Sunday, 9 December 2018

Sorry, no postcards sent from Guatemala

I found a post office while I was in Antigua,  Guatemala, but there were no stamps for sale, and  no way to send postcards, due to a long dispute between the Government and the Postal Service. I had heard about this from a friend in Guatemala, but wanted to double check that nothing had changed, which sadly, it hadn't. There are private couriers and methods of sending mail, but I'm not sure how reliable these are. There was  only one member of staff in this reasonably sized Post Office, and I was the only customer.  I was told the only place to  buy stamps is Guatemala City but we weren't able to go there this time.
I do have some  beautiful old Guatemalan stamps from a collection which was my dad's and these seem  even more precious now that we've visited this wonderful country!  More about the stamps  and locations  we visited coming soo

This  Guatemalan postbox  hasn't been used for a while!

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Robins and Robinabilia!

Is there such a word as Robinabilia?  That is collecting anything to do with the little red breasted garden bird we know and love and which adorns so many Christmas cards not just here in the UK but  all over the world.
My mother, Marion, had a small collection kept in a simple ring binder, of stamps, cigarette cards, tea cards and postcards, together with Christmas cards and a few random articles about Robins.

Cigarette and cigar packets, tea packets and other packaged food items often contained cards making up sets on various subjects, including birds!  You could buy albums in which to keep these and there was of course an incentive to buy more products to try and complete your set!

  Together with a handful of little ornaments, these form a rather charming little collection. Although I'm certain other collectors of ornamental china birds may have far grander displays, this is for me a  fine example of a small selection of items put together by someone who always loved to watch the birds from her window!
A robin was the subject of my Christmas card design made in 2014 and shown on the Seasonal page of my website, together with other Christmas card designs.  I used a variety of suitably coloured stamps to created the robin in the centre and British and US stamps  to make the borders! Cards are available direct from my studio - you can contact me via e mail : for full details.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Familiar faces and artwork on Mexican Banknotes

I was excited to collect my Mexican currency and to find familiar faces on the 500 Peso notes! I'm always interested to know who's on my money but often the faces and places portrayed on foreign notes in particular are unfamiliar, as with the other values of this currency which will require further research.
Artists Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera are shown here together with  their famous artworks.
 Diego Rivera's painting  of a nude with Cala Lilies is a subject which he painted  many times. 
The painting shown below is The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Myself, Diego and Senor Xolotl, painted in 1949 by Frida Kahlo. and appears on the reverse of the note .  The picture contains elements from ancient Mexican mythology, including day and night, the sun and moon and the earth goddess cihuacoatl.  One of Frida's favourite pets was a dog which also represents Senor  Xolotl, a Itzcuintli dog,  a being who guards the underworld.  She was very maternal towards her husband Diego  and said she wanted to hold him in her arms like a new-born baby, as in this painting. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

I'm not Carping ... but it would be good to see the Guildhall, Gloucester packed like a tin of Sardines!

Carping is an ancient expression meaning to complain about something .. and I'm not!  In fact, I'm very happy to say that you can see my Carp, looking quite beautiful in a silvery frame in the exhibition, Stamping Ground 2, at Gloucester Guildhall, Eastgate Street, until 30th October. (Next to TSB in case you miss the tiny entrance to this tardis like building). The print on show is a limited edition, and has proved very popular. My husband Geoff says it's his personal favourite!  Take a look for yourself!  Alongside the Carp, in an identical frame, is a can of sardines, inspired by a trip to a Portuguese post office.
People regularly ask where I get my inspiration so the blog posts are an ideal way to tell the stories.  See my blog posts of  10th and 15th January  for the story of the Sardines, with several pictures. You can access the posts by going to my website and click on the blog at the left hand side. You can sign up to receive the blogs if you'd like to!

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Severn Trows, working vessels on the River Severn

I was in Worcester yesterday and came across this little plaque showing a Severn Trow, by  the bridge across the River Severn.
The plaque reads, "Up to the mid-nineteenth century, this River was the main commercial artery of the West Midlands linking to the sea at Bristol. The Severn Trow was one of the vessels used, typified by its open gold, flat bottom and D shaped stern. "
The  Severn Trows  plied their trade on the river many years ago, but are no longer in use. You can see the remains of some of these little vessels, including the Alma and Jonadab  at the ships' graveyard at Purton, Gloucestershire, where many other types of vessels were hulked to shore up the banks of the river.   I came across a scale model of the Severn Trow  Norah,  in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich  and made a stamp collage depicting her in full sail  in her heyday. She was built in 1968 and sadly beached one hundred years later.   A  framed print is currently on show in the exhibition, Stamping Ground 2 in Gloucester Guildhall, Eastgate Street until 31st October .

Severn Trow, Norah, Stamp Collage by Rachel Markwick 

Monday, 8 October 2018

Johanna Lucretia, Stamp Collage . Now on show at Gloucester Guildhall until 30th October 2018

The Tall ships festival last year provided me with much inspiration for stamp collages, but I took a long time before embarking on my voyage of discovery and creating several new pictures!

The Johanna Lucretia is  just one of these but unlike others seen in the dock area during the festival,  I've portrayed her out on the high seas where she is often to be found. She was built in Belgium in 1945 and if you look  closely you will notice that I've used some old Belgian stamps to recreate her hull.

 For several of my latest ship collages, I've enjoyed using a new technique which is to sew the rigging using thread and scrim. She's technically known as a Topsail Schooner, and is 29 metres in length. In 1989 she was refitted in Gloucester by the firm T.Nielsen &  Co and used for training and chartered trips. She was found abandoned again in Gloucester Docks in 2008 and her current owners had to carry out another major restoration.

You can see the original Stamp Collage of the Johanna Lucretia in the exhibition, Stamping Ground 2, at Gloucester Guildhall until  30th October 2018 in the upstairs exhibition hall. Limited edition prints are also available and you can see a framed example of one of these at the joint exhibition called "Between Seeing and Dreaming", at The Old Passage Inn, Arlingham which will be on until the end of this year.   Gloucester Guildhall Box Office also have cards on sale  of many of the pictures in the exhibition and additional flags too! 

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Cosmati Blue - Stamp Collage fun and fabric design, inspired by Roman Cosmati floors

Cosmati red - a commission
Having enjoyed  completing a commission  on a theme of circles, inspired by the Cosmati floors of Rome,I made another piece along similar lines, but in different colours and a slightly different format.
The recipient of the original piece was very pleased with the choice of colours  used to make the first collage, as they were among her favourites. My  preferred colours  are blues, greens and turquoise shades so I've had great fun making a piece which I eventually hope to have printed in cotton fabric. I've found a wonderful fabric printing site, where you can have your own designs printed on various types of cotton fabric, to the size that works best for your own design.   You can see this design below at Gloucester Guildhall from 2nd to 30th October as it is part of my  new Stamping Ground 2 exhibition. 
Cosmati Blue