Face Books


Artist Alison Stockmarr pokes fun at Facebook by imagining 'Face Books' of old. She pairs oddly-titled old books, found photographs and cut up lines of text to create curious personalities. She writes:

By matching old photographs with suitably titled books, profiles are constructed, creating a library of invented friends of yesteryear. Apertures are cut into books, with photos and ephemera collaged within their pages. Appropriate, and sometimes inappropriate, narratives are composed to complete the picture! I hope you ‘like’ them.

Calling Card: The Paper Flea Market

Trina Lucido is an artist and paper enthusiast. "I can't resist beautiful paper, old or new, and see potential in every piece I find," she says. "These papers find their way into my artwork which includes greeting cards, art journals, mixed media pieces and home decor." As her collection of papers and haberdashery grew, Trina decided to open up shop as The Paper Flea Market to share her finds with other paper and vintage lovers. 

She has scrapbookers' cuts of vintage wallpaper, lovely old hat labels, vintage buttons on cards (I can't resist a good old button!) and so much more... like any good flea, there's lots to discover!

The Paper Flea Market is the first official Calling Card that will appear in the fall issue of UPPERCASE. In addition to the ad appearing in lovely ink on paper in 10,000 copies of the magazine, a Calling Card ad will reside on the UPPERCASE blog sidebar for the duration of the forthcoming issue. I'll also share the ad with my Twitter followers and do a blog post, such as this one, to offer as much value as I possibly can to your $400 investment. The next issue goes to print after the Labour Day weekend, so there's still time to get your Calling Card if you get in touch soon. I look forward to sharing more Calling Card profiles here in the blog over the next weeks. Please click the Calling Cards already on the sidebar to discover more.

To make your Calling Card, choose an image that best represents you, your product or service (squarish image 3 inches wide at 300dpi ), then click here to upload it and get your Calling Card ad designed by me and shared with the UPPERCASE community. You'll be supporting UPPERCASE content creation, boosting your profile, be immortalized in print and be serving the community with your creative offerings.

Thank you to The Paper Flea Market!

inky hands at the Letterpress Academy

Saint Gertrude Letterpress Academy is a letterpress workshop in Melbourne, Australia that designs and prints letterpress ephemera on their 100-year-old platen affectionately named Gordon. Saint Gertrude is now offering hands-on letterpress classes. 


"Letterpress Academy is a new open access workshop offering participants the chance to learn more about the process of modern letterpress printing," says founder and Creative Director Amy Constable

The classes are open to professional designers and beginners alike. To get your hands dirty (and inky) with Saint Gertrude, click here

Nutmegger Workshop sees making signs as an art form

When I'm sifting through reader submissions, I never know what I'll find. From a fresh-faced illustrator hoping to get their first published piece or a seasoned creative who has turned a new leaf and is looking to share their new direction... surprise and delight are the hallmarks of a good submission.

The work of Peter Vogel of Nutmegger Workshop in Portland, Oregon prompted an immediate response from me—I began to follow him on Twitter, sent out a tweet, emailed a thank you and planned this blog post.

Peter introduced himself as a "30-year graphic designer/design director/creative director now making vintage sign art." His talent for lettering and his love of old signage is combined into his business of making vintage-looking signs. His signs are not meant as functional signage—they don't fabricate signs and to site installations—rather the signs are art meant to be hung interior settings, somewhat like charming set decoration or as interior design features. 

"Generations ago, sign writers were a busy, sought-after bunch, but the heyday of their hand-lettered art was no match for the rising tide of digital sign-making technology. Nutmegger Workshop was created to celebrate the alluring charm of this long-forgotten art form. It is our mission to offer the finest period reproductions and original designs — handcrafted works of typographic art that add unique personality to any well-designed space."

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Nutmegger gallery of signs and read more about Peter's approach to his art.

finding beauty in the discarded

photo by Cara Howlett

photo by Cara Howlett

In 2012, Sarah Cameron started a custom clothing design, alterations, and wardrobe consultation company in Calgary called Pure Couture

Before starting her own company, Sarah worked for a vintage clothing store as a vintage clothes hunter. Each day she travelled to a clothing warehouse and went about hunting through piles and bags of clothing seeking unique vintage clothing and accessories to be sold in store. 

Tell me about your job as a vintage clothes hunter working at the clothing warehouse. What was your job like?

I had a master list of what the store was looking for, and I would open bag after bag hoping for something amazing. It was hard work, but super rewarding if—after digging and searching and ripping open bag after bag—you found a real vintage Chanel bag, a beautiful embroidered wool parka with fur trim, or the perfect worn-in-just-right leather biker jacket. If I was really lucky, I would find a band t-shirt from the 70s. If the store I was picking for did not want what I found, I could buy it myself at a crazy cheap price, like a dollar fifty a pound. It was a very lonely job, though, because I was the only one searching for finds.

What were some of the unique things that you found while working there? 

The best situation was if I could find beautiful leather shoes from the 40s and 50s—made in Italy and just so gorgeous. I once opened a bag, and it was full of shoes like that. Some little old lady must have passed away, and no one wanted her amazing shoe collection. That was a good day. My boss was super happy!

photo by Sarah Cameron

photo by Sarah Cameron

Tell me about the quilt that you made your daughter from the fabrics that you found while clothes hunting. Do you remember when you found the fabrics? 

It all started with a dress. I found what looked like a old 50s-style dress that was falling apart, and I saw past that. It was made out of beautiful blues, greens and purple, it was a rose print but sort of modern. It was perfect. It not only inspired the quilt but most of my daughter's room decor. The back of the quilt is made out of what looked to be a old sheet. But not just any sheet—this was a beautiful teal and peach floral print. The both of them just fit, and along the way I found a few more remnants here and there. I started collecting fun fabric when I started clothes hunting in 2010, and when I found out I was having a girl I knew I wanted a baby quilt for her. 

What do you enjoy about fabric patterns? Why do you like vintage ones?

I love unique fabric, but not fabric that's too weird. I think thats why I love vintage fabric, its different, but something about it is so happy and fun. 

photo by Sarah Cameron

photo by Sarah Cameron

When and why did you start sewing? 

I started "sewing" when I was about 10 years old and I was bored with my Barbies' clothing and wanted to design my own clothing for them. The clothes I made for them were mostly taped together. My grandmother gave me a sewing machine when I was about 12 and I loved it! She inspired me, and gave me everything I needed to start sewing. I still have my first sketch book from her. She wanted me to see beauty all around me. 

designs by Sarah Cameron

designs by Sarah Cameron

What do you enjoy about sewing and designing clothes?

I enjoy designing clothing for myself, my family, and my clients. The best feeling is when people try a piece of clothing on I've made for them and it fits just right and feels just right. I have had a few clients cry over a perfectly fitted dress! 

designs by Sarah Cameron

designs by Sarah Cameron

What made you decide to go into the Fashion Design program at Saddleback College in California?

I was sort of unsure what I wanted to pursue in college. My first semester was a mish mash of classes like marine biology, rock climbing, and introduction to fashion. When I realized I could have a career doing something I loved, I jumped at the chance. I was really lucky because the program at Saddleback was amazing!  

Visit Sarah's portfolio for some vintage-inspired couture.

Lehmann Label and Lithography Company


When visiting the Letterform Archive, the piece-de-resistance was this collection of food labels, one of Rob Saunders recent acquisitions. Not the lithographed finals, this collection is comprised of the artist mockups of label designs. Accomplished with fine brushes in gouache and the occasional metallic, these miniature pieces of art were incredible to inspect in person.

The images below were photographed by 42-line, a San Francisco company that specializes in digitization of rare papers, manuscripts and books.

"Lehmann Printing & Lithograph Company of San Francisco, founded in 1911, was one of the largest manufacturers of labels in the world. Labels were created individually for product containers by Lehmann’s permanent staff of artists who provided the illustrations, hand lettering, and designs. The sketches in this collection are hand painted in gouache by an unknown artist, are from 1920–1930 and are sized to fit the bottle, jar or can." 

A calendar of this label artwork can be purchased from 42-line's website.


Rob Saunders' Letterform Archive


The Letterform Archive is a digital gallery of designer, publisher and educator Rob Saunders' extensive collection of printed ephemera. Though Rob has been collecting for decades, the Letterform Archive is a new endeavour, launched last year. Items for the archive are not scanned; they are precisely photographed at high resolution in excellent lighting so that we may enjoy the nuances of the paper and the textural detail of the print.


I was fortunate to see a teaser selection of the archive in person. Visit the website and start browsing... new images are uploaded on a regular basis and you may purchase their 2014 calendar while supplies last. If you'd like to make an appointment, see here. Thank you, Rob, for an excellent visit and for participating in our Show and Tell event as well.


The Typewriter: update


As you might have read on the project page, the release of The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine was delayed by some trying and time-consuming events this year — moving the studio and the big Calgary flood being some major unforeseeable circumstances that seriously infringed on my time. I am happy to say that the book is on track for release in early 2014. I will be posting regular updates in the new year here on the blog and on the project page.

In the past year, my collection of interesting and visually inspiring typewriter-related advertisements, ephemera and memorabilia has grown. (Thank you to some intrepid interns who helped scan over 500 items!) I also have met with some typewriter experts such as collector Martin Howard who will be providing some images for the book, Berkeley Typewriter, the proprietor of Canada's oldest business machines and some other fine collectors. It is nice to know that appreciation for the typewriter remains strong!


button tree decorations


It is that time of year when I bring out my typewriter Christmas tree! Finley was spending the afternoon at the office, so I let him do the honours of unfolding the tree.


I didn't have any decorations for it—normally its tinsel branches and strange typewriter base are enough for me—but Finley thought it needed something more...


Lucky for us, I have no shortage of creative odds and ends... like a jarful of vintage buttons. These are the leftovers from assembling the goodies that come with the Dottie Angel book we published a few years ago (by the way, there are just a few copies left in the shop). Since all these buttons have shanks, we couldn't include them in the flat goodie envelopes that come with each book.


Also on hand? Some handy waxed thread from the Maine Thread Company—we profiled them in issue #16 earlier this year.


Finley and I proceeded to string multiple buttons onto lengths of the thread and I tied them into a loop.


I also made a string garland of buttons by knotting the shank of the buttons at even intervals on a 6-foot length of string. The waxed thread worked really well since nothing slips out of position.


This was a fun! And super easy. The best kind of spur-of-the-moment creative activity.

Tinsel Trading

Treasured Notions  features crafts inspired by the vintage beads, buttons, ribbons and trim from Tinsel Trading.

Treasured Notions features crafts inspired by the vintage beads, buttons, ribbons and trim from Tinsel Trading.


As I mentioned in my previous post, I was on a mission to find a particular store that I had heard a lot about... Tinsel Trading Company.  Alas, when I got to the address, there was a simple letter-sized sheet of paper in the window saying they had moved. I couldn't go this far and not go the entire distance, so I hopped back on the subway to 828 Lexington Ave. (I guess Google Maps didn't get the notice!)


I have to admit that the small put pretty shop bedazzled with lovely Wendy Addison glass-glittered letters and letterpress labels wasn't what I was expecting. When I told the clerk I was from Canada, shared a copy of the magazine and asked to take pictures for the blog, she opened up that they had been forced to quickly move locations when the previous building was sold. It sounds like they had very little time to find a new location and thus had to downsize their retail space considerably.


You can get a sense of the previous store (and the amazing, but likely heart-wrenching moving sale) from their Facebook page.  They still had some vintage ribbons and embroidered patches and things for sale—and the massive inventory of vintage stock is in their warehouse—but I was imagining the beauty of seeing all of that vintage stock on old displays in a grand New York style. From the fondness and sadness in the clerks voice, it was clear that it is missed by all.

My purchases: a spool of yellow trim, a package of assorted vintage trim from the Tinsel Trading archives, some vintage thread and French General's book  Treasured Notions  featuring supplies from Tinsel Trading Company. (Published by Chronicle Books.)

My purchases: a spool of yellow trim, a package of assorted vintage trim from the Tinsel Trading archives, some vintage thread and French General's book Treasured Notions featuring supplies from Tinsel Trading Company. (Published by Chronicle Books.)

It was still an awesome store to visit and I hope that Tinsel Trading will have continued success. Here's a video about the French General book as well as an older video that shows what their previous location was like... 

Castle in the Air

Castle in the Air window display using enlarged Victorian paper cutouts. 

Castle in the Air window display using enlarged Victorian paper cutouts. 

A number of people have recommended Castle in the Air, a paper shop located in Berkeley, California.  I haven't had the pleasure of roaming through their aisles in person, but a shop that "specializes in hard to find and European art supplies and treasures" sounds visually delicious. I was actually perusing their online shop while I was working on issue #18 and researching Victorian scraps.


Castle in the Air recently started offering Victorian paper toys as giclee prints and wrote in to share the news: "Owner Karima Cammell collects them (she has over 1,000!), and over the years has become recognized as a guardian of ephemera traditions. By celebrating the models and toys in her art, workshops and store, Karima helps to keep them alive. She has reproduced them for the masses as giclee prints that are similar in weight, size and colour of the originals for $15 each."


Karima has also kindly offered a free download to UPPERCASE readers. Click here for the file.


hey YYC, Saturday is a great day for paper lovers!

Some of Janice's offerings.

Some of Janice's offerings.

Our friend Janice of Papier Valise (featured in issue 12) will be at this Saturday's Collectibles Market at the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Centre in Calgary from 10am-4pm. My recommendation? Go see Janice first and then head on down to UPPERCASE (our sale is 11-4). That way, you can show me what you bought from Janice and then score some more (and mostly FREE) paper ephemera from my studio clearout.

Janice will have some vintage office furniture such as a fabulous child-size industrial desk, several desk trays, postcard racks and rolling industrial files. She also has a selection of letters and numbers made of paper, metal, plastic and porcelain. There's lots more on offer, so check out the Collectibles Market.


I will have a selection of old maps, magazines, catalogues and miscellaneous paper ephemera on hand. Most of it will be free (excellent for collage art) and some of the more unique items will be modestly priced. See more of it on Instagram.


One of my special items for sale is my beloved made-in-Japan Print Gocco that comes with an array of inks, lots of bulbs and accessories. If you've ever wanted to print greeting cards or on fabric but don't want do full-on silkscreening, this is a fun tool to try. I used to print greeting cards for the shop back in the day.  

In addition to the Gocco machine, tutorial disk, instruction book, the set includes 21 different ink tubes (unused), 140 bulbs, 69 screens, ink blocker and the hand printer for fabric. The lot is $250, in person only. (UPDATE: Gocco has been sold, thanks.)

I also have some beautiful envelopes (Eames, blue A2) and Mohawk Superfine (white, A7)  leftover from my days as a stationer and paper goods designer. These would be a great score if you're sending out wedding invites...

the Martin Howard collection of antique typewriters

Martin Howard and his collection of early typewriters.

Martin Howard and his collection of early typewriters.

Martin's display of typewriter tins above the workstation where he cleans and repairs his machines. 

Martin's display of typewriter tins above the workstation where he cleans and repairs his machines. 

In addition to machines, Martin has an extensive collection of artifacts, like this advertisement for the Crandall Typewriter. 

In addition to machines, Martin has an extensive collection of artifacts, like this advertisement for the Crandall Typewriter. 

A gorgeous Crandall from 1886.

A gorgeous Crandall from 1886.

During my trip to Toronto, I was fortunate to visit Martin Howard and his beautiful collection of early typewriters. His website offers clear and detailed photographs of his collection and is certainly the best site and photographs that I have come across. I am pleased that Martin will be sharing some of his images in The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine.

I had not previously had the opportunity to see these early typewriters up close, let alone to see how they work.  Martin graciously demonstrates two models, a Standard Folding and a Mignon 2, in the videos below.

A note on the photographs The photos above are ones that I took during our visit. Martin and I both kindly request that respect be given to our images and ask that proper credit is given if you use any of these images on your blog or post them to Pinterest or elsewhere. Personally, I have come across many unauthorized uses of my typewriter photographs for blog headers and commercial purposes. We invest a lot of effort into preparing the machines, lighting, equipment, etc and photographs of the machines are copyrighted to the photographers. Just because it is a picture of something old, the photographs themselves are not "public domain". thank you.