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!

Lisa Congdon's Art Inc.

Lisa Congdon's new book Art Inc. photographed with an original painting that Lisa gave to me.

Lisa Congdon's new book Art Inc. photographed with an original painting that Lisa gave to me.

I'm pleased to be part of the blog tour for Lisa Congdon's just-released book, Art Inc: The Essential Guide for Building your Career as an Artist. I've witnessed Lisa's growth as an artist and I am happy that we have collaborated quite frequently over the years.

In the early days of UPPERCASE, before it was a magazine, I ran a small gallery and bookstore. The exhibitions included artists from around the world, and Lisa was a frequent participant. (During this trip down memory lane, I'l be linking to old posts and articles on an antique version of the UPPERCASE website.) I exhibited Lisa's work as early as 2006, for the Big Little Show.

Her work at the time was mostly collage-based, with touches of painting and geometric decoration. In 2008's Old School exhibition and book, I sent artists packs of school-related ephemera for inspiration and inclusion in artworks. Lisa's submission in a shadow box was one of my favourites. (Old School is out of print, but you can see more here.)

In 2009, a theme of Bonfires was presented both as a gallery show and an article in an early issue of UPPERCASE. (Issue 3, out of print.) By this time, Lisa was doing much more painting and incorporating handlettering in her work.

The vintage ephemera of her early collages would later play an integral role in our biggest collaboration, the publication of the book A Collection a Day. In 2010, Lisa embarked on a year-long project to document her collection daily online through photos and the occasional drawing of arrangements from her curious collections. I began following her daily blog post right from the beginning and for months I thought to myself, "This would be an amazing book." I was expecting a baby that March and put the idea aside thinking that some big publisher would swoop in! But even late nights with a new baby couldn't dampen my interest and to my great pleasure, Lisa agreed to publish the book with me!

At 448 pages, this thick tome of a book is packaged in a collector's tin where you can keep your own little collections. Full of vintage ephemera, inspiring typography and curious oddities, A Collection a Day is a highlight of the UPPERCASE library.

Baby Finley in one of his first gigs as hand model.

Baby Finley in one of his first gigs as hand model.

Finley opens the tin to reveal the book inside.

Finley opens the tin to reveal the book inside.

Here's Lisa at the opening and book launch for A Collection a Day at  The Curiosity Shoppe  in San Francisco.

Here's Lisa at the opening and book launch for A Collection a Day at The Curiosity Shoppe in San Francisco.

So that brings us to 2011 and the release of Collection a Day. Meanwhile, Lisa's illustration career was on at full speed. Lisa was also a profiled artist in 2011's Work/Life 2: the UPPERCASE directory of illustration.

Lisa's studio in 2011.

Lisa's studio in 2011.

Fast forward to fall of 2013, Issue 19, and UPPERCASE magazine featured Lisa's travel sketchbook from a trip to Iceland. She also wrote and photographed an article about Alvar Aalto for that issue.

Over these years, Lisa has learned a lot. She is someone who pushes herself to learn, to improve, to explore uncharted territory. She has shared the stories of her high and lows, the ups and downs, on her blog in her forthright and personal style. With the release of Art Inc., she has created a precise and inspiring guide on how to make a career as an artist. Published by Chronicle Books (and illustrated by Work/Life 3 artist Karolin Schnoor), Art Inc. is the go-to companion for advice on how to start your journey as a professional artist... and how to stay motivated and to grow your artistic practice as you mature in your art.

Many congratulations to Lisa on adding 'published book author' to her long list of creative accomplishments. I'm honoured to have worked with you so many times along the way.


Art Inc. is available to purchase directly from Chronicle Books or wherever books are sold. The other books mentioned are by UPPERCASE and available in my shop (if they're still in print). Lisa has signed copies of A Collection a Day in her Etsy shop as well.

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.


lost & found

Kathryn John sent in a pitch, which led me to explore her website where I discovered this collaborative video project made with Jo Keeling. An ode to collecting, Kathryn writes, "That is my voiceover and the script came from something I wrote for Jo, the filmmaker, with a few tweaks from her to suit the shots she visualized." It was their first effort as part of a digital film making class—I hope they continue their collaboration!

typecase shadowboxes

Use this page file to print out if you don't want to cut up or glue your physical magazine.

In our current issue, we provided a page with an image of an empty typecase. Since this is our collage and assemblage-themed issue, we encourage you to glue and modify this page, take a picture or scan of it and send it to us!

Cornelis vanSpronsen shares the mementos that he and his wife have collected over the years. (Click to view the details.)

UPPERCASE subscriber Cornelis vanSpronsen writes: 

"I received my copy of UPPERCASE today and was immediately inspired to respond to the creative challenge on page 75. For many years my wife and I have collected special mementos that were both of great importance as well as those that were memorable for just a small moment in time. This is some of that collection. Going through these is like leafing through a photo album but only better because there are memories attached to these things that photos could never capture."

Emeli Reiart sent us this Instagram of a collection of sea shells:

@thebarnswallow on Instagram

@thebarnswallow on Instagram

More imagery on the The Typecase Shadow Boxes group on Flickr. 

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.

sniff collector


In addition to being an UPPERCASE contributor, Amy Peppler-Adams is a graphic designer, budding surface pattern designer and co-author of the Vintage Scratch & Sniff Collector's Guide. She recently wrote about her experience as a scratch and sniff sticker collector on her blog

"Some of you may know that my obsession with collecting (hoarding) includes a passion for vintage stickers from the 1970s and '80s. For the first 10 years of the 2000s, right after I turned 30, I was consumed with finding and buying all the stickers I collected as a kid, replacing all those I had stuck to old notebooks and magnetic photo albums with pristine, unused stickers on their original backings. This included scratch and sniff stickers, which had to be unscratched and still have their smell. And I wasn't the only one—eBay was crawling with avid sticker collectors, especially those who wanted sniff stickers. It was a tense 10 years, watching hundreds if not thousands of listings and usually bidding at the last second to try to win. But my collection is nearly complete, and occasionally I am able to fill in some holes when I get the inkling to check out the eBay listings again.

During this time I was fortunate to collaborate with a fellow collector, bubbledog, writing a book dedicated to scratch and sniff stickers: the Vintage Scratch & Sniff Stickers Collector's Guide."

Amy says she was "thrilled to have contributed a short article about the stinky pieces of paper" for issue #17

If you're interested in starting your own scratch and sniff sticker collection, you're in luck. Email by May 15 to be entered to win a copy of Vintage Scratch & Sniff Stickers Collector's Guide.

Etsy & UPPERCASE: Sushipot Vintage

The current issue, #14, features the Etsy seller Suzanna Scott's collection of vintage play blocks. Suzanna actually has two shops: Sushipots Vintage sells beautiful old toys, instant collections and fodder for creativity and Sushipot highlights Suzanna's original collages and assemblages.

Vintage Sewing Basket full o' Crafty Notions

Vintage Sewing Basket full o' Crafty Notions

Suzanna's product shots are fantastic!

Suzanna's product shots are fantastic!

Sushipot art block.

Sushipot art block.

Such a gorgeous photo makes these little game pieces all the more appealing.

Such a gorgeous photo makes these little game pieces all the more appealing.

Collecting: Vintage by Degrees

Paper-mounted thermometers were popular advertising giveaways (back in the day when telephone digits were oh-so-simple). Pastoral scenes with sheep and mountains told the temperature courtesy of the local funeral parlour, while plump babies and fluffy puppies decorated those for dairies and grocers. This fancy number, above, with silver foil and embossing was the proud token of customer appreciation from the Carleton Bros. Watchmakers and Jewellers.

I've created a Treasury on Etsy of vintage temperature devices. 

















Treasury tool supported by the dog house


Dispatch from London: Old Buttons at Spitalfield

Sylvia Llewelyn, author of the book "Old Buttons"

I've been home from London for a few weeks, but since I had my camera round my neck from the entire time I was in the UK I have a LOT of photos still to share! I already posted about the amazing time I had with Emily Chalmers, but after we parted, there were still more stalls to explore in the market.

Sylvia Llewelyn is a thespian, collector and author dividing her time between London and other European cities. She has over 300,000 buttons in her collection and recently authored a small but thorough book on the topic of old buttons. I purchased the book plus a few buttons from Sylvia and her booth at Spitalfields' Thursday afternoon antique market.

Most of the buttons reproduced in the book are at actual size, as Sylvia demonstrates. The book and an extensive array of buttons are available in the Old Button Shop.

The Sunday Collection: my tins

Even before I designed the tin package for Lisa Congdon's A Collection a Day, I had a fondness for old tins. Here are some of my favourites: top left floral tin is one I found at the Hillhurst Sunnyside flea market (which is a small Sunday market near my house—I should head out there today!) The orange tin I borrowed from my mother-in-law Iris. The blue tabacco tin is from Glen's collection. Though a Polish tin for jam, I purchased the turquoise round tin in Estonia. The yellow tin is one of my dozens of typewriter tins.

I have these on my shelf at work for some daily eye candy.

The intricate motifs and details on these old tins inspired the book and package design for A Collection a Day

Jumpstart your creativity

image by Sara StevensonSarah at Redlinedesign has relaunched her site with a focus on creative exploration. She recommends starting a collection as a jumpstart to creativity and I couldn't agree more. It is invigorating to find something that inspires you—whether it is a beautiful retro button that starts a lifelong love of sewing, or a vintage package that leads to a deeper appreciation of lettering, or a simple bread tag that reminds you to appreciate the little things. Read more at Redlinedesign.

(Purchase A Collection a Day here.)

Collecting: Typewriter Tins

Chris from Seattle shares pictures of his typewriter tin collection, displayed with magnets. As most collectors can attest, he started with just one!

"I bought a ribbon tin (unknowingly) several years ago with my daughters at an impromptu "garage" sale underneath Pike Place Market in Seattle. Loved it. Looked it up (big mistake). Found them on eBay (of course), but became enthralled after seeing your flickr collection (beautiful)."

Collecting: Bottle Caps

The current issue, #10, has a fun collection by a very special contributor. The bottle caps have been lovingly collected by Gail Anderson, formerly the senior art director of Rolling Stone magazine (1987-2002) and SpotCo. Gail's editorial design at Rolling Stone was very influential on me; I was studying design in college during the early to mid-nineties, and had dreams of working at a big magazine or book publisher. Before the heydey of the internet, young and eager students such as myself devoured real and tangible examples of good design. Gail's layouts were exciting, intricate and innovative.

(Her design of the Type Director's Club Annual #22 from 2001 remains my favourite in that series.)

I'm honoured that Gail has contributed to UPPERCASE magazine and very excited to share with you that she's working on another article for a future issue!

{Visit Gail's website for more of her collections. And if you like collections, you'll love this book.}

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I've been spending a fair bit of time watching Sesame Street online with Finley. It is amazing how much of the content, especially Bert & Ernie whom we watch most, relates to the magazine! Case in point: Bert's bottle cap collection...