September is one of those months I get really excited about: new school supplies in the aisles, warmer weather takes over (note: SF’s “summer season” has arrived!), and Halloween is right around the corner.
Filling the last of my pre-“back to school” days, I’ve been working on a project for friend and postal correspondent extraordinaire, Alyson Kuhn. Let’s just say the project involves Mr. Zip, perforations, and a trip to the National Postal Museum this week!
Here’s the skinny: this coming Sunday, September 22nd, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum is unveiling the William H. Gross Gallery – home to the largest and most complete collection of philatelic treasures in the world.
Exciting, right? But things got even more exciting when I found out that Alyson was organizing a Correspondence Salon for Ladies and Gentlemen on the day of the event. The more I heard about the Salon (correspondence kits, letterpress blotters, a selection of themed postage) the more I wanted to be involved. “I could design a commemorative Cinderella for the occasion, something to go along with the Correspondence Kits,” I suggested (with fingers crossed); Alyson thought it was a great idea and work got underway, right away!
Rolling up my sleeves, I settled down to design some Zippy cinderellas. When completed (and printed!) it was time to step away from the computer and move into the studio.
(but I obviously had to clear some table space first!)
Imagine: when you get behind the wheel of a car and head out to a place you’ve never been before, you usually consult a map of some sort, whether digital or paper. Perforating a big job is kinda the same: I usually print up a “road map” of guidelines that tell me where to perf and where to trim…
Then it’s show time! Each artistamp sheet had twelve rows of perf-ing per sheet. Did I mention that I was putting together four hundred of these guys? No? Well…
But here’s the tricky part: after everything gets perforated, it has to be trimmed down. Did you see that narrow horizontal space between two perfed rows, in the center of the paper (previous photo, above)? That’s where I had to make my first horizontal trim. I held my breath every time I made a cut!
The next-to-last part of the process involved hand stamping each Cinderella sheet. I decided to use primary color (ink pads) since I didn’t want to distract from the overall design – and you can never go wrong with blue, red, and black, right? Small sized cancellation stamps came in handy for this part of the process, as well as my trusty date stamper (which I used to number each sheet).
Overall, the project took about a month to put together, from start (initial design) to finish (shipping it off to the museum). And what a dream project: creating a set of artistamps for an event taking place at the National Postal Museum, while working with one of my favorite philatelist friends.
The dream gets even better: I’ll be attending the event at the National Postal Museum in person! It will be my first time at the museum and I’m overjoyed to be present for such an auspicious occasion. I expect the weekend will be somewhere along the lines of “Christmas-Day-combined-with-everything-you’ve-ever-hoped-for”, in relation to my mood.
So here’s a question for you, dear RLD readers! Will anyone else be stopping by the NPM on September 22nd? If the answer is “yes”, we should have a get together! I hear that America’s first Postmaster (Ben Franklin) is going to put in an appearance, and possibly Mr. Zip (gasp!). And then there’s that whole “special cancellation of the day” thing…you better believe I’m bringing handfuls of mail art to send out with THAT special postmark.
Hoping to cross paths postally or in person!
PS: now I’ve gone and done it – that’s right. Red Letter Day is on Instagram and I’ll be sending out photos from the event! If interested, you can find me by searching “red letter day zine”…