My very talented and artsy friend Polly has been quite literally going postal with her latest project, it’s an exhibition of her stamp-themed work and you can see it at the Bath Postal Museum until the end of summer. I always find it fascinating to find out how exhibitions come together, so I had a chat with Polly to discover a bit more about her Special Delivery.
It would have been nice to have done this via letters, but have you seen the price of stamps recently? So, instead, and somewhat ironically this chat was conducted via the electronic medium of email.
Jack: So, what was the spark for this project?
Polly: The project started mainly because of trying to use things up! I like to make my own Christmas cards as I think it’s more personal, I didn’t want to buy more materials for them and I had some tiny postcards and some old stamps I’d picked up at a car boot sale lying around. I picked out all the Christmas ones, stuck them onto the mini postcards and then drew little “frames” around them which used the colours and shapes from the stamp design.
The director of Bath Postal Museum saw a picture of them I’d put on facebook and asked me to go in for a meeting about an exhibition. I realised during the meeting that post was a bit of a recurring theme in my life, and then it all snowballed from there really!
Jack: Is there any stamp in particular that you found inspiring? (Or any inspiring letter? (Have you seen Letters of Note by the way?))
Polly: I really like the 1998 Christmas stamps with angels, and there were some 1999 Eire bird stamps which I used a lot for my collages. I also found some amazing vintage Czechoslovakian and Polish stamps on Pinterest [they’re on the Stamps and Post board :)] which were very folk art style. When I was making my giant stamp bunting, they were a big inspiration.
Another inspiration was a package I received when I was 13, from Japan. It had so many stamps on it that apart from where the address was written, the whole of the front of the envelope was covered! They were all really interesting stamps (I remember one had a picture of Godzilla), and I think the person sending it had probably used as many as possible so I got to see all the different designs. It definitely influenced the collages, and I made an envelope completely covered in stamps which owes a lot to that package! (And yes I like Letters of Note)
Jack: What was the last postcard you sent?
Polly: The last postcard I sent was probably a long time ago…I think I sent some from York in January 2013. I did send a gigantic parcel and card to a friend the other day though. And I write letters.
Jack: Doesn’t philately (the proper name for stamp collecting) sound a bit rude?
Polly: Yes I do think philately sounds a bit rude! I can’t say it without smirking.
Jack: It feels a bit weird asking you questions about letters and post cards via email, do you think that postcards will ever go away?
Polly: I don’t think postcards/letters etc will ever go away! I think there might actually be a return to more snail mail, people seem to be realising that it can be really personal and lovely and creative. In doing research I found a lot of blogs which were all about letter writing (e.g. http://pensandenvelopes.tumblr.com), and even a few which were offering to write letters to people who didn’t have penpals. And really, I can’t imagine a holiday email ever having the same appeal as a post card…