At a flea market a few years back, I came across a box of old Florida postcards; images of an idealized paradise portrayed in exaggerated color. In the tradition of vivid Highwaymen paintings, palms, hibiscus and Spanish moss framed spectacular sunsets or dotted the shores of languid lakes reflecting amazing blue skies and graceful pink flamingos. Flipping one over I learned that In January 1938 Eve wrote from Orlando to Ede in Connecticut, that she had found a room,had a lead on a job and the weather was like summer time; the back of another, stamped 1957 revealed that Ethel, of Saint Petersburg, had informed Mrs. Burbank of Boston that a box of shells would soon be arriving at her door; and a note from “us” let Miss Pearl of Willow Grove, PA, know that they were “having a grand time” during their 1949 tour of Florida.
While the interesting shades of color had caught my eye, the imagery, real and suggested, and hopeful messages from the past, caught my imagination. So the box, filled with fading images and forgotten stories came home with me. Now I am a part of their story, and they of mine.
So far the vintage cards have found new purpose simply framed as art, an up-dated lampshade, refurbished trash can, and unique note cards that anyone would love to receive!
By making copies of the postcards for all my projects, I have preserved the originals. For the lampshade Kate, http://www.etsy.com/shop/artandambience, made copies of individual postcards, then decoupaged them, one by one, over a plain lampshade then finished off the edges with a rich brown, vintage, velvet trim.
Next I brushed onto the trash can, a coat of water based Polycrylic clear satin (I could have used decoupage).
After first trimming off any white edges of the copies I then applied the full sheets over the polycrylic (or decoupage) and gently rubbed out the wrinkles and bubbles starting in the center of each page.
Once the surface was covered I checked for any areas that looked too uniform or had long straight lines in the layout. By layering a copy of a single card over the problem areas I achieved a more pleasing, random pattern.
Being careful not to overwork, which may make the copies run, I applied a coat of the polycrylic over the entire can.
This same process could be used with old photos , letters or any thing that can be copied onto paper. Be creative and have fun!