I recently acquired a batch of French holy cards (images pieuses) from the 1870s. They are utterly charming engravings on paper surrounded by a lace border, which is why they are also called “dentelles,” which is the French word for lace. Cards like this were often given as gifts for a first communion, baptism, or other important events in one’s church life and were cherished.
I have made this into high-resolution (300 dpi) scans that you can download and print or use digitally in your own collage, journal, or other mixed media work. TO USE: click on an image below for a larger resolution. You either print from there or right click and copy into an editing programme such as Paint and then size and print from there.
Please check back soon as I will be adding some images pieuses in colour!
I sell quite a bit of vintage paper from my studio, from letterpress text to handwritten letters to just plain old antique book pages. Sometimes the happy new owner of these pages is off and running with using it her work but other times I get emails saying that it is beautiful but what do I do next? Can I really use it in my pages?
The answer is, you bet. Let me show you some of the ways you can incorporate old papers into your work. As usual, I am going to show most of these methods using my altered book but remember, you can do the same in your art journals, junk journals, collage, or any other mixed media project.
- Full page coverage. Using handwritten documents or letters is one of my favourite go-to ways to start a layout. It is fun and atmospheric and allows your focal points to shine, all at the same time.
- A variation on the full page cover is to mix and match it with the original underpage. I like to rough tear a letter in an irregular way and then glue it to the base so that you can see some layer. [read more]
Last year I got lucky and found a book called Paxton’s Magazine of Botany from 1838. (Or maybe it found me.) Inside were 48 insanely beautiful, hand-coloured botanical plates of flowers. Repeat – each one of these prints was painted by hand. I am still working out how (or if) I will sell the originals but in the meantime, I am offering them as digital downloads that you can print and use in your own artwork. Each plate is high resolution, 300 dpi.
Note that the originals of these plates are over 180 years old some of these copies will have foxing and other smudging from over the years but if you love old paper as I do, you will consider this part of their patina and part of the story that they are telling. They are also in the public domain so you can use them in your creations safely.
Please go to the bottom of this post to see a video of ways that I use these images in my mixed-media and art journal [read more]
As in other parts of the world, on April 1 French children love to play pranks. Instead of April’s Fools Day it is called Poisson d’Avril. The origins are murky but for whatever reason, there is a tradition of sticking a paper fish to someone’s back and when they finally find out, you shout “C’est le poisson d’Avril !” This post is not to dissect those wacky French fish jokesters but to offer you these vintage postcards from back in the day for you to download. To use, right click and copy then add to your favourite program such as Paint or Word. Print at will and use in your collage, art journal, or mixed media projects. Happy April and Joyeux Avril !
Vintage Paper Co is one of my favourite sites for drooling over. Based in Scotland, they source hard to find handmade paper, both vintage and contemporary, as well as hand decorated paper for fine art, handmade sketchbooks, and journals. As the owner William says, “We do not sell things that are readily available from other paper merchants or art stores because what’s the point? There are businesses out there who do a brilliant job doing this and I genuinely respect what they do but I don’t want to do that.”
Earlier this year, Vintage Paper Co published a super handy glossary of paper terms to help readers and shoppers understand some of the finer points and terms used to describe their wares. If you are like me you probably pretend to understand more of these than you actually do and paper is my full time job. William was good enough to allow me to repost it, so consider the glossary below a crash course in everything you need to know about paper phraseology. Then go check out his delightful site and their inspiring wares: https://vintagepaper.co/
A PAPER GLOSSARY
ISO range of paper sizes
The degree to which paper [read more]
Last May I bought several volumes of French fashion magazine La Mode Illustrée. This was the fashion magazine of its day. A woman would buy her weekly edition that might include engravings of hairstyles, dresses, embroidery patterns, home decorating, and hats – lots of hats. When she had a year’s worth, she would have them bound in a hardcovered volume that she could then use for inspiration or to share with friends over tea.
To see a larger version, click on the photo in the gallery.
So here’s the deal. Sadly, most of the bindings of the hardbound volumes was in too poor of shape to salvage but that just gave me permission to take out the individual signatures/editions without feeling guilty. (Whew.) I am selling them like this: three (four pages – eight sides) editions per shipment. While all of the editions of this magazine are good, some are very good and I have gone through them one at a time, making packages of three numbers that include two very good ones and one okay, still pretty darn good one. The way I see it is you can cut that one up (permission!) and either cut up and/or [read more]
This altered, artist book was created from an early 20th century (English) hymn book.
The pages have been altered with a variety of paper ephemera including:
- Handwritten French and English letters, circa 1840s – 1870s;
- Astonomy lesson, Saturday Magazine, 1838;
- Hand-tinted engraving of English churchyard, 1889;
- Invoice, 1902;
- Vintage bird engravings (black and white), 1912;
- Engraving of vain woman, 1886;
- Blue-tinted woman with turban, 1919;
- Engraving of eggs, 1865;
- Welsh prayer book, 1840s;
- Kangaroo, 1911;
- Frontispiece from prize book, 1921;
- French military cahier page, 1897;
- Swiss envelope and stamp, 1902.
This is a one-of-a-kind work of altered art using a lot of original vintage paper ephemera. It takes many hours to make from preparing the book for embellishing to designing and executing that pages, each one of which is a unique piece of collage.
The cost is £175 with free worldwide shipping. Please let me know if you have any [read more]
I am obsessed with old books, old clothes, and boy, am I ever obsessed with old movies. (I met my first husband at a silent movie double feature, so there.) One of my favourite stars ever is Gladys Cooper. She is best known as a renowned character actress in the 1940s at Warner Brothers. She starred opposite Bette Davis in Now Voyager (as the oppressive mother) and in Separate Tables opposite Deborah Kerr (as the oppressive mother). She was also in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca as the really sweet sister to Laurence Olivier. What is less well known is that before all that she was a Great Beauty, when such a thing was a career.
Yesterday I hit the motherlode of Gladys Cooper postcards from her babe period. If you would like to use any of these for crafts or art journals, just right click on an image and click “Control C” then go to Word or Paint or whatever program you use for images and press “Control V.” If anyone would like a larger resolution, please contact me directly and I can send you a larger image. Enjoy!
To read a dishy biography of Ms. Cooper with clips from her films, go [read more]
Having a lot of fun with these altered book angels made from old cabinet photos and handwritten papers. They are so flirty and sweet and strange.
Book cover, French school book 1916. Woman cut from French cabinet card (with fragment of handwriting), 1917. Fragment of French, handwritten letter, 1903. Handcut wings from a variety of vintage French papers, and sheet music.
Measures 10 cm x 22 cm. All papers are original. These are not printed reproductions! It is wired for hanging, or the wire can be removed for framing. All of my pieces come with extra paper goodies. Cost is £45. Shipping worldwide is £5. You can use the PayPal button below for payment, even if you do not have a PayPal [read more]