The revival of craft and the hand-made- Research.

I found this old stamp packet stuffed in a drawer. It is from May 2000. I used to collect stamps as a kid and these were from the millennium stamp collection when a new dawn in stamp collecting fell upon us and we all got chuffed for the millennium bug and the many things that were being commissioned, built and the optimism of a new century. The collection of stamps were a big endeavour and from 1999-2000 Royal Mail issued a set a month all themed and all about the UK and things that were happening. They came in bright informative packets and were deemed ‘highly collectable’ so I got sucked into them and collected the lot. Unfortunately they were not that collectable so I used all of the stamps up in temper, but for some reason ended up keeping some of the empty packets. A search on Wikipedia produced this;

‘In 1999 Royal Mail issued a series of stamps that were classified into 12 groups (known as “tales”) including Entertainment, Science & Technology and Sport, with one group released in each month during the year. The set issued in September 1999 called The Farmers’ Tale contained a 19p stamp that doubled as Royal Mail’s contribution to that year’s Europa postage stamp issue, which was on the theme of Parks and Reserves.

One of the most notable postage stamps in the collection was one commemorating the life of Queen front man (and avid stamp collector) Freddie Mercury. It caused controversy for the appearance of Roger Taylor in the background at the drums, as it is an understood rule that the only living people allowed to appear on British stamps could be members of the British Royal Family.

Other stamps featured: English football hero Bobby Moore; a picture of the structure of DNA; and a fossil of Archaeopteryx, the first known bird.

These stamps commemorated a selection of projects throughout the UK which had received funding from the Millennium Commission. The stamps were released in 12 monthly sub-collections with 4 stamps apiece, making a total of 48 stamps. So, in 1999 and 2000, some 96 millennium stamps.

The stamps featured such projects as the Eden Project, the Tate Modern art gallery, the National Space Centre and the Scottish Seabird Centre.’ 12th July 2017.

And with this information I feel that I am excused as an ex stamp collector as Freddie Mercury also collected stamps so we are stamp friends.

I think I have kept this packet as I liked the wooden head and his tack beard and the poem by John Cooper Clarke. It reads;

Out of bed into the Shed
To paint the wooden roses red
To ride a rocking quadruped
With a big idea in your head

Form and function in a line
The rudiments of good design
From the oaken leg to the fine wine
To table tops of melamine

There’s nothing that you couldn’t make
No effect you couldn’t fake
A pebble sprayed with metal flake
Would make a precious paperweight

Teddy bears to stuff with stuff
Like nylon mink from a lady’s muff
Cotton balls and a powder puff
Pom poms and pocket fluff

Stainless steel and a rock hard aura
The marble glance of a lost explorer
A heavy heart for the love of Nora
Chains of flowers on a draped amphora

Time time time to slay
Each crowded hour of every day
Where indolence is kept at bay
In an arty-crafy kinda way.


With this being 17 years old I wanted to know if any of the places mentioned where still going. The Lowry in Salford is and Tate Modern but what about the other two?



What the original stamps looked like- Google image search- Click HERE for original link.


Ceramica in Stoke-On-Trent sounds like my kind of place. Lets go and look at some things! After doing a bit of searching and finding that there was no website or much about it, I feared the worst and found these words;

‘It closed in March 2011 after Stoke-on-Trent City Council withdraw its £150,000 a year funding for the day to day running of Ceramica.’– accessed 12th July 2017

It is a shame really as places like this are good and have a history around them, it looks nice and interesting and would be ideal for meetings and special exhibitions now especially with all the huge arts and crafts revival that has happened since 2011. There is a piece HERE about it and HERE. I don’t know what to say about it all really as it seems a waste if all the stuff is just in boxes and people forget it ever existed.

I am not a cyclist, I didn’t pass my cycling proficiency test and I have no head for the heights or wobble that a bike entails so to type in the National Cycle Network Artworks, I was sure it would have gone the same way as Ceramica but it hasn’t!

There is a website and a map of things to see and sculptures on the trail by Andy Goldsworthy.  The idea is that you can cycle on paths all traffic free into towns and cites on special routes and you can walk on them as well.

There is a whole load of stuff to see and read about HERE and HERE.

So keeping this little piece of card for 17 years has taught me something mainly, stamp collecting doesn’t bring riches, Freddie Mercury collected stamps, go to museums and exhibitions and tell people about them so that they don’t close down and pass your cycling proficiency test.

All websites and links accessed 12th July 2017.


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