Tag Archives: vintage paper

How To Make Art With Built In History “Archives Alchemy: the Art of the Dumpster Divers”

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Archives+Postcard-Inside

I am excited to have had the opportunity to have been involved with a wonderful group of Artists during my years spent in Philadelphia, PA. The Philly Dumpster Divers is a social collective of artists using found objects to create fabulous new works of art, functional furniture & lighting, clocks, and more. Beginning as a small group of friends meeting for lunch to talk about art over 20 years ago, the group has grown to around 30 creators and collectors who meet monthly to talk trash and exchange materials and ideas.

I am very pleased to announce that I will have a piece in the most recent exhibit of the Divers, which utilizes vintage ephemera and other discarded materials from the National Archives.
Hoping that East Coast readers will be able to see this show. There is also the possibility of the show traveling to other National Archive sites in the future.
I will keep you updated with photos from the current exhibit (once it opens) as well as with info on future exhibit dates and locations.

Here is the info from the Philly Dumpster Divers Facebook Event page:
Please join us for the opening reception of “Archives Alchemy: the Art of the Dumpster Divers” on Friday January 10th, 5 – 7:30pm. at the National Archives of Philadelphia 900 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19107-4292. ( Please remember to bring a photo ID for admission into this Federal Building.)

The National Archives at Philadelphia had miles of microfilm and piles of deteriorating materials, doomed for the dumpster. They called the Dumpster Divers and asked us to make art from their castoffs.

    Show Info for “Archives Alchemy: the Art of the Dumpster Divers”:

The show runs from January 10 – April 24, 2014. Gallery Hours of Operation: M-F: 8:30 am – 4:45 pm. Second Saturday of each month: 8 am – 4 pm. Call 215-606-0101 for information

The Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia are a group of over 40 found object artists, their artwork as diverse as the group and materials used. They were officially recognized with a 2012 City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Tribute for “helping to raise the consciousness of art lovers and heightened awareness of taking a creative approach to support a more sustainable city, country and world.”

Now, the National Archives has preserved the past by passing outdated materials on to the Dumpster Diver artists. “Archives Alchemy: The Art of the Dumpster Divers” reminds us that objects have stories to tell, even those destined for the trash. This is very special trash with stories to tell!

Please visit the Dumpster Divers website for more info and links to the individual members websites.

Ephemera/34 Conference & Paper Show March 14-16, 2014

2014 Ephemera Conference

The Ephemera Society of America

(ESA) will be holding its annual three-day conference and fair at Old Greenwich, CT. in mid-March 2014, devoted to sharing and exploring various aspects of ephemera, and to buying ephemera to add to or to start collections. The first day, Friday, is devoted to presentations of papers with a specific theme and to exhibits and book signings by some of our published members and speakers. Saturday and Sunday feature a two-day ephemera fair with dealers from around the world and member forums on Sunday before the fair.

The theme for the conference is “Field to Table: The Ephemera of Food and Drink.”Our essential connection to what the earth produces, and how these sustain us is at the core of our lives. Each step of the process from the field to the table represents a different aspect of our society and its values. The ephemera of food and drink illustrates the different points of view of that story, reflecting how our society has evolved. This narrative includes survival, culinary achievement, hard work, the aesthetics of food and table presentation, balance, culture, health, satisfaction and commerce. What drives us? Our needs and initiatives, the creativity of our inventions and discoveries, our passions and resources are all involved in getting things from the field to the table. Ephemera helps us follow and understand the evolution of these comestibles and potables.

More info to be found at: Ephemera Society Of America website

Passport Collector’s Paradise

Passport collector
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For those interested in collecting passports and travel documents this is the site for you:
www.Passport-Collector.com

Started by a passionate passport collector in 2005, this site is a great resource for buying and selling passprots and travel documents. Complete with a comprehensive database of travel documents, you will find tons of great info on this Ephemera niche.

Enjoy!

Preserving Ephemera

Ran across this article which has some great advice about preservation and storage of your ephemera collection. Be sure to check out the link at the bottom of the post for a free eBook on ephemera preservation. Happy treasure hunting.

Most ephemera can be effectively handled by putting them in inexpensive polypropylene sheet protectors, and keeping these in a binder. The two clear sides of the protectors allow viewing of the items without destructive handling. Typically newspapers would have the relevant item cut out (either including the newspaper name, date, and page from the same sheet, or with that information noted on the retained item). Most items will fit into letter-sized protectors, but some may need some larger format.

Digital preservation is important, since the information can be better preserved and shared by having multiple backup and distributed copies. Flatbed scanners are usually the tool of choice to generate the images. 300 dpi (dots per inch) scan resolution is a good rule of thumb, although it may be more than needed for newspaper-like items. I like to name each scan file with the year, person and short subject indication. For cataloging, I usually rely on the descriptive filenames, which can be viewed and searched via the computer’s normal mechanisms. For a few kinds of items for which it seems important, I make text files with greater detail about the contents.

DON’T use the cheap plastic envelopes to keep your original paper records in. The chemicals in them destroy the contents over time. Use proper archive quality plastic envelopes if you wish to keep them in good order for future generations. – Colin Mar 20 at 7:26

I would start by investing in some (archival-quality) plastic binder pockets. For digital storage, a small flatbed scanner will get a better image, but a digital camera is also fine for recording a digital copy. Try to organize as you go (slip an article into the plastic, scan/photograph it, and then record any additional notes about it), although I would prioritize physical organization if you’re finding it overwhelming or you’re facing a time constraint.

The great thing about using binder pockets (assuming things will fit in them) is that it’s simple to:

1. take the binder to a family reunion and let everybody page through it

2. drastically reduce the possibility of damaging something while reading

3. take the collection to a library or other archive to look up vital records

4. reorganize the order

5. group by event (wedding, death, birth, etc.)

6. group pieces by family

7. group pieces by generation

8. or change your mind halfway through and switch your organization around!

Try to include your grandmother or other older relatives in the preservation process as much as possible — hopefully they will be thrilled that you’re excited about your family history and want to share all sorts of stories about the newspaper articles, photographs, etc. (Ironically, this makes the job of “family historian” harder, since you not only need to preserve the physical object, but also organize associated stories — but it is so, so worthwhile. The number of details and even new family relationships that I learned about when reading through newspaper articles with my grandmother was astounding.)

Ephemera comes in all shapes and sizes. Check out The Heirloom Registry to preserve the stories attached to ephemera found around the house. The online registry allows users to preserve and share the stories behind family heirlooms and precious belongings. You can see the Heirloom Registry sticker on the bottom of my teacup in this picture.

As another person mentioned, digital records, as simple as taking an image with your cell phone, are a good way to capture the information. I have done this with great success in photographing an old scrapbook full of newspaper clippings my grandfather made. I can zoom in and read all the text in the article clippings. The challenge with this is HOW DO YOU ADD CONTEXT AND METADATA TO A DIGITAL FILE? And therein lays the crux of your question. I would suggest that you do as the archivists would do. Assign each piece of ephemera it’s own unique identifier (number) and then in a separate document (notebook, text file or database) record the number and then all the contextual information you know about it. Like “Grandma clipped this out of the Washington Post when Aunt Mabel died” or “Cousin Grace gave Grandma this muffin recipe in 1960 – Grandma made it once, but thought it had too much baking soda, so she adjusted the recipe. She said it was Grandpa’s favorite :)”

I’ve been scanning the family photo albums and doing some acid-free repair as I go. I have a high quality flatbed scanner and have done the photos separately (both sides if there’s anything on the reverse) and transcribed any writing on the photo, photo back or page captions into the jpeg files information.

Then I set up a camera and photograph the entire album page with all photos on it. Context can be important.

After I have a set done, I put the photos up on a photoshare site (SmugMug in my case) in a private gallery so I can share them out and have an online backup of the information.

My next project is all the stories my grandmother handwrote to my siblings and I when we were children relating her growing up in Texas and New Mexico during the great depression. They are priceless to all our family.

There is now a free eBook in PDF format available from here all about preservation of records that is well worth downloading and reading imho.

Free Ebook about ephemera preservation:
http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/documents/ebookpdf_march18.pdf

Ephemera Society of America Conference and Fair

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The Ephemera Society of America is an international organization of collectors, dealers, scholars, museums, libraries, and everyone interested in the world of paper and printing. We appreciate all aspects of ephemera, and encourage collecting, scholarship and artistry.
The Time & Place
Ephemera 33, our Conference and Fair, to be held March 15-17, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, is THE major event for our passion. We look forward to seeing you all for the weekend. For particulars and easy registration see the panel on the right.

The Conference

This year, a special program on the theme of “Ephemera: Art and Commerce” is intended to inspire and attract people who are enamored by its aesthetics, history, and applications. The program is followed by a two-day fair with 70 leading ephemera dealers

The conference will explore the multifaceted relationship between art and ephemera. Art and ephemera “intersect” at several junctions:

Ephemera may be classified as an art object, collected and studied primarily for its beauty and design rather than for its content.

Ephemera naturally reflects the artistic style (e.g. Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Wiener Werkstätte, Art Deco) of its period.

Ephemera relates to art in that we can sometimes trace the historical evolution of images appearing on ephemera (art history).

Ephemera relates to art in that over the course of history it has the transformative power to become art.

Art relates to ephemera in the similar methods that are used to create both.

Art relates to ephemera in that letterpress printers making ephemera had to develop new artistic techniques in order to compete with other methods of creating ephemera including chromolithography and engraving. These printers had to think of new “artistic” ways to use seemingly confining metal type.

Art relates to ephemera in that artists use ephemera to create art.

Perhaps the above points about art and ephemera have caused your creative juices to begin to flow. Fear not, for the conference will also provide an opportunity for participants to create art, using ephemera, under the tutelage of two well-known artisans. The materials for this adventure will be supplied.

The Ephemera Fair

Not to be out shadowed by the conference on Saturday and Sunday, March 16-17, the International Ephemera Fair with 70 select ephemera sellers from California to Maine, and Canada and England, will set up shop in the grand ballroom and promenade of the hotel, exhibiting a wide array of materials ranging from posters to friendship tokens, historical memorabilia to invitations, trade cards and manuscripts. America’s finest dealers in antique and vintage ephemera constitute an invaluable resource for collectors, researchers, scholars, curators and librarians to learn about ephemera, acquire ephemera, and make contact with ephemera collectors and dealers in a wide variety of subjects and formats. The Ephemera Fair is an essential link between collectors, dealers, institutions, and academia.

A bit of ephemera for every collecting interest. Entry to the fair is $12 for adults, Youths 12-21, $6.

The expert speakers on March 15, the Fair on March 16 and 17, and the formidable workshops on March 17, are helping to create what we believe is a landmark event for the world of printing and art and ephemera. We hope to see you there, and please share this information so that people can add it to their calendar; Greenwich is a short ride from New York City.