The Portland Stamp Company The Portland Stamp Company

Stamp No. 022Sarah Wildfang

Sarah was a passionate stamp-collector as a child and has happy memories of leafing through stamp albums at the dining room table with her highly creative grandparents in Michigan. Today she lives in San Francisco and likes drawing and doodling with ink and pencil, playing around with design, layout and illustration on the computer, and all things visual and tactile.


Have you designed a stamp before?

I haven’t really designed a stamp before, but I made some freewheeling artist stamps at a “faux postage” workshop at the San Francisco Center for the Book and I also like drawing and painting directly on to blank perforated stamp sheets (like your Lick & Stick ones, to be exact).


What was the most interesting or fun aspect of designing a poster stamp? What unique challenges did it present?

I wanted to make a collection of stamps in a variety of sizes that people could tear apart and use if they wanted to. I recently got one of those old wooden type drawers with all of the little compartments in it. Once I hung it up on the wall, it wasn’t long before those compartments were filled with various small objects. I thought of my stamp sheet kind of like a 2-D version of that type drawer and I enjoyed the process of planning and designing my own “compartments” with the perforations. I also got to have the fun of creating all the cats and cat-related items to put in each space. Once I got started on that it was hard to stop.

Having the opportunity to combine digital and letterpress printing was also exciting as the letterpress adds subtle dimensionality and extra liveliness to the sheet.


Tell us about the art. Did you create something new for this stamp?

I’m very fond of stamps, cats, and puns, therefore I had the idea to make a stamp “Catalogue” (lol). Since I collected stamps as a kid, some of the feelings and memories from those early stamp-collecting days may have seeped into the art as well. Because we were creating these in December, there are also a few references to the winter solstice in there. I had fun playing around with different illustration styles and with combining analog (ink, pencil and typing) and digital (photoshop) in the designs. Most of the art is new but some elements are based on a few hand-drawn cat stamps that I previously made to share with mail art artists in the correspondence group that I belong to in San Francisco.


Anything else? 

It was very special to have the chance to make a whole sheet of stamps. Thank you so much for this fantastic opportunity to collaborate!


The Artist Series

An ongoing collaboration with invited designers, artists, and writers who create original work for an unusual form: the poster stamp. The stamps are printed on lickable, gummed paper and pinhole perforated by hand on our vintage machines. The sheets are signed and numbered by the artist, and released in editions of 100. Suitable for framing. View full series.

Upcoming releases include Bwana Spoons, Ka’ila Farrell Smith, and Art Chantry