Artist's Big Effort Yields Tiny Masterpiece
|Friday, September 16, 2005 Filed: 6:50 PM
EDT (22:50 GMT)
John Cropper, VSC Staff Reporter
OAK CREEK, WISCONSIN -- Artist and illustrator Tania Lee was
introduced to a whole new art world on Friday morning.
Her sponsor promised to reproduce her work hundreds of millions of times
and circulate it the world over. One small problem: the artwork would be
less than one square inch in size!
Tania Lee, artist for the 3¢ Coffeepot, released Friday.
|Already recognized for her watercolor
illustrations, Lee (left) was tapped to design the sixth subject in
the American Designs series of definitive stamps for the USPS. This series
first debuted in 2002 with the 5¢ American Toleware coil.
She began work
in 2003 with an idea that late eighteenth-century
silver would make an excellent addition to this series and set out to
research candidate pieces that would fit the model for a vertical
definitive stamp, which measures about an inch tall and seven-eights on an
She first focused on the works of well-known colonial silversmith and
patriot Paul Revere. After several
|months and many pieces, she was
forced to abandon Revere, mainly due to the fact that many of his designs
were simply too wide to fit on a definitive stamp.
She then turned to
Revere's contemporaries. Her search finally led her to the Philadelphia
Museum of Art, where she browsed a display of dozens of sterling
candidates before settling on a 1786 pear-shaped piece that fell within
the size restrictions imposed by the medium.
|Lee then went to work reproducing the design,
which involved several hours in front of the actual piece, sketching its
details. She then experimented with another sterling piece, studying what
effects lighting played in surface reflectivity and color. Working with
nothing more than a handful of colors, Lee produced a very detailed
mock-up, measuring approximately four by six inches (right).
After a brief review, the design was deemed too detailed for use on a
stamp, as most of the detail would be muddled or lost entirely when the
design was reduced. Undeterred, Lee re-worked the design, which was
ultimately accepted (below).
Take one: The initial stamp design submitted for review.
Final Product: Lee with the second design, which was
adopted and re-worked into the stamp.
|USPS Art Director Derry Noyes received the
design, cropped it to fit the stamp and added the inscriptions. The
resulting product bore a three-cents denomination and was issued Friday
morning in rolls of ten-thousand. Copies were made available on Saturday
morning, and Tania Lee's first stamp design added a new chapter to her
Lee has expressed an interest in designing more stamps, but
simply smiled when asked what other designs she was working on for the
USPS, adding only that she had submitted, "a few design ideas". If her
first offering is any indication, we're certain to see more from this
talented artist in upcoming years.
|Additional information about
this and other U.S. stamps can be found on the USPS web site, located at
www.usps.com. For more information, or
to find a local stamp club near you, visit the American Philatelic
Society's web site at www.stamps.org.
Free stamp collecting information is available from The Virtual Stamp Club
Virtual Stamp Club Home Page