamp-like, but much rougher.
  • Tracing wheel #2 has a serrated wheel and was far more successful (I believe this is the type of wheel used by Beanie!).  The perforations were much closer together & far more stamp-like before tearing off stamps – an aesthetically pleasing start!  And although there is still an element of ‘fluffiness’ where the paper is torn apart to separate stamps, it is less obvious than with the pin-type wheel, as there is less paper between each perforation.  Definitely my preferred method of the three, although clearly has a more rustic ‘flavour’ than the crisp paper-trimmed edges!

A top tip, whichever method of perforation you use (with the possible exception of the paper trimmer) is to always fold and crease along the row of perforations before tearing, which creates a much neater edge, and minimises the fluffiness.  I tried using tracing wheel #2 on a variety of papers (the one in the picture is white kraft paper) in case the fluffiness was accentuated by the fibres of a recycled paper, but it made little difference – this kind of fluffiness you will always get along a paper edge when torn by hand, whether aided by perforations or not.

Artistamp by Sam Farman, AustraliaA similar result can be achieved by perforating paper using an unthreaded needle in a sewing machine – sadly I could not demonstrate this method as I have still not learned to control my tiny sewing machine sufficiently to achieve a straight line…  (But the results can be seen around the edges of the artistamp by Sam Farman, shown right.)

I have tried the tracing wheel method of perforation previously, and the only reason I didn’t use it for my original TangleStamps is because I like to add a self-adhesive backing to them, and this added thickness was far harder for the tracing wheel to perforate.  I’ve ordered some new papers, though, and will soon be experimenting with different methods of adhesion, so watch this space for Faux Postage Trials, Part 2!

Click here for my original Faux Postage Q & A from 2010...

Friends & Faux is back!

I first hosted Friends & Faux back in 2010 and although slightly fewer project postcards made it home due to my moving house (twice) than might otherwise have done, it was still an awesomely fun project to co-ordinate.  The project postcards feature ‘gallery’ spaces for 8 artistamps/faux postage stamps, and are filled up as they are passed from one mail artist to the next before the completed card finally returns home.  I recently compiled 3 mini-zines showcasing the completed postcards that arrived home safely.  And I’ve also been preparing for a re-launch of the project…

FF1

ff logoFriends & Faux (version 2) has a new logo, plus its very own blog where I will be posting regular updates on postcards sent out into the world, progress reports from participants as they add their artistamps, and, of course, the homecoming celebrations!  I will also add random faux postage/mail art snippets, on occasion.  During F&F Version 1, I was alerted to the fact that some of my handmade postcards did not withstand the rigours of multiple mailings too well (peeling surfaces etc) so I have had the new postcards professionally printed to hopefully avoid a similar fate.  And if I move house again (please join me in hoping not!), I have implemented a new way of accessing the postcard return address, so hopefully I will be able to keep on top of any unexpected changes much better this time around..,

As of yesterday, the first 20 postcards are on their way out to who knows what adventures in the world, and more will follow in the near future.  Friends & Faux postcardIf you would like to learn more about the project, please visit the F&F blog, and if you would like to join in the project, you will find a brand new Friends & Faux Filately section in theTangleStore.  In fact, you can request an F&F postcard as an absolutely free add-on with any purchase at all from the TangleStore or ETPrintworks.  More news to follow, as it occurs! 🙂

Project Dissimulation Update

Project Dissimulation Badges Vol. iSince I listed the first mini zine and badges for Project Dissimulation, in aid of Beating Bowel Cancer, I have been able to make two donations to the charity:

  • May 29th: £37.50
  • August 21st: £21.25

It might not sound like a huge amount, but I’m really happy to be able to make a difference – however small – for this good cause.

Since I began this project, I have added a second zine (bird-themed artistamps) to the series, as well as some packets of used postage stamps for your own crafty creations.  Please stop by the TangleStore’s Project Dissimulation page to view all current offerings.  There are lots of Etsy sellers out there trying to make a difference, so if you want to help them out, too, see some of the stunning items available in the Delicious Ambiguity Treasury.

Stamps!

Project Dissimulation logoJust a reminder that I still have an open call for bird-themed used stamps (& artistamps) for Project Dissimulation.  I’ve received some beautiful stamps already, and am really looking forward to craftifying them!  The first Project zine will be issued in April, to coincide with Bowel Cancer Awareness Month (in the UK; not sure if this is international or not), but I will be continuing to collect stamps & artistamps for the project & will release further mini-zines as material is collected.  Follow the link for full details of the Project & how you can help.

Postal Ephemera PackIf you’re fond of postage stamps but don’t have any bird stamps for the Project, don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you!  I’ve also recently decided to clear out some of my excess hoard of used Machin stamps – can I tempt you?  I’ve put together some colour themed packs in the TangleStore so that you can creatively upcycle them however you Machin Gift Setchoose, because with the best will in the world, I will never have enough time to use them all myself!  I’ve also put together a couple of packs with a stamp-upcycling mini-zine for inspiration.  This mini-zine was written in 2011 but hasn’t been available for sale before & will only be available now while my stocks of these used stamps remain.  See listings for more pics & info.

Friends & Faux – another wanderer returns!

The third Friends and Faux postcard has made it home!
(Well, actually the 33rd…)


This postcard has not travelled as far and wide as some – it first travelled to Canada…then stayed there!  But it still displays a great selection of artistamps, including 2 hand-carved beauties for true mail art ‘traditionalists’ 😉 .  I especially love Misti Ko’s additional hand-carved cancellation mark – sweet touch!  It should also be noted that a true mail art celebrity has hereby joined the project: Anna Banana, prominent & proactive mail artist over the last few decades, I’m very happy to welcome you to the Friends & Faux fun. 🙂

We also have updates on several more postcards, including another celebrity contribution, with the return of Beanie Mouse.  You can read the full photo-story on the found-art blog – there’s even a separate post  showing Beanie Mouse making his own artistamps, and flipping through his album!  The other postcards that have touched base but continue to travel are 21, 27, 42 and 45:

…and just as I was posting this, another update arrived!  F&F 59 is another one that is going Canada crazy: 🙂

Don’t forget if you would like to join the project & add your own artistamp to a Friends & Faux Postcard, just send me an email.  Likewise, if you have added your own artistamp to a card already, please drop me a quick line with a photo/scan of the postcard so far (plus your name and address) to receive a FREE zine at the end of the project (sometime still in the dim and distant future…).

Special request: Have you received a Friends & Faux postcard but can’t think who to send it on to? Please get in touch using the link above.

Friends & Faux: the Postcards’ Progress

It’s only a couple of weeks since my last report on the Friends & Faux project, but the updates have been rolling in, so I thought it was time to share. 🙂

First up is Beanie Mouse, a contributor to Friends & Faux #1, whose contribution I failed to highlight at the time.  To make amends, here he is watching the glue dry on the stamp he has just applied to the postcard.  You can see more pics of Beanie Mouse inspecting the mail he receives, and even with gluestick in hand at the Found-Art Blogspot.

In the last month, I have sent out a further 16 postcards – you can track their progress here.  Or you can request a postcard to be sent for you to add your own artistamp by simply dropping me a line. If a mouse can do it, so can you! In the meantime, here are the updates received for postcards 26, 32 & 33…:

Friends & Faux – beginnings

As the Going Postal project draws to a close (end August),
the
Friends and Faux project is still barely in its infancy!  For this project, I am sending out postcards, stamped by the Local Post of Tangledom, and asking recipients to add their own faux postage stamp to the cad – then pass it on.  There is space on each postcard for 8 artistamps, which once full – I hope! – will return home to me, so I can document their journey.  Anyone who adds an artistamp to one of the (numbered) project postcards and sends a scan/photo to me of their contribution before mailing it onward will receive a free copy of…whatever zine emerges, once the project ends…!
Click here for full details.

So far, only 34 numbered Friends & Faux postcards are ‘out there’ in the world!  I have been logging their journeys here.  But I will be sending out a new batch soon.  Would you like to take part?  Just drop me a line with your name and postal address and a new postcard will be logged to meander in your direction.  Have you requested a postcard previously and not received it?  Please get in touch again & I will send you a new postcard.

Friends and Faux Postcard #1 (shown below) is the best-travelled so far, having reached (and been despatched from?) it’s 4th destination.  Sadly, I have lost the scan I was sent by recipient #2, but here is how it looked after its first stop:

Can’t wait to see how different it looks if/when it makes it home!

And here are a couple more postcards-in-progress, currently wending their way around the world…  As you can see, anything goes, in terms of style & embellishment.  For the sake of uniformity, I used the same TangleStamp to start each card (although I might now begin varying which I use), but the postmark design already shows 2 variations, and the next batch will show my most recent acquisition/variation.  But just a note, you do not have to have your own postcard stamp to play this game!  It’s all about the artistamps: