I usually composes stories with words. But a little while ago a friend encouraged me to participate in the second Penny Black Project. I was heartened by her comment that you don't need to be an artist or graphic designer to take part. A relief for someone who hasn't taken art classes since... hmmm... 2005 (I think).
According to project founder, Joanna Coltman:
'The PENNY BLACK PROJECT consists of six projects six weeks apart and gets participants to create a series of miniature artworks. Participants can follow the brief as closely (or not) as they want. Illustration, collage, crochet, sculpture, textiles, photography - make the PENNY BLACK PROJECT what you want.'
I saw the Penny Black Project as a challenge - a way to explore new art mediums and strive for a connection beyond words.
With fiction writing there's an urgency to get a lot of words on the page and develop complex characters and story structures. With visual art, all the behind-the-scenes conceptualising is depicted in one visual expression.
Here are the stamps I created for the Penny Black Project. I didn't start out with a theme, but as I went along (much like the free writing process) a theme emerged. That theme was...
The concept for my postage stamp is inspired by vintage children’s book imagery and traditional printing methods. Using the colour of the Penny Red stamp and the dimensions and denomination specified, I hand cut a lino print of a squirrel and acorn from a 1961 Lucie Attwell Annual. The acorn image is a theme I carry through my work, inspired by the oak trees in my Nan’s front yard, that grew from tiny acorns my Grandad bought back from his homeland; England. They’re a reminder that even the tiniest of things has the potential to grow.
This project got me thinking about the things I collect. Of all the little treasures I collect, my largest collection would have to be my books! So for this project I designed a stamp combining motifs from my favourite books. I then applied the design to cream felt using Scandinavian needlecraft techniques (from another favourite book!).
An ink sketch, inspired by my favourite photo of my Mum and I, and including her country of birth.