Sunday, February 17, 2013

Week 7: Priority Mail

This week's book-of-the-week, Priority Mail, is made with the results of two of my favorite pastimes: (making) pastepaper and (collecting) postage stamps.
A cover paper of pastepainted Tyvek® postal envelope
Every stamp has a story... though I'm just the collector of the stamps, not the stories. This stamp, from Republic of China (Taiwan), was on a package I received from my brother... who has lived in Taiwan with his family for the past 20+ years... now there's a story!

Republic of China, Taiwan
   Postage stamps are tiny works of art that have a unique style and character depending on the location and era of their creation. Postage stamp themes now number in the hundreds (or thousands?) but years ago, there were just a few.. in the '60's we had the 4¢ Lincoln stamp and the 5¢ Queen Elizabeth stamp. I look forward to the new pallet of stamps that are created for the USPS each new year! I stand in line at the local Post Office and buy packs of stamps in all sorts of colors and themes... Chinese New Year is one of my favorites!
A Love stamp from Penland... a place I love.
A collection of US States' stamps... such a big country!
a touch of art
  Pastepaper, like stamps, is a form of art that is both unassuming and commonplace. Pastepaper dates back to the Middle Ages. Medieval manuscripts used paste-paints for illuminated script and edge decoration, as well as the inside cover end-sheets. A mixture of wheat or rice paste was mixed with the colored pigment, giving it body and a means of adhesion. In modern times, paste-paints have been used by many book artists to make a heavyweight and durable paper for covering books and use for internal pages. Because of a relaxation of purpose, the imagery can be either playful or dark, and emotions and imagination are quickly worked into the piece as patterns and imagery. Stamps, brush strokes, and fingerpainting in layers of colors make a surprising and delightful backdrop for books. 

   Priority Mail is a sample book of paste papers, marbled papers and postage stamps. They are bound into this little activity book of your own narrative...