Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Old Paper

Now and then we have someone in the shop looking at our vintage paper who asks: "What do people do with this?"  Here's one beautiful example.  Marti Somers is a local artist with an international reputation for her colorful yet subdued art.  She set up Studio Believe in nearby San Carlos in 2001. 

Marti loves old paper -- brown around the edges, a character defining stain here or there, maybe some writing on it, maybe not.  Recently Marti picked up a number of old French chaussure (shoe) receipts from Vintages.  These receipts have superb graphics, precise handwriting, a stamp or two, and that  characteristic age.  Here are two of her encaustic paintings that feature these receipts embedded into the background.

At Vintages we stock a large variety of vintage paper, from letters and documents to wallpaper and wine labels.  Old French documents have been one of our favorites.  We have old letters, official documents, receipts, books and maps, all in French.

American documents from a century ago are available also, in a similar array of choices.  These include some interesting old letters from the Charles H. Crocker estate and 19th century mortgages from the mid-Atlantic area.  Collect these, embed them in paintings, glue them into a collage or turn them into cards or tags.

Old books, ledgers, autograph books and sheet music give a wide variety of sizes and textures to work with.  The larger pages make great wrapping paper for small gifts.  These also supply an interesting background to scrapbook pages, shadowbox art, small jewelry items or decoupaged trays.

We have a nice selection of mid-century popular magazines, as well as several copies of Godey's, Harper's Bazaar and Delineator from the late-1800s.  These provide endless images for all kinds of craft and art work.

On the more colorful side, we have vintage wallpaper -- in packaged selections of 8x10 sheets to full-sized sample pages --, die-cuts and Dresden, wine labels from the 1980s and a variety of labels and tags from the early 1900s.  The possibilities abound with these treasures.

Maps are another great paper-craft resource.  We have a number of vintage guide books with fold-out maps, map pages from old atlases, and more.  One beautiful antique map we have is a 1796 German Charte von America with gorgeous colors printed and hand-colored on thick, wonderful paper.

We are always drawn to old childrens' books.   The images and stories are always so innocent and recall days when life was simpler.  As we grow older it is important to remember those days.

Here's one of my absolute favorite paper items.  It is a letter written in the late-1990s.   The letter starts with "My Dear Sweetheart ..." The lover enclosed a dried flower, which was a custom back then, that  flower has left its image forever in the old paper, not just once, but twice.  How symbolic of the tender feelings between a loving couple.

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