Creative Dundee

BLOG: How We Made Put Your Stamp on Dundee

Illustrators and designers, Laura Darling, Louise Kirby, Pamela Scott and Suzanne Scott, pitched for the 2019’s Community Ideas Fund with the idea of Put Your Stamp on Dundee and were selected by the Amps Community to make it happen. In this blog they describe the process of developing their collaboration! You still have time to apply for this year’s Community Ideas Fund, here’s how…

We are all illustrators and designers based in Dundee and supporters of the Amps Community. We all knew each other already from various workshops and craft markets, from working on public art projects like Open/Close, Maggies Penguin Parade and Oor Wullies Big Bucket Trail but it was a little nudge from Sam from Creative Dundee that inspired us to meet up to brain storm ideas to pitch for the Amps Community Ideas Fund. After a fun evening in the pub throwing around ideas we decided on a two part project that was inspired by the sights, scenery and patterns that can be found whilst exploring Dundee. We had another catch up, not in the pub… to get our pitch sorted and were absolutely thrilled when our project was selected for the fund by our fellow amps supporters in October 2019.

We decided that the best way of sharing info about the project was to create an Instagram page so we set up @Stamp_Dundee. Part one was all about getting out and about and discovering Dundee in a new way. We each made a viewfinder which we took photographs through whilst out on our wanders and encouraged our Instagram followers to do the same. We wanted to see some of the lovely views, little details and interesting patterns that can be found around the city.

For part two, we set ourselves the challenge of starting a drawing each, inspired by the sights we had seen through our viewfinders, which would then be added to by each of us. If anyone remembers the game consequences then its a bit like that but with drawing! As you can see from the time-lapse we were lucky to get a beautiful sunny day for our socially distanced drawing session in Laura’s garden! We purposefully didn’t pre-plan what to draw and we set a time limit of 30 minutes before passing each drawing on to the next person and so on until we all had added to all four. The results are great! Laura’s quick, loose charcoal drawings that capture Dundee’s buildings and greenery, Louise’s ink drawings that show her keen eye for pattern and texture, Pamela’s pen drawings show her love of street scenes and rooftops and Suzanne’s quirky pen drawings pick out details from nature and architecture, all work really well together. We wanted to see what others would create too and each of the starter illustrations were made available to download for free from the Creative Dundee website here.

So the name… Put your stamp on Dundee… The original plan was to print out large posters of our collaborative illustrations and to then host a workshop at the McManus Galleries as part of Dundee Design Month in May 2020 where the public could drop-in and make a foam stamp to print on top of our drawings. Due to this crazy year we had to scrap that plan and after some zoom calls we decided to keep the name anyway and designed our viewfinders to look like postage stamps. Stamp Dundee also celebrates that James Chalmers, who was a printer with a bookshop in Dundee, saved the postal system. He is regarded as the originator of the concept of adhesive postage stamps and franking, which would later be adopted throughout the postal systems of the world. You can still find his printer in The McManus where we were going to hold our workshop but his old shop on Castle Street isn’t so obvious anymore. He also has a bronze plaque on Discovery Walk (designed by our stamp gal Suzanne) celebrating his gifts to the world in Slessor Gardens. 

We decided to print a limited edition run of the collaborative illustrations and the starter illustrations. These were made in to packs containing eight postcards each and were given to a selection of Dundee community groups as well as some that were posted out (using stamps!) to those who responded to an Instagram giveaway. We have seen some great illustrations from those who have put their own stamp on the starter illustrations. Check out the #StampDundee to see some of the results!

Laura Darling is an illustrator and works in a shed at the bottom of her garden. She is inspired by noticing things and drawing them, often on paper and sometimes on sculptures and walls. @darlingbyname

Louise Kirby is a designer and illustrator who creates bespoke prints for a range of applications from site specific installations to commissions. Her designs bring the positives into focus so that it connects people to the world around then. She designs a collection products called Dundee Delights. @louisekirbydesign / @dundeedelights

Pamela Scott is a printmaker and illustrator who works from her home studio in Dundee. She creates drawings, prints, paintings and public art inspired by music, architecture, nature, people and places. @pamelaprints

Suzanne Scott is an artist and illustrator based in Dundee working under the name WhimSicAL LusH. She creates unique, quirky illustrations that feature on ranges of prints, stationery, homeware and more. Suzanne’s work is inspired by the little details all around us that often pass us by, whether they be tiny toadstools or intricate rooftops,scruffy dogs chasing bees or cats playing in boxes. @whimsicallush

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