1348 pages of content created in 2015!

The end of the year's always a time for reflection—and for making resolutions and plans! Please join me in looking at the past year at UPPERCASE... and find out how you can be in the magazine next year!

This has been one amazing year. It started with a lot of travel: In January I was in Austin, Texas to help judge hundreds of beautiful quilts in for QuiltCon. (That's me in a very cute fabric store in Austin.) It felt like I was barely home before I was on a 32-hour odyssey to Australia to speak at the Perth Writer's Festival and then the Creative Women's Circle in Melbourne. I spoke at the HOW conference in Chicago in May, I was in Toronto in June for the National Magazine Awards, onward to Portland in October... it's a wonder I got anything done this year with so much time away.

But now that I look at it all, it sure stacks up. UPPERCASE published a whopping 1348 printed pages of content in 2015. Thank you to all my amazing contributors—the writers and photographers and illustrators and crafters who make such inspiring content. Thank you to all the readers who submitted their work for inclusion. Thank you to Correy Baldwin for copy editing. Thank you to Chris Young at Prolific for handling the printing on all these projects (except for The Typewriter which was printed by Asia Pacific Offset). Thank you to my husband Glen Dresser for his assistance in writing The Compendium, his contributions to the magazine and for taking on customer service recently.

Let's see how all those pages add up:

UPPERCASE 24: January/February/March 2015  
116 pages  

If I were to play favourites, I'd have to say that issue 24 is mine—I love the illustration by Andrea D'Aquino and each of the 10,000 copies had a piece of antique feed sack fabric applied to the cover! The feed sack swatches were sent in by readers from all over and it was such fun to receive little bits of fabric in the mail. (This issue sold out quickly and will not be reprinted... however, a book project has emerged from this issue, it's in the very early stages and I look forward to sharing more! If you've got a feed sack collection, please get in touch!)

UPPERCASE 25: April/May/June 2015  
116 pages

This issue is dedicated to printmaking in all its forms. The cover is by Joey Hannaford. The Profiles in Printmaking section introduces dozens of talented readers who work in everything from monotypes to risograph to letterpress to collographs. Subscribers enjoyed a free printmaking sample inserted into their issues. Get issue 25 here. (Photo by stockist Tiny Feast.)

UPPERCASE 26: July/August/September 2015  
116 pages

I do love little bits of paper. And stamps? They tell such great stories. The cover is by Richard Benson and features fancy cancels. Subscribers were treated to a glassine envelope of vintage stamps inserted into their issue. Thank you to a dedicated group of stamp-sorting, envelope-stuffing philatelists who got thousands of envelopes ready for subscribers. Get issue 26 here.

UPPERCASE 27: October/November/December 2015  
116 pages

This issue has a focus on new illustration talent as well as articles about creative education, wonder and the secrets to longevity (in a creative field). Get issue 27 here (it's now listed as a back issue, so add it to your cart with other back issues and you'll pay less per issue.) Cover by Brian Hurst.

The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine
336 pages + 16-page insert

Of all the projects this year, this one was the toughest. I spent three years working on this epic visual history of typewriter ephemera. To say that I'm glad it's done is an understatement. The project certainly tested my stamina and "stick-to-it-iveness", but it got done! And now that I have a few months separating me and all the work, it feels even better. The book got a great full-page review in Canada's national newspaper. Purchase it here. (If you're in Europe, get the book through Central Books.)

The UPPERCASE Compendium of Craft & Creativity
384 pages

My most recent book project, it was exactly a year ago that this project began with a call for entries in my newsletter. Featuring 66 artisans, artists and craftspeople from around the world, the Compendium is look into what's happening in craft right now. I look forward to doing a second edition... maybe every couple of years? Order it here. (If you're in Europe, my distributor Central Books will have the book in about a month—ask your local bookseller to stock it through them.)

UPPERCASE 28: Jan/Feb/Mar 2016
116 pages

The new issue is mailing out to subscribers right now! It will be arriving in mailboxes in the next few weeks. This was the best year ever for Gift Subscriptions. Well done, Santa! Subscribe here. Cover of old bus tickets from the collection of Kindra Murphy.

UPPERCASE Creative Calendar 2016
32 pages

For subscribers as of December 17, you'll get a free insert of this fun and inspiring calendar. Keep your creativity on track everyday next year. (Subscribe here to be part of future subscriber-only benefits like this.) Cover by Tara Lilly.

With such a busy year behind me I'm really enjoying a holiday pace right now. I've been taking it slow and being crafty. My problem is that with more time to be contemplative and space to think... I keep coming up with new ideas! Three book ideas for 2016? The launch of Little U? Plus all the regular UPPERCASE magazine-y goodness? 

I can't wait to dive in!

2015 started out with quilts and fabric... and it has ended that way, too! With my very own collection with Windham Fabrics!!! Look for a sneak peek in issue 28.

I'm going to QuiltCon in February. Are you? I will be giving a 30-minute presentation... any suggestions? Want to meet up for an UPPERCASE event?


Calls for Submissions

There are two new open calls for the spring issue. I expect to get a lot of submissions on these topics, so the open call ends on January 15. 

Submit creative projects in which folds and folding are integral to its execution and design. Projects can be in any material, medium or scale. Submit here.

Book Arts
Book arts, unusual book designs, artist's books, intriguing book formats, books as sculpture, books that aren't books... projects in which the concept of a book is the starting point for creative exploration. Submit here.


It's always a nice feeling when a new issue is printed and in the mail to subscribers. All my issue launch tasks are complete and I can relax (a bit) and see the reactions of my readers. Of course, I'm also making sure that the next issue is assigned and well underway!

Share your pictures on Instagram @uppercasemag #uppercaselove. Thanks!

Ongoing stamp stuffing!

This is a huge task! Thank you to Véronique, Caryl, Ronnie, Cheryl and her daughters for coming by today to help with the stamp sorting. (And Glen's sorting envelopes at home as I write this... thanks, Glen!)

We'll be sorting each afternoon this week from 1-6pm until the job is done if you'd like to stop by. Thank you!

Oh, and this happened:

UPPERCASE reached 5000 subscribers (and then some) late last night! Thank you so much for helping me get to this amazing milestone. Congratulations to Deb Craig for being #5000 and winning a set of back issues.

Sorting through it all...

50,000 of anything is A LOT! That many loose stamps to sort... now that's a project. Thank you so much to my helpers today: Steve, Sandy, Crystal, Paige, Barb, Caryl, Carolyn and Ronnie!

We've discovered that this is going to take some time. (We got about 1,100 completed this afternoon.) I'll be at it again Monday, June 15 from 4pm - 8pm and if you have a bit of time to spare, your help would be most appreciated! Please note that the building entrance closes at around 6:30, so if you're coming after that, please give me call at 403-283-5318 if you need to be let in. Thanks! (I'll likely schedule some more sessions throughout the week so email me or check the blog for the dates and times.)

Sunday Stamp Sorting

I'll be sorting and packing the stamps into envelopes this Sunday afternoon 1-5pm and Monday evening 4-8pm (and possibly later in the week as well if we need to). My studio is in the Devenish building on 17th Ave SW, 2nd level above Ethos Bridal. If you're able to help, it is an easy—yet graphically pleasing—activity! Drop in or stay for a while... any extra helping hands are most welcome. There'll be refreshments and food to keep you going!

Issue 26 on press!

"Issue 26, all systems go, we're sailing with the steady hand of press operator Captain Bruce Westmann at the helm of our 10 Color Komori!" -  Chris Young, The Prolific Group

"Issue 26, all systems go, we're sailing with the steady hand of press operator Captain Bruce Westmann at the helm of our 10 Color Komori!" - Chris Young, The Prolific Group

The summer issue is on press and stacking up nicely at my printer, The Prolific Group in Winnipeg. Thank you to Chris Young for sending the pictures! This issue will have to dry and then go through the bindery, but the mailing department needs a head start preparing their job... so that means that I'll be compiling the subscriber mailing list on Monday, June 15. If you want to be on the first wave of folks getting this issue (and receive a glassine envelope full of vintage stamps) please subscribe or renew today!

I purchased enough stamps and supplies for 5000 subscribers... and we're currently at 4929, so you will receive a stamp pack if you subscribe quickly. Once this issue is mailed to subscribers, the issues sent out subsequently and those send to stockists will not have this special insert.

I'm looking for local volunteers to help sort and pack the stamps. It's fun, easy and you'll receive a free subscription/renewal in thanks. Please get in touch if you're able to help out this coming week! Thank you!!!

What's a Fancy Cancel?

Graphic created from  wikipedia  images.

Graphic created from wikipedia images.

In the early days of the United States post office, postmasters were responsible for defacing stamps to prevent reuse. Clerks might draw across the stamp with a pen or otherwise mark the postage. It became the practice to use cork bottle stoppers, carved with various notches and then dipped in ink. The process left room for creativity and designs became unique to the clerk who carved them. Motifs included simple Xs and geometric forms, stars, hatches, animals and more. The practice lasted from 1847 through the 1890s. Outside of the US, these decorative marks are called cork cancellations.

The cover of issue 26

Art © the artist and courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery and Jackson Fine Art.

Art © the artist and courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery and Jackson Fine Art.

The cover of the summer issue features a print of "fancy cancels" documented by artist, photographer, author and educator Richard Benson. When I began curating this issue, I'd never heard of such cancellations, but research of philately lead to some interesting things! I came across an online stamp auction featuring these Finnish stamps (shown below), uniquely cancelled with cork marks. 

I love the play of the ink partially obliterating the stamp design; their variety of form and interplay with the image below echoing themes of both printmaking and surface pattern design... and how there's an expression of individuality despite the institutional nature of a postal system. My intention was to win the auction, scan the stamps at super high res and arrange them for the cover. When the bidding went beyond my means, though, I began my search anew. Lo and behold, Richard Benson had already produced an incredible series honouring fancy cancels—and with a variety of stamps, colours and cancels and technical prowess well beyond what I could have ever achieved. Perf-ection!