Thursday, November 20, 2014

tim'rous beastie


This is supposed to depict a field mouse looking out of its nest. It's a corrugated-cardboard etegami-collage for my father-in-law, in honor of his Scottish roots and because he is a great fan of Robert Burns, widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. The verse comes from Burns' oft-quoted poem To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough. I've posted the first stanza below, in Burns' original Scots, and the same stanza rewritten in standard English. You can find the complete version of both by clicking this link to Simple English Wikipedia.


(original Scots) 

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle. 

 
(standard English) 

Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast,
O, what a panic is in your little breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With argumentative chatter!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With murdering plough-staff.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

art in the margins

The Art in the Margin of Sheet Stamps

Better than a Hot Water Bottle in the Winter
Playing the Biwa (lute) with a Zucchini
Do other countries have sheet stamps, like we do in Japan, that have gorgeous art in the margins? I've saved stamp sheet margins for years, long after the stamps were used up. The margins have the same coating on the back as the stamps do, and it gets sticky if you lick it. Sometimes I cut out the margin art and use it to decorate the outside of my mailing envelopes.

Though I've often used cancelled postage stamps to make etegami-collages, the corrugated-cardboard-etegami-collages shown here (yes, my experiments do get complicated) are the first etegami I've ever made with stamp sheet margin art. In the first one, I used a margin-art panda and combined it with my painting of a tangerine. In the second, I used a margin-art lute and combined it with my painting of a zucchini with a stem that looked a bit like a finger. The second one is missing words, so technically it doesn't qualify as an etegami....

Sunday, November 9, 2014

christmas sheep


And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night... (Luke 2:8)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

the life purpose of a postage stamp




Some  years ago, I received a gift of a sheet of postage stamps inserted into a folder with a slender magazine. The artwork depicted on the stamps had been created by artist Taiji Harada for a series on the theme of "furusato" (故郷, translated variously as native town, home town, ancestral village, the country towns of Japan). The magazine showed each work of art side by side with Harada's own photograph of the same location and some descriptive comments. I dearly treasured this stamp-and-magazine set, and every time I came across it while searching though my files for something else, I'd completely forget whatever task I'd been pursuing, and lose myself in the beauty of the art and in the memories of the country towns I have known and loved.

Recently, however, I've been working hard to sort and reduce my piles and piles and piles of squirreled away treasures, and it came time to bid farewell to all my stamp books (I began collecting stamps when I was ten), including the aforementioned "furusato" stamp-and-magazine set. The cancelled stamps in my dusty collection were used for various craftsy projects, and the uncancelled stamps finally fulfilled their life's purpose on the packages I sent to my Etsy customers. I do sometimes wonder how many of my customers noticed the vintage postage stamps, or realized how rare many of them were... but that isn't so important. Not to the stamps themselves anyway. (I asked.)

I turned the colorful pages of the Furusato stamp magazine into envelopes. Today I finished making the last of them, and over the next few days I will be sending etegami from my collages and corrugated cardboard series (the ones that are too delicate to send as postcards) to the lovely people with whom I exchange mailart. And I wanted to share the story of the envelopes with all my readers, whether you receive one of them or not.






Wednesday, October 29, 2014

etegami gifts

If you're looking for unique holiday gifts for the important people in your life, don't forget to take a peek at the collection of etegami housewares in my Zazzle shop. I remove items and add new items regularly, so if you don't find what you have in mind, ask me to make a new listing for you. Zazzle regularly offers limited-time discount codes on various groups of products, so keep an eagle eye on their site to catch yourself a good deal.