I studied Design Crafts and having always been a bit of a Womble I am known to collect things up materials for any future artwork project.
I usually donate items to the local Art college department where I worked for years as an Art Technician, when my post was ended I chose to continue my art at home however it took a turn from seascapes and sculptures to tiny miniature artworks!
My stamp interest started when my partner's brother offered me some beautiful Chinese Duck stamps on packaging which he was putting in the rubbish bin!
I was so enthusiastic about it that he presumed I collected stamps!
I then received several gifts of packs of 100’s of stamps for Christmas and birthdays from family members who had got to hear about my 'stamp collecting hobby' although at the time didn’t intend to collect them!
To make use of the gifted stamps I began making greetings cards for family, and then developed painting an interesting background around the stamps on cards to make them more interesting and less simple.
I concentrated initially on GB Royal Mail horses, in particular the Welsh Cob Royal Mail stamp as my sister had a horse just like this called Candy.
My Sister loved this and gave cards to some to friends and they in turn asked about more.
This developed into small artworks to place in a local gallery, Ferini In Lowestoft, where my old school friend gave me the opportunity to show, which I was a bit embarrassed about at the time and she coaxed me into having the confidence!
Since I had such a welcoming response to my Postage Stamp artworks I have also developed working online to show my work to reach a wider audience… and in to the lovely friendly online community of philatelists!
Watch the special APS Stamp Chat series "Stamp Stories"
My favourite thing about working with stamps is the way it has led me to meet so many stamp enthusiasts, and customers that have become friends, with a story for each choice of stamp.
I have heard their reasons why their stamp collections mean so much to them and by putting their favourite stamps up on display in artwork they can enjoy the stamps everyday.
The stamps are beautiful little artworks already in themselves and being able to enhance this is very satisfying. There are such a wide variety of subjects that I have learnt a lot of general knowledge along the way.
I aim to have a stamp in my collection to duplicate every stamp which I have used in a painting, then I can remember all the paintings I have made for people and love to think of them on display in homes all over the world!
But I have many still on my list to find, like every stamp collector does I’m sure, but who doesn’t like a good stamp hunt!
The highlight of my stamp journey will always be that I can create something unique and different that is treasured by someone, simply by finding the right little stamp and spending a little time working with it.
I love having conversations with people nostalgically remembering their family stamp collections and discussing them enthusing their younger family members in the hobby.
It’s a joy to hear someone say they might start collecting again after leaving it off for a few years while life got busy, and being able to welcome them into some online groups where they will, like I have, met people form all over the world.
I would advise anyone who wants to start collecting to just start interacting with the fabulous online philately family that’s waiting to help advise, exchange and inform of the wide range of stamps that may appeal.
I certainly now have friends all over the world through that rescuing of a bit of packaging!
If you have a Stamp Story to tell, please email Heidi Lauckhardt-Rhoades. Please include pictures of yourself and your stamp collection!