The Story Behind the Stamp: Light Parade
I've been dying to share more about the first stamp collection I designed for Ellen Hutson, but I also wanted to document some of the stories behind the ideas and designs, so I finally got my act together and decided to make a series of layouts for my album.
These simple stories tell a little more about what inspired and informed these drawings, the memories, the love, all of the life that goes into these simple illustrations that end up on cards, layouts, in pocket page spreads, adorning tags, and for me, bookmarks. There's nothing I make that doesn't have a story behind it, that's the truth of who I am as an artist and crafter, and I getting those down on paper is tops on my list. I want to remember all of it.
With the season nearing, I started with the Light Parade set, a story near and dear to me, and a reminder that it doesn't take much to have an incredible, memorable holiday:
For all its glitter, the best memories I have of the Christmas holidays are the simplest. I remember the excitement of unpacking the ornaments one by one, the small battles over who’d get to hang each, who made what, the tug of memories and the stories we’d associated with each one changing a little with every telling.
Of all that, one of my clearest, best memories is of my mom calling to us to get our pajamas on and our butts in the car for a drive around neighborhoods to look at the lights. Some years, there’d be snacks, and though I remember cups of hot chocolate, I can’t say for sure now if that’s accurate, or just a memory I’ve conjured out of the stories of my friends doing the same thing with their children now.
There’s magic in the oohing and ahhing, magic in the twinkle of the bulbs against the dark night, the Christmas carols belted out by tiny voices, the cold wind and red noses stuck outside the windows to get a closer look. There’s magic in being together and taking it all in, and it’s this very magic that called to me as I was dreaming up designs for stamp sets.
It’s funny that in a set so clearly made of lights and houses, children, treats, a car, and good wishes, what I see most, or more accurately who I see most, is my mother. Every time I pick up the Light Parade set to make something new, I am reminded of a woman whose spirit and enthusiasm for life extended beyond financial constraints, and always found a way to offer her two very different daughters a way to enjoy the season that costs nearly nothing. I think this year I will bring this tradition back, and though it may just be Andrew and me, there will definitely be snacks and hot chocolate, and I might even give it all I’ve got with a favorite carol.
It’s been a very lucky year, not easy, but incredible, because while on paper I get to design stamps, what I really get to do is make things that tell stories, and then I get to watch as people use them to do the same. That’s worth it’s own kind of light parade.
If you like this set, you can pick up your own here: