Collecting Ephemera:
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What is "Ephemera?" 
The list of what constitutes ephemera is a long one, but hopefully this list of  examples from the American Ephemera Society will give you a good idea of what ephemera includes: advertisements, bank checks, trading cards, billheads, bonds, bookmarks, bookplates, broadsides, brochures, business cards, calendars, cameo stamps, chromos, cigar box labels & bands,  die-cuts, greeting cards, indentures, invitations, labels, letters, magazines, maps, newspapers, packaging, pamphlets, paper dolls, passes, photographs, postcards,  posters, programs, rewards of merit,  sheet music, songsters, stocks, tickets, timetables, trade cards, trade catalogs, valentines, etc.

Whew! And I could add more... but I won't.

So, "ephemera" is a really just a rather fancy-sounding name for the sorts of paper we already hang onto for sentimental reasons. And many of these items find their way into our scrapbooks, because they bring back memories of times gone by and loved ones no longer with us. 

Or sometimes they remind us of places from a more distant past: towns where our ancestors once lived, or maybe roads they would have traveled. One of my aunts used to have a "Brown Mule" chewing tobacco ad, a gift from my father. Did she favor Brown Mule? No! But their grandfather's fondness for Brown Mule was legendary!  Dad and Aunt Virginia both enjoyed the fond memories of J. W. COX the old ad brought back to them. Remembering that story, I later got a big kick out of being able to send my aunt an old Brown Mule tobacco tag  that I'd found on eBay!

Now you know the truth: you're not just an ordinary pack rat: you're an Ephemera Collector!

Add these books to your Collector's Library, and fine-tune your collection. Or just find some fun new ideas for using the ticket stubs, railroad timetables, maps, letters, receipts, and library cards you already have!

New! Paper Collectibles: The Essential Buyer's Guide
"This entertaining and informative reference for the beginner or committed paper collector is worth the paper it's printed on. Arranged by collecting categories, this guide contains more than 1,500 listings with pricing factors, sources and strategies for buying and selling. Also includes a comprehensive history of paper and paper-making that's not pulp fiction!"

New! Collage Lost and Found
"Now there's a hip way for crafters to bring family history into their daily lives. Collage Lost and Found combines basic collage techniques and found objects to create edgy and unusual crafts with not only style, but a story to tell, as well. Highlights include: 20 step-by-step projects with easy, fashionable designs for greeting cards, magnets, necklaces, journals, and more; Sassy, and alluring artwork that reflects the author's old-world Sicilian upbringing and her fascination with a bygone era; Inspirational photo galleries packed with ideas, as well as information on basic collage, collecting ephemera, and jewelry techniques Readers won't be able to resist these clever ideas for turning long-forgotten treasures into items they can wear, display, or send!"

Urgent 2nd Class: Creating Curious Collage, Dubious Documents, And Other Art From Ephemera
"His internationally best-selling Griffin & Sabine saga is treasured for its blend of lyrical storyline and compelling, imaginative art. Now Nick Bantock gives a short course in visual creativity in Urgent 2nd Class. A tour through the techniques and materials which constitute his signature style, Bantock shares with readers numerous ways ways of using old paper ephemera -- maps, letters, postcards, ledgers, scraps, photos, and many more items -- to create their own idiosyncratic art. Written for people of all artistic skill levels, the materials mentioned are all easily found and inexpensive, and the processes are simple enough to do at home (and with access to the most advanced machinery used in the book, a photocopier). An inspirational guide to the simple artistic techniques which can alchemically transform ephemera into remarkable works, Urgent 2nd Class is the handbook for a new generation of visual poets."

Encyclopedia of Ephemera: A Guide to the Fragmentary Documents of Everyday Life for the Collector, Curator and Historian
The joy of finding an old box in the attic filled with postcards, invitations, theater programs, laundry lists, and pay stubs is discovering the stories hidden within them. The paper trails of our lives -- or ephemera -- may hold sentimental value, reminding us of great grandparents. They chronicle social history. They can be valuable as collectibles or antiques. But the greatest pleasure is that these ordinary documents can reconstruct with uncanny immediacy the drama of day-to-day life.
"The Encyclopedia of Ephemera is the first work of its kind, providing an unparalleled sourcebook with over 400 entries that cover all aspects of everyday documents and artifacts, from bookmarks to birth certificates to lighthouse dues papers. Continuing a tradition that started in the Victorian era, when disposable paper items such as trade cards, die-cuts and greeting cards were accumulated to paste into scrap books, expert Maurice Rickards has compiled an enormous range of paper collectibles from the obscure to the commonplace. His artifacts come from around the world and include such throw-away items as cigarette packs and crate labels as well as the ubiquitous faxes, parking tickets, and phone cards of daily life.
"As this major new reference shows, simple slips of paper can speak volumes about status, taste, customs, and taboos, revealing the very roots of popular culture."

 Collage Discovery Workshop: Make Your Own Collage Creations Using Vintage Photos, Found Objects and Ephemera
"Inside readers will find more than a dozen innovative techniques and step by step demonstrations of 12 different collage projects specifically designed to help them achieve the modern, eclectic collage effect that's so popular today.

"Collage Discovery Workshop shows readers how to rust or antique any object for collage and includes four recipes for creating amazing collage backgrounds from peeling paper to textured paint and so much more. In addition, five different image transfer techniques--for layering vintage photos and other art--along with creative exercises, journaling prompts and tips on altering books are included. Projects consist of the following:

  • Collaged tin refrigerator magnets
  • Heritage collage to honor a friend or relative
  • Miniature candy tin assemblages
  • Shadowboxes
  • Beeswax collages

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