New 2013 Stamps Will Feature Illustrations From Early 20th-Century Seed Packets

Do you dream of creating the perfect garden in 2013? Perhaps the new Vintage Seed Packets stamps will inspire you.

VintageSeedPackets-Forever-Booklet20-v2Each of the stamps depicts the perfect blossoms of one variety of flower—a trio of cosmos in delicate white, pink, and red; stalks of yellow, pink, and coral digitalis; bright yellow primrose flowers with orange centers; a vibrant orange calendula; white, pink, and blue aster blooms; two shades of pinks (dianthus), one pale, one dark; linum blossoms in a rich red; white drifts of alyssum; clusters of phlox in red, pink, and purple; and pale pink, subtle yellow, and muted orange-red zinnia flowers.

Created using chromolithography—a process that replaced hand-tinted lithographs and allowed for inexpensive multi-color prints—the illustrations featured on the stamps originally graced the fronts of flower seed packets printed between 1910 and 1920.

Guaranteed to brighten your letters and bring a smile to your face, the Vintage Seed Packets stamps will be issued as Forever® stamps later this year. (Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.)

What Grows in Your Garden of Love?

What defines a romantic garden for you? There are almost as many answers as there are gardens. Some people envision a cottage-style garden, informal in design with dense plantings and old-fashioned flowers. Others think of fragrance gardens, filled with flowering plants and herbs that intoxicate the senses. Formal gardens, with their well-ordered designs, symmetrical paths, and geometrical plantings, appeal to others. But what kind of garden do you think the artist had in mind when creating the 2011 Love stamp, Garden of Love?

GardenLove-Forever-block-BGv1Lush with green leaves and bright blossoms, illustrator José Ortega‘s vision was a fantasy garden, where hearts, subtly interwoven among the foliage, seem to bloom along with the flowers. “Garden of Love depicts the abundance of life, its generosity, whose spirit is to be shared by all its creatures,” says Ortega. “Love’s definition is broader than romantic love. Love is that colorful, full feeling you get when you enjoy being a part of and sharing in the generosity of life.”

Garden of Love was the first Love stamp to be issued in a block of ten designs and the first to bear the Forever® denomination.

SealedwithLove-2013-Forever-single-BGv2The 2013 Love stamp, Sealed with Love, was issued last month, and tonight (February 12) we are joining More Love Letters from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. (EST) for an online “Sealed with Love” social party. Come take part and fill your evening with letter writing, giveaways (!), and goodwill. You can follow along on the and on Twitter. We’ll be tweeting from all night and you can click into all the fun through #sealedwithlove. Get your stamps and envelopes ready. We hope to “see” you all there!

The All-Encompassing Vision of Sculptor Isamu Noguchi

“Everything is sculpture,” Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi once said. “Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture.”

Noted for merging Western and Eastern influences, Noguchi expanded the definition of sculpture with creations that ranged from portraiture and abstract sculpture to graceful meditation gardens and sprawling landscapes. One of his most prominent works of the 1980s was a Japanese-inspired garden for a corporate center in California that included elements representing the local topography.

Art director Derry Noyes wanted to make sure that the stamps issued in 2004 on the 100th anniversary of Noguchi’s birth captured as many aspects of the artist’s work as possible, from the abstract to the representational and from the functional to the purely artistic.”I wanted to show the breadth of Noguchi’s work,” she says. “I was thrilled to be able to show an Akari lamp, because he was so famous for those, and I think it’s important for the public to see it alongside a very accessible portrait and some of his other, more abstract works. I think you really get a sense of Noguchi’s range, as well as his eye for detail.”

The resulting stamps highlight the work of a masterful artist whose creations prompt even the most casual viewer to pause and examine them further. “My hope,” says Noyes, “is that people will see these stamps and understand that his work really speaks to a broad range of human experience.”

If you could design a set of Noguchi stamps, which of his pieces would you include? Let us know in the comments.

Reproduced with permission of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation Inc., New York.

Posted in Art & Photography, Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month | Tagged abstract, art, , Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, Derry Noyes, , Isamu Noguchi, Japan, sculpture