Progressing in Postal Patchwork…

Now THIS was fun!

Purple Postal PatchworkWhen I first started dabbling in patchwork-style collage with postage stamps, it was enough for me to see a variety of tone-on-tone colours in serendipitous side-by-side placement (left).  Today, however, my attraction to creating more collages using this style of stampification was definitely on the wane – lots of stamps everywhere around me, but somehow not quite the right level of inspiration…  (I have been in a state of what might be called overdrive since stampifying my first notebook and so this was a natural & perhaps overdue decline in enthusiasm.)  Then – out of nowhere! – I was motivated to return to my old favourite Machins and…start cutting them up!

Diamond Patchwork ExperimentAfter spending a little time pondering the absolute sameness of the Machin stamp design – each issue identical in size and image, the only variable being in the colour – I just wanted to see what would happen if I took one half away and replaced it with an identical half in a contrasting colour.  I’ll tell you what happened, it captured my imagination!

The diamond pattern notebook (above right) is the result of my first experiment, but I suspect an investigation into quilt block patterns may not be too far behind.  This postal patchwork technique has real possibilities!  As you can probably tell by my overuse of exclamation marks, I am genuinely caught up in enthusiasm for this idea.  Will post some more pics once time allows further experimentation…

Stampy stampy goodness!

Although all has been quiet on the TangleBlog-front of late, anyone who has been watching the TangleStore will have seen a flurry of activity throughout January.  I’ve been going stamp-notebook crazy with more of the Machin patchworks as seen in my December post (every colour of the rainbow now available! 😉 ) and then expanding my repertoire to include older vintage stamps from around the world, and a slightly different style of collage.  I’ve also added some frameable postcards to the range:

Vintage Rainbow

Venturing out into a different corner of the postage stamp world definitely has inspired me.  The colours, styles & production values and all my (ongoing) postage stamp projects culminated in the design of a brand new TangleStamp – and anyone who is familiar with my previous TangleStamp designs will see that this has been a big change of direction for me!

MC3 standard editionThis journey is documented in the equally brand new issue of MailCraft #3, which follows through these projects and thought processes.  It also includes mini-tutorials for very simple postage stamp collage, if you want to give it a try yourself.  MailCraft #3 is currently available as a standard 24 page edition with plain kraft cover and self-adhesive TangleStamp insert MC3 Limited EditionOR (while stocks last!) a numbered, limited edition of 10 copies which has a bonus outer cover which can be transformed into a postcard with your own collage, plus a gummed (lick & stick), hand-perforated TangleStamp insert.
 (The special editions will be listed one by one, as they are sold, so don’t despair if you don’t see one in the TangleStore when you look: the next numbered issue will be re-listed within 24 hours of a sale.)

Rainbow Definitives

Another crafternoon…

December frequently escapes me somewhat, with birthdays, increased busy-ness at work, and the forthcoming seasonal festivities, all piling on top of my days which already feel very full.  But earlier this week I did manage to make time for another get-together with the lovely Britta of JaguarSnail.  We had some fun playing with my new envelope punchboard – we struggled to follow the instructions, bluffed our way through to success by trial & error, then found that the instructions did make sense, after all… 😉  I really love the results & there will definitely be new TangleMail-designed envelopes  coming soon (probably not until the new year).

Britta brought with her a brand new zine, the seeds of which were sown on our last crafternoon a few weeks ago.  On that day she made a miniature mock-up of the concept, and I have to say she’s done an awesome job of following it through.  If you have ever aspired to invent a new life form, this is the mini-zine for you!

Mythical JaguarSnailEach page features an ordinary creature – man, lion, eagle, cobra, goat and carp (some interesting choices!) – and each page is split into 3 segments so that you can mix & match your own mythical beast!  There is even a section at the back of the zine where you can log and name your favourite hybrid creations.  The drawings are really cleverly done, with lots of character, and perfectly aligned so that any combination (of the many possible!) slots together smoothly – yet another example of Britta’s talent!  There are only currently 5 copies available of this labour-intensive, slightly-larger-than-average mini-zine, so don’t miss out!

first class notebooksBritta was also inspired by the sea of stamps that were overflowing in a corner of my craft room, and followed up on her previous stampy works by customising a couple of stray notebooks I had lying around.  One of these was snapped up overnight (the other is still available, at time of writing), inspiring me in turn to follow her example – see pic to the right for even more First Class Notebooks, this time stampified by me.  These are all one-of-a-kind creations, so if one of them catches your eye, be quick!

There’s something about that repeated motif – the same but different every time, thanks to the unique combinations of postmarks – and the patchwork effect of the randomly combined colours that never fails to fascinate me…

Britta and I generally have no problem thinking of new creative ideas, but our ‘crafternoons’ are definitely motivational for both of us to actually get down to putting the ideas into practice.  When I say that a sea of stamps was overflowing in my room, I’m actually being literal rather than gratuitously poetic – but now we have actually made a real start on crafting them, I feel far less like I am about to drown in them…!

Here’s to crafty afternoons!

Faux postage Wonderland

alice badgeI recently acquired a lovely collection of used stamps which were designed in 1979 to celebrate the Year of the Child.  They feature classic illustrations from classic British children’s literature: Peter Rabbit, the Wind in the Willows, Winnie the Pooh, and Alice in Wonderland.  Unsurprisingly, I could not resist upcycling them into badges (click on pic above right to view full range).

While I was browsing around this subject, I discovered something quite wonderful: real (well, ‘official’, at least) Alice in Wonderland faux postage stamps which were issued on special edition first day covers when the Alice stamp from the series mentioned above was released (the pic below is an amalgam of 4 different envelopes).  There are 4 different Wonderland stamps: the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and Tweedledum & Tweedledee.  Better than that, each is postmarked from a different ‘region’ of Wonderland, including Hattersville, and the Pool of Tears (I might have expected this one to have been somewhat blurrier…), and each has its own little quirky detail in the design to tie it further into Wonderland.  I love it!  Just wanted to share…

faux postage wonderland

Perfect perforations?

ghana stampRecently I posted a comparison chart of perforation methods for faux postage stamps, and the results thereof. But today, while I was sorting through some excess real postage stamps for clearance, I came across this lovely (tiny!) stamp from Ghana. I have no idea of its age, but I assume its quite likely that more recent stamps from the same region have the ‘perfect’ perforations we generally associate with postage stamps; but I truly love the imperfection of this little sample. It was sold & sent exactly as you see, and I’m sure no-one once questioned why the perforations were not pristine.

Why am I bothering to share this? I just thought it might help assuage doubts if you are afraid your own faux postage doesn’t look ‘professional’ enough. Clearly it does! (And anyway, in mail art, the individuality of your stamps is what makes them more interesting. So there.)

Project Dissimulation Update

When my mum came to visit last week, she brought with her a sheet of Chinese ‘lovebird’ stamps cut from a bubble envelope, which they had clearly very nearly covered.

lovebird stamps

She had found them when sorting through some of my dad’s effects, and was happy to donate them to Project Dissimulation – it seemed about as fitting as could be!

lovebird badgesToday, I discovered they were perfectly sized for upcycling as badges, so that was indeed their destiny.  I feel like I have made hundreds of badges for the Project so far (although it is possibly not quite so many), but these particular ones definitely hold a special kind of piquancy for me, and I will definitely be keeping one for myself, as well as sending one each home for my mum & sister.

If you would love a lovebird, too, you know where to find them…  (As always, all proceeds will be donated to Beating Bowel Cancer.)

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.