Thursday, December 31, 2009

They're on their WAY

Back in mid-December, Susan - of This Old Paper welcomed me to their little community of links, and what a welcome it was. She 'discovered' a billhead for Baby Ruth and Butterfingers (by the box) on another site that I also follow called Forgotten Bookmarks. The billhead had been used for a bookmark, so I contacted Forgotten Bookmarks about obtaining the paper to use for my art, just as Susan suggested. The answer was YES, he still had it and would send it to me.

As a big THANK YOU to both of them for playing my game, I sent notes to both. I haven't decided YET what kind of Baby Ruth advertising I'm going to use on the billhead, but rest assured, when I do complete it, I'll be posting it here, linking to both of their fabulous sites, and framing the results for some other chocolate lover to hang on their wall.

By way of explanation, I've left the ground addresses off of the images. I use removable labels on my mail art now so that the recipients can have the envelopes to do with as they will, and I can post the images without revealing any addresses that are better left unrevealed.

My sisters Penny & Judy gave me a wonderful book of illustrated letters called "Your Friend, C. M. Russell". With the book came a bookmark that gave the history of Charlies use of the buffalo skull as part of every piece of art that he signed after 1906. The verse on the bottom was penned by Charlie in 1917, as a sort-of tribute to wordsmiths (he wasn't bad at telling a story with a pen either) whom he felt certain would tell the story of the West as he did with his brush.

I sent the bookmark to Forgotten Bookmarks as a bonus to him, since he had sent me the billhead. Along with the bookmark came a vintage Christmas postcard which had probably also come to him as a bookmark, so I passed that on to Susan. They should each receive their Thank You Mail Art by January 4th.

Penny & Judy also received Thank You's similar to the one I sent to Forgotten Bookmarks.

I hope everyone has a Blessed and Prosperous New Year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What They Received

Christmas is now in the past. This year I did art work for my brother, sisters and wife. A couple of pieces of mail art, two that went through the mail (under cover), and one that moved across the room.

My wife of thirty-nine years received a Parrot Confectionery box, and the Parrots (similar to a Turtle) came in a separate box because I made a shadow box of the original. I couldn't scan the box since all that I could see that wasn't in deep shadow was the top. My son, who bought himself a new Blackberry, took the photograph for me.

Judy, my youngest sister, is the quilter. She received a pattern for a tea cozy that looks like the cat on the envelope, besides the envelope that she can hang on the wall if she wants to do that.

Jenny likes Carousel Horses, so she got a piece of mail art she can put on the wall. Oh yes, and her favorite color is blue.

Dan, my brother, is the drummer and long-time collector of Drummer Boys. He also reads a lot, so he got three bookmarks that I made, laminated and added gold threaded tassels.

Penny, my oldest sister, acquired FIVE pieces of Cline Piano Company paper for me from our good friend Mary Patterson in Seattle. Since she found the paper for me, I thought I should make certain that the piano player in the family got a piece of piano paper to hang over her Wurlitzer.

I didn't get a stocking this year. ;o( But what I did get from sisters Penny and Judy was a book that contains Charley Russell's illustrated letters from the Museum collection, called Your Friend, Charley Russell. I have most of the books by or about him, but this one is special, because my folks took me to see this collection in 1953, and started me on the path of mail art that I'm still doing, even today.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Madonna & Child PFF #17

This one is special. I was asked by the American First Day Cover Society in 2006 to design the Christmas issue for them called the Court of Honor Cover. Each year the Society asks one cachetmaker to produce the Christmas issue cover, and it is sold as a fund raiser for the society.

When I was asked, I looked back at all the Court of Honor covers from the past and I realized there had never been a religious theme for the art. I decided to do a Madonna and Child, and I knew where to find a good model.

The church we will be attending on Christmas Eve, Immaculate Heart of Mary in Black Eagle, Montana, has stained glass windows that are well over a hundred years old and which came originally from a church in North Dakota. They are beautiful, and have been beautifully restored and cared for. My art is not EXACTLY what is depicted in the glass, but because I needed to fit the art work on a number six envelope, I had to move the Christ Child up a bit further. The text is my own.

Be sure to stop by Marie Reed's The French Factrice blog for more Yule memories!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Drummer Boy PFF #16

Marie is going with a Christmas theme this week, so I'm throwing this one in. I have another saved up for Christmas, but I finished this as a subscription issue a year ago and thought that I'd get everyone into the spirit by drumming up one from Christmas Past.

I'm busy working on Christmas gifts. Unfortunately, I simply can't post any images or I'd be spoiling the surprise of it all for the recipients!

I thought I might add a little to what I already said about this image after seeing the first couple of comments: I did this one especially for my younger brother Dan. He was (and still is) a drummer. He and his wife collect Drummer Boys. When the USPS announced what the subject was going to be for the Contemporary Christmas issue, I simply couldn't pass up doing this issue.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Everlasting - In A Jar

I discovered that if I post an image that I get a much better feel for how the piece is going to look, and so I put this one up for my own perusal on Saturday. Not a lot of history to relate because I haven't completed the research on the Illinois Pacific Glass Company, but I know they made some fabulous canning jars, and this is one of them. I took photographs of two Everlasting jars while I was at Larry Munson's home, and this one appealed to me for some obvious reasons. The other smooth sided jar had many more bubbles in the glass, but this many-sided piece was simply more appealing to me. I have two more pieces of this letterhead, and I'll do the other as well.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Butterflies are Free

Here's a BLOCK of butterflies (sort of) which is the theme for Marie's Postcard Friendly Friday theme this week. Well, her theme is WRITER'S block, but I've just picked up my pc after having a tune-up done, and I'm not really prepared for putting up a story to go with this one.

I do remember deciding to try using something other than peace symbols as part of the envelope design and lettering.

And where was I? About fifteen miles North of Danang, in what was then South Vietnam. It was raining today (when I wrote the letter that was inside the envelope), and I wasn't getting a lot of sleep. The only thing that was free for me was the butterflies.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Snappy Tune! PFF #15

Well, no crocs for me, but since Marie likes snappy things, I thought an old cover (1989) with Duke Ellington for the stamps would be appropriate. Besides, there's a story to go with this one.

I began following the Postmark Pursuit column in Linn's Stamp News shortly after I discovered there was a market for my smallish art. I found this Event Cancel for a Jazz Festival in Gresham, Oregon, called the Mt. Hood Festival of Jazz. I purchased the stamps which were long since off sale from a Stamp Store in Seattle, used the image of the cancel as a starting point, and prepared four covers with Gold Leaf and piano keys in front of an outline of Mt. Hood, just like in the cancel. Being a believer in the Postal Service being able to process my art on envelopes, I sent them off to get canceled.

I waited. Matter of fact, I waited three weeks after the covers should have been returned to me before becoming concerned. I called the postmaster in Gresham. He was sure that they'd processed all of the covers that they had requesting the cancel, but he said he'd check. I called three days later, and he said he was positive they'd processed them all, but that he would once again check with the employee who had processed the requests.

He finally returned my call to inform me that he'd checked with the employee, and indeed, all of the covers had been processed. I was furious. They had all been labeled with removable labels, and I'd seen none of them return. Until two days later, when the first one showed up. The next day, the other three showed up. All of them canceled with a MACHINE cancel from the Portland Post Office, but different machines.

I called the Gresham Post Office, and let the postmaster know they'd been returned with machine cancels. He was apologetic, but told me that the postal employee would be losing his job, and suspected that when he had been confronted with the case of the missing covers, he panicked and made the drive to Portland to drop them in drop boxes.

So - I ended up with four covers that pretty much look just like this one. There's some wear on the gold leaf in several pieces, but I hold on to them as a reminder not to trust my art to the vagaries of the mail any more.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mail Me Art!

A great idea passed on to me by either a follower, or someone whose blog I follow. I've had this idea bouncing around since June or July, and finally decided to do something about it.

Anybody interested in the particulars, simply go to MAIL ME ART. It's in there. I like the idea of going postal with my art work, and I'm certain there are others of a similar mind.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

THANKS for being my friend PFF #14

My wife just recently went through my 'box', and pulled another twenty or so covers out that hadn't seen the light of day for a number of years. This one has no date written on the back, which is usually a sign that I didn't include a letter with this one. She didn't care. The envelope was enough, although I often felt badly that I didn't write at least something. She's still my best friend.

Join Marie on her French Fractrice blog for some more Friendly Mail!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Monkees, The Boxtops & The Animals

I remember them all. I thought about the Circus a few times when I was doing this piece, but The Monkees didn't jump rope, Eric Burdon & The Animals didn't cut their hair, and The Boxtops - well, I'll never forget The Letter.

There are a couple of other products that the National Biscuit Company produced, but for the moment - I have no more Nabisco paper.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Veteran's Day 2009, 40 years ago today

I had the best of intentions. Veteran's Day for me began very early. I had intended to post this as an early Postcard Friendly Friday image, and I will link to it from Marie Reed's blog when she announces it. I'm not Talking Turkey like she is, but this story is a bit longer. I'm going to tell you about my Veteran's Day. It's never too late.

We've been involved in a local project sponsored by the Lewis & Clark Library called The Big Read. The library received a grant to enable them to involve the community of Helena in getting "back to the book" as a means of enabling better communications. The library collaborated with the local high schools, the Holter Museum of Art, and several other local organizations to make this a true community event. The grant came from the National Endowments for the Arts Program, and this year a group of teachers from the high schools and the library chose a book called "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien. Approximately 1,000 high school students received the book for free, and along with the book they also received a readers guide. There were also almost seven hundred of the books available, through the library, for those interested in having a copy of the book for themselves. I have a copy signed by the author while he was here in Helena to speak about the book itself and the things HE carried. The Holter Museum of Art also participated, by providing gallery space for an exhibit in conjunction with a variety of programs sponsored by the library over the course of a month from October 11th to November 11th.

November 11th started at 3:00 AM for me. I woke up in a cold sweat. Tuesday evening I went through 'my box' looking for more envelopes to fill in the blank spaces in an album that my wife put together. Some of you that follow PFF have seen my FREE mail that I sent to her over the course of my year-long vacation in SE Asia. She had removed about fifteen of them to lend to the Holter for the gallery display of "The Things They Carried". I decided to see if I'd written her a letter on November 11, 1969 (forty years ago to the day), and I had. My wife had warned me that I should not read the letter. I didn't listen.

I was invited to Helena High School to talk about the things I carried, and the things that I did while in Vietnam. My wife and I spent a half an hour with the BioClub in Sandi Wardell's classroom, we were interviewed by Jesse Rogers and Kelsey Stordahl for the school newspaper, and we did a presentation for Robyn Duff's very enthusiastic Art class. We were guided around the high school by the Librarian, Niki Whearty, who was very gracious and understanding of the baggage I carried. I have to say looking back on it, that although it was emotionally draining, I would not have passed up the opportunity to speak to these young students. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

NOW. The cover. The USPS issued the POW-MIA stamp on May 29th, Memorial Day, of 1995. I decided at the time to do something 'special' because the Vietnam Conflict was an integral part of my life having spent a year with the Marines as a Hospital Corpsman. I came up with the idea of using the dog tags (from the theme of the stamp itself) of a Montana man, learn as much as I could about him, and use his dog tags as my art. Little did I know when I began where this journey would lead me.

Lee's mother is still living with her daughter in Wolf Point, Montana. Every year on Memorial Day she makes the almost five hundred mile trip to Choteau, Montana, to pay a visit to the Choteau Cemetary to honor her son. When I finally was able to connect with his sister, she told me she would ask Lee's mother if she knew what was on Lee's dog tags. I was told the story of her mother's search several days later.

When Lee's belongings were returned to her from the ship he was stationed on, she placed his sea bag in a closet. Just short of thirty years to the day that he was shot down, she opened the sea bag for the first time and found a pair of Lee's dog tags.

I completed the art work on several covers before the First Day, and on May 29th, 1995, in Choteau, Montana, I had them canceled and gave one of the envelopes to her.

Forty years ago TODAY, I was knee deep in a rice paddy. Every day for the next ten months, I will try to recall how I spent my days with the help of the letters enclosed in the Free Mail I sent to my wife, and I will also recall The Things I Carried. And still do.

Lee E. Nordahl was shot down over North Vietnam on December 20th, 1965. Although he survived the crash and was taken to a hospital, he apparently died shortly after his arrival, although photographs were taken (and undiscovered for over twenty years) of him receiving treatment. God Rest his soul In Peace, wherever he may be.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trout Flies ---- best

This piece of bill head was a very recent purchase.

In October, I posted a piece of bill head from a later iteration of this same business, only Mr. Parchen was in business with Mr. Paynter at this very same location five years earlier. It is also for goods purchased by J. H. McKnight & Company in Fort Shaw, Montana Territory. The previous piece was an order that included six dozen trout flies. This one is only for two dozen, but this time - Mr. McKnight expects THE BEST.

I threw an extra fly on this piece - just because. My wife tells me when she arranges flowers you always have to have an odd number, so I put five on this one instead of four.

Let the bidding begin.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gimme a shot of The Goodkind

Bottle collectors will love this one!

A piece of bill head from Goodkind Brothers of Helena, Montana, who had their business at Main Street (known as Last Chance Gulch) and 6th Avenue. This is an image of what their bottle of Sour Mash Whiskey looked like complete with one of their in-house labels. The bottle itself stands about six inches tall.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The GIANT Panda

The middle of August we made a trip to Billings, Montana to search for old paper. The first place that we stopped had large map drawers full of paper, but I could only find one piece of paper that really held my interest, and this is it.

Sometime in the early part of the school year of 1948, Rose Allisch, Lorette Borsheim and Donald Knudson of McCabe, Montana, wrote a letter to the Chicago Zoological Park inquiring about the GIANT PANDA BEAR. This letter is a response to their inquiry.

This year is the 140th anniversary of the discovery of the Giant Panda by a Westerner. A French priest by the name of Father Jean Pierre Armand David described the panda that had been shot by hunters in the Sichuan province of China in 1869. Until Father David described the panda in that year, the panda was virtually unknown outside of China. The world is still fascinated by this animal that may indeed not even be related to the true bears.

The envelope the letter came in is dated October 27, 1948.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Graf Zeppelin Pictorial Cancel

Back in 1990, I was just beginning to follow the Postmark Pursuit column in Linn's Stamp News , a weekly newspaper dedicated to all things stamps or Philately if you want to be proper about it. After my initial exploration with First Day Covers , I started following the Postmark Pursuit column, purchasing stamps that had something to do with the theme of the cancel, creating the art work on the cover, and then sending them off to be canceled. I received many cancels that were not at all what I was expecting, and many that were. I was selling most of those I created through a local gallery and frame shop. The gallery owner would mat and frame them, hang them on the wall, and I developed a group of local people who decorated their walls with my miniature art work.

There were a number of anniversaries celebrated in 1990 of the visit of the Graf Zeppelin to the United States. It was the 60th Anniversary of the issuance of the U.S. stamps depicting the Graf Zeppelin which occurred in April of 1930. Even back in 1990, the famous C13, C14 and C15 stamps were very expensive to acquire, but I went out on a limb and purchased three of the C13 variety. I think I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 for each of them. I had prepared four covers, but I simply couldn't afford to purchase any more of the stamps, so I had one cover that went uncanceled, and as it turns out - what goes around, comes around.

A couple of months ago, there was an announcement in Linn's about two pictorial cancels relating to the Graf Zeppelin flights. I chose the more appropriate looking cancel of the two, had a C18 stamp purchased for myself by a collector, and sent off to have my nineteen year old cover canceled. What you see here is the result of a long wait. It is now on its way to the fellow who purchased the stamp for me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Buffalo Skull - PFF #13

The stamp on this cover was issued on the 16th of May, 1996 to honor the American artist Georgia O'Keeffe. I have friends who live in Colorado and were willing to drive to New Mexico, buy the stamps in Albuquerque and then drive to Abiquiu, New Mexico, to have my covers canceled on the First Day in the town that Georgia called home for the last years of her life. She was famous for overly large paintings of flowers, but also incorporated cow skulls and bones that she found in the desert near her home into many of her paintings. My favorite artist C. M. "Charlie" Russell, and the one who inspired me to do 'envelope art' in the first place was famous for using the buffalo skull as part of his signature. I decided to use the buffalo skull and do it "Georgia" style for this issue.

Marie's skulls over at the French Fatrice are all underground, but if you're interested in what she and others have done with the theme, check out her post for Postcard Friendly Friday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

La Belle Chocolatière - Again

This one is a little larger than the last, and consequently a little finer. And I know from experience doing the covers that the second time I do an image I'm always happier with the results.

I obtained the image for this rendition from Susan E at This Old Paper, and I'll continue to link to her blog as often as I use this image. I've several more bill heads that have Baker's Chocolate as line items, so this won't be the last.

The paper itself is a bill head for C. W. Rank & Company, a general store in historic Virginia City, Montana. There are a number of interesting line items on this bill head including Fruit of Paradise, which this confectioner did not make. Fruit of Paradise was (and still is) made by the Startup Candy Company of Provo, Utah.

Excuse me while I go make myself some hot chocolate.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Six Dozen Trout Flies

This piece of paper was more fun than I've had in a long time. As some of you may be aware, a couple of weeks ago I went paper shopping - locally. I came away from that little excursion with some pretty fine paper. One of those finds was a bill head for the Montana Candy Company, also known as Webster & Koontz. They were one of the first confectioners in Montana - and I should add here - Montana Territory, for when the paper was dated, Montana was not yet a state.

This piece is also very unique. It also is a piece of territorial paper, and it also was a billhead from the Parchen Drug Company of Helena. I'm certain that there are interior views of this business, and unlike Webster & Koontz, Parchen Drug did publish an address.

The note is of particular interest. It says: "We send the largest we have (the word at is crossed out) can (the word get is crossed out) be had in Town". Apparently J. H. McKnight & Company at Forth Shaw, M.T., had BIG fish in mind...

Fort Shaw was known as the "Queen of the Montana Posts". It sat near the Sun River, about twenty-five miles West of the present city of Great Falls, where the Sun River entered the Missouri. There was an Indian Trading Post there run by J. H. Mcknight, as well as a Saloon. Of course, there was also a regiment of soldiers garrisoned at the Fort. The fort was abandoned in 1890, and an Indian School at Fort Shaw became world famous in 1904. An all-Indian Girls Basketball Team from the school became World Champions at the St. Louis Exposition.

I really am torn about this piece. Part of me wants to keep it for I'll probably never see another piece of paper quite like this - a bill for six dozen trout flies, but - I know there will be other paper just as unique as this one is.

Gummed! PFF #12

Before I knew that there was such a thing as a First Day Cover that had a cachet on it, I created a number of First Day Covers - with cachets! Montana celebrated its Centennial in 1989, and the USPS announced they would be issuing a stamp to celebrate that event in January. Since I had been putting art work on envelopes since I was a youngster, I decided to do some 'envelope art' and obtain the stamps, get them canceled, and save them for family and friends.

On January 15th, 1989, I went to the Post Office to get the stamps only to discover there were literally hundreds of people waiting to buy stamps and was told there would also be a ceremony at the Capital building later in the day. While waiting in line, the gentleman behind me asked me where I got my envelopes and I replied that I'd created them myself. He then asked if he could buy a couple, to which I replied "Sure". I sold them for $5.00 a piece, and it didn't take long for the word to spread up and down the line that I was selling decorated envelopes. Within twenty minutes I had no envelopes left to put stamps on, but I did remain in line and bought the stamps anyway.

The envelopes I was using had a gummed flap. First Day Cover collectors prefer envelopes that do not have gum on them as the gum deteriorates over time and discolors the front of the envelope. Within the course of the next year I learned a lot about what collectors do and do not want when it comes to envelopes!

Most of the covers that I did for this first issue all looked a lot like this one. I grew tired of doing the same thing over and over, so the lettering changed as well as the basic design. I discovered this one and another done in silver ink just last week - while looking through my huge paper stash.

Be sure to check out what Gummy Treats Marie has to offer for Postcard Friendly Friday, as well as everyone else who is participating today!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

La Belle Chocolatière

Or ---- Baker's Chocolate Lady to those who are familiar with one of the first commercial advertising images to be used in the United States. But I digress - I'll begin with the paper.

I looked at a lot of paper last week, most of it was local and none of it was later than 1900. That's right - it was all earlier than 1900. The only problem with paper that's this old is coming up with advertising images which are appropriate for the time period.

I only found one piece of Confectionery paper, and it's dated February 16, 1881. Montana was not a state, but Helena had a Candy Factory! I have yet to determine where in Helena the Montana Candy Factory was located, and I also have yet to determine where J. H. McKnight & Company was located, but I do note that whomever the Candy Factory employee was that sold this candy states on the bottom of the bill head that he "Will send by Gov Team". Apparently, it took men with weapons to deliver your candy in 1881!

In 1760, Jean Ettiene Liotard did a pastel entitled "La Belle Chocolatière". Liotard's model for the pastel was Anna Baltauf, the poor (literally) daughter of a Viennese knight and a chocolate server, who later married Austrian Prince Ditrichstein. The Prince fell in love with Anna one day when he chanced to go in a House of Chocolate shoppe. He later married her and had the pastel commissioned.

In 1852, Walter Baker, the man who founded Baker's Chocolate died and left the business in his will to his brother-in-law Sidney B. Williams and a nephew, Henry L. Pierce. Under the management of Williams and Pierce, Walter Baker & Company, grew into a large chocolate business near Dorchester, Massachusetts.

In 1881, while traveling in Europe, Henry Pierce saw the pastel of La Belle Chocolatiere in a gallery in Dresden, Germany. Immediately, he decided to adopt "this chocolate server" as the trademark for Walter Baker's.

I have a number of bill heads from after the turn of the century which list Baker's Chocolate as a line item, and I intend to portray the Baker's Chocolate Lady on more than one of them. This paper was in such good shape that I simply couldn't resist doing this one as a first effort.

I obtained the image for this rendition from Susan E at This Old Paper, and she's getting a Thank You as soon as I'm through posting this.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lana from Montana

Well not really, but Lana (a good friend of ours) found this piece of paper in an Antique Mall, although I despise doing business with malls (too many ways to cut the pie to get a decent piece at a decent price). This was another over-the-phone purchase, whereby she described it and I decided if I wanted it - at any price. I think there must have been at least two if not three phone calls on this paper hunt, but I decided I had to have it because I already knew what I was going to put on it.

Closset & Devers sold Coffee and other slightly more perishable goods out of their Portland, Oregon, facility. The Kerr Glass Company (of Economy Fruit Jar fame, also of Portland) produced glass jars for Closset & Devers Golden West Coffee Brand, and I was given one of these jars by my good fruit jar collecting friend, Larry Munson. It has a lithographic label on it, and I plucked the Cowgirl off of it (figuratively speaking) and used REAL gold leaf for the Golden West lettering. I am really, really happy with the PVA I purchased as a raising compound. I can letter the whole shebang with no concern about time-to-tack because you activate the tack with your breath. It sucks up the gold and allows me to apply a good burnish no matter how much 'pillowing' I'm looking for.

I'm really happy with the results, and thank you Lana for finding this nice piece of paper.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

PFF #11 First Date

Marie's idea of a theme this week is MAIL Babies. My contribution predates the baby delivery thing by more than 9 months, or at least it should. I actually decided to post this one after looking at the Tattered and Lost EPHEMERA blog all week, looking at early illustration advertisements for Coca-Cola.

This one was a lot of fun, although I chose early Fifties for the time period, I remember the Rockola booth Jukebox selectors from the Snack Shack in my hometown when it came time to do this cover. The title was also a play on words, since the Love stamp First Day of issue was the reason I did this in the first place.

And that's two paper straws and a single cherry in a cool, refreshing glass of ice cold Coca-Cola. Who gets the Cherry?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Uneeda Biscuit Boy #1

Another fabulous marketing marvel from the folks at Nabisco. Just where did the Biscuit Boy come from? The Uneeda Biscuit was the first use of the In-Er Seal packaging. The In-Er Seal package was a combination of waxed paper and cardboard, guaranteed to get mom's biscuit and cracker purchases home to her even in a driving rainstorm. Before Uneeda Biscuit was introduced by National Biscuit Company in 1898, crackers (and biscuits) were sold unbranded and packed loosely in barrels. Mothers would give their sons a paper bag and ask them to run down to the store and get the bag filled with crackers. National Biscuit Company used this as part of their Uneeda Biscuit advertising symbol which depicts a boy carrying a pack of Uneeda Biscuits in the rain. In 2009 (after over 110 years) Nabisco discontinued the Uneeda biscuit out of concern that the product was not as profitable as other product lines. What a shame. After discovering all there is to know about Uneeda, Ineeda Biscuit. Uneeda was also one of the first product names that used a compound, made up word.

This paper is once again a piece that came from the only biscuit factory in town, and the building, or at least the first two stories, still stands.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gold Chase for Pony #2

I finished this piece and posted it a couple of months back. I was initially happy after discovering I could still gild, but I was using size meant for imitation gold, and a metal base coat which was designed to help you see where you were putting the size. For the weekend artist I suppose the stuff is acceptable and the only reason I purchased it was because it was the only thing I could get locally. Not only that, but the base coat required a solvent cleanup, and it ruined an expensive sable sword brush of the tiny variety - about a dozen hairs - that I'd had for well over 40 years. I was disgusted. That was about the time I met up with Abraham Lincoln on the web, and I asked if he was the very same person I'd purchased a gold size product from at least twenty years ago.

My renewed interest in gilding and calligraphy to incorporate in my old paper art has also led to his revelation of past mail art which he has shared over time with me via his blog. Abe and his family had made a business of selling useful products for the calligrapher, but had moved on to other pursuits including some great photography which he now pursues with a passion.

I recently purchased a product called PVA - it is an all-in-one adhesive that accepts gild using the old method of illumination without the drawbacks of LEAD-based gesso products. Once the PVA is dry (it dries clear) you activate it by breathing on it. I use a paper straw, as the paper absorbs some of the inherent moisture that might otherwise fall on your paper (bad) if you used a plastic straw. I'm really happy with the 'pillow' I'm getting with it. I regilded the A. B. Chase portion of this, and I can tell distinctly that I'm not only getting a good raise, but luster from the burnish is also brighter.

For anyone interested in pursuing the use of REAL gold leaf in their art work, and they want a high luster and raised images, the product name is PVA, and it's sold on the web by a company called LINECO, Books By Hand You might find other useful products if you're into journalling, or scrapbooking, or anything paper related.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fish on! PFF #10

This is another of those covers I sent to my wife while I was in South Vietnam in 1969-70. It shouldn't have made it, since there's no return address on it, and it doesn't follow the rules for the use of the Free Franking privilege.

It's faded - badly.

Marie is doing a hat thing and stinky cheese, and all I could find was some old fish.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Holdup left the building

We did an antique show this weekend. One of my subscribers suggested that I let folks see it that already have a common interest in history, and he certainly wasn't far off the trail. We were fortunate to get a booth in a venue that had walls where we could hang my work. Instead of a four by eight foot table for a booth, we used a smaller table that I could put my portfolio on toward the front of the space. We added chairs, and draped an easel with several elk hides, and put my largest piece on the easel. My wife added a vase of flowers on the floor under the framed art, and next time we'll put them on a small and tall end table. It allowed potential buyers to get up close to my art work so that they could examine it closely. Many of those that we spoke to were convinced there was a trick to it, or that the images were originally part of the document. If they asked questions, it gave us the chance to do our part to correct wrong perceptions.

It worked.

Saturday afternoon we were approached by a couple who are Charlie Russell fans. They liked "The Holdup", and promptly purchased it. They also agreed to leave it hang until the show was over. It was an eye-catcher, and everyone who stopped to look at what I had on display spent time looking at this one in particular. Photos don't do it justice.

Oh yes - they get a THANK YOU.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Horse, Of Course! PFF #9

I'm hooked on horses this week, and I'm going to enter a Festival of Postcards, sponsored by A Canadian Family with a lot of other postcard folks who have images of animals that walk on four legs! I'm hoping to include my Big Top Tiger in the mix, as it was one of my favorite covers to do - Stamps flown in from Rochester, New York, then an eighty mile drive to the little town of Ringling, Montana, to get them canceled on the First Day of Issue. This issue featuring Jim Bridger was no different. We drove to Cody, Wyoming, to purchase the Legends of the West sheet of stamps, canceling Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley in Cody, then back to Bridger, Montana, to cancel the Jim Bridger and Western Wildlife stamp. It was an excellent adventure!

Marie Reed at Vintage Verve is just plain CHEESY this week, so if you'd like to see what others are contributing to Friendship Friday, pay her a visit. I've already been there with the horse I rode in on!

The Horse Returns

What did I find in my PO Box this AM??? What do you know. Postal employees in Jackson Hole can't deliver to a street address? Who knew. Sooooo - I get to put more stamps on it and try this again. It was me that wrote that box number on the label, but I had to do some searching to find it.

I will not be deterred.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It Fills The Bill --- Literally

This is another piece of old paper like the two Geo. Miller pieces I picked up from Mary Patterson, although this piece came from Stuart MacKenzie in Chinook, Montana. It has a similar back story. I had visited Stuart's shop twice looking for old paper, and while there several months ago, he brought me this piece and said "You should be able to do something with this one". I rejected it immediately as too ornate and fancy for me. Before I left that day, Stuart said "How can you beat this piece of paper? It has everything you need on it. Couldn't you put a straw hat on this"? I once again gave it a rejection.

I no sooner got home from that trip and I was perusing the Cigar Label Junkie site, and LO! What to my wandering eyes did appear, but a stork with a seegar in its bill! Not only that, but five minutes later I found another label with a Jolly Good Fellow wearing a straw boater.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at Stuart's again, and this paper was at the top of my list. So there you have it. I think I'm going to have to stop looking so hard for old paper and let the stork deliver it from now on...

And, yes - I enhanced the vignette a little bit.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Try, Try Again

I got some news last night about a Gallery in Jackson, Wyoming, that might possibly be interested enough to let me walk in the door and show 'em what I got. It's worth a written inquiry, anyway. So - I'm off to the Post Office to show them the Horse I rode in on.

And... I heard from a gentleman in Great Falls that Mr. Bob Bundi at the Glass Art Shop & Gallery might also be good enough to let me do a walk-in Show & Tell. So - I threw this one at the Pony Express rider this AM. I can't strike out forever.

Last but not least, I got one more recommendation today about Avery's Paradise. Hmmmm.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

PFF #8 - LARGE Letter Dirty Sox & a FREEbie

Okay. So I hope this works... My brother-in-law rode a scooter to see me. He's been blogging and scooting his way across Canada and into Montana. Several days ago, I asked a question: Where are your dirty socks? Sixteen hundred miles and eight days into this trip, and he tells me today he washed his socks yesterday. I told him he was lucky, cuz he'd not be setting a single wee little piggie inside my house with dirty socks. We documented his presence with a Teich LARGE letter postcard perched atop his dirty socks. I'm such a good friend...

And - I'm throwing in a Freebie that should have never reached its destination - but did. I now interrupt this program to show Chuck how to use the washing machine. Check out Vintage Verve for more good Friendly Postcards!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Ephemera Hunt

Well, it ain't the Police Blotter or the Official Court Record, but I have to tell you I got some really GOOD INK on Sunday in the Billings Gazette Sunday Magazine. Donna Healy wrote the article and James Woodcock took the photographs, and - I'm flattered.

If the article results in even one person getting the urge to put something on an envelope other than a stamp, I'll be happy. I'm beginning to think that we're losing the urge to create correspondence, and I don't mean the kind that ends up in the Dead Letter bin at the Post Office. We've created too many Electronic Easy Chairs if you get my drift. Cell phones and handheld electronic devices have definitely changed the way we communicate, and although that isn't necessarily a bad thing, I believe that the written word shouldn't be relegated to an album just yet. There is something very magical about getting an envelope in the mail that has your name on it. Try it. Even a doodle will do.

Friday, September 4, 2009

PFF #7 - Navajo Jewelry

Marie at Vintage Postcards is back in the Postcard Friendship Friday game, and since she posted an American Food related card, I decided to post a Native American related cover. I was asked to create this cover for the American First Day Cover Society annual convention in 2004. The USPS usually has a First Day Ceremony for a new postage stamp during the convention, and this was no exception. Since the stamp did not meet the requirements for the First Class postage rate, they made up the rate with Native American related postage, which I think was a splendid idea. I especially liked the little tiny thing that you can barely read.

Friday, August 28, 2009

"Papa - I gotta GO"!

Another happy find from Mary Patterson, who sold two pieces of this paper to sister Penny a couple of months ago. Penny and I had a couple of conversations about old paper that Mary thought I'd perhaps be interested in. Penny would describe to me over the phone the various attributes of the paper and I would give her a yes or no depending upon what she was describing. I said "NO" to this piece more than once, thinking I would never have a use for a piece of paper with an image of a wrecked automobile as the highlight of the letterhead. Penny persisted. I resisted - to a point.

I finally relented.

Several weeks ago, I found A Perfect Match!

With permission of the Tattered and Lost blog Host (who wishes to remain nameless), I downloaded the images that I needed.

Now, I really gotta go!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

PFF #6 - The Boys of Summer

I know, I know, boys and girls... Marie has invited us to play ball! - WELL!!! Not really. She thinks we're ready to go back to school! I know I'm not and I certainly want to make sure that everybody gets a chance to bat here. I did this one in 1994, and as far as I can determine, this is one that Rockwell did in black and white only. I added the color, respectfully.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Ploy

So, I'm on a mission. I've been putting art work on envelopes since I was a kid, and I've posted some of it here. At least some of it is almost forty years old, so I think it can be considered old. Of late however, I've been doing Thank Yous and notes with a twist - and in this case, I'm trying to get my foot in the door. We'll see what happens when they get this one in the mail. Mary Green at Green Paper sent me some old maps recently, so I sent her something similar to this. Hers was a map of Paris - this one is an old map of Montana - so old that the city of Big Timber isn't even on it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Levitation for a Friend

I found this in a file folder while looking for something else yesterday - and realized there's been no Postcard Friendship Friday for awhile. Now you have no excuse, those of you who want to play! I realized that I didn't explain this card - I did this for a friend who does collect postcards, however the idea was all my own.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The “Kilner” Jar

In an earlier post here (Kilner paper) and HERE, I gave you a glimpse at what’s involved in getting my art onto a piece of old paper, and it always starts with – the paper. I purchased this piece on eBay from a gentleman named Tom Caniff after finding out that although there were no glass fruit jars listed as line items on this billhead, the primary business of the Kilner Brothers was to make jars for the preservation of food of one kind or another. Mr. Caniff also sent me a picture of a Kilner jar, but it was simply not detailed enough to use as a model.

The company had been doing business since 1857, and a Kilner (John) was making glass storage containers beginning in the year 1792. When John died in 1857, his sons took over the business. They continued to make glass containers until at least the turn of the century when many small glass firms were merged to create the United Glass Bottle company and the patents held by the Kilners were purchased.

With the help of a long time collector of canning jars, Larry Munson of Devon, Montana, I was able to portray the “Kilner” jar they produced. My last Paper Treasure Hunt and Photo Expedition involved a trip to Larry's for an afternoon of filling my camera with photos of over seventy varieties of fruit jars including the photo I took of the Kilner jar in the previous post that I used as a model for this piece.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kilner Paper – Part 2

Several weeks ago, I added a post of a blank piece of paper and explained why it was appealing enough to me to purchase it on eBay. There were several issues to overcome however in order to get my art on it: I had to find a photograph of a Kilner jar. The seller had provided me with one that was at least an example of what the jar looked like, but it wasn’t detailed enough to really make a good model. I contacted a fellow from my hometown whom I just recently discovered collects fruit jars, and he agreed to let me take pictures of all the fruit jars that he has in his collection. I made arrangements to make the drive (200 miles), and spent the better part of a day filling my camera card with some really nice glass. Remind me to take more than one card on my next visit.

Now you get to see where I’m at in the process. It may be a couple more days before it’s done, but I’ve included the photograph I’ve been using as a model and what it looks like right now. You can go HERE to see what the Kilner paper looked like before I touched a pencil to it.

OH YES! And I won’t pass up the chance to introduce a new friend. I met a lady sculptor (and her husband and son) in Lincoln, Montana, this past weekend. Her web site really doesn’t do her art the justice it deserves, but Christy Daniels art really blew me away. If you’ve seen the movie Dances With Wolves in a theater, you know what Lt. Dunbar heard when the migrating herd of buffalo woke him in the middle of the night. Check out ”Thunderheads” in her gallery to see what that looked like.