One of my favorite things about collecting LTCs is seeing how the abilities and creativity of the LTC creators have changed over time. One of the most immediate ways that you can see this is by taking part in a “Then & Now” swap. In these swaps, participants have to make a card featuring two related/similar stamps carved at different periods in time.
Skip forward a couple years to see another drastic then & now difference. The trains featured (hidden?) on the back of the card are a series of stamps that I had carved to plant along the route of the former Old Veazie Railroad line. By the time I was ready to plant, I was already WAY too embarrassed to plant the stamps that I had carved and the series was shelved. Much, much later, I decided to implement the series, but carved all new images, like the one featured on the front of the card.
My first “Then & Now” card features Optimus Prime and his Autobot symbol. The symbol came from a series that I had carved and planted in 2010, and pulled (uh oh!) in 2011. The series didn’t get too many finders, and wasn’t rated very highly (go figure). The 2011 “now” image for this card is pretty good! As I write this, I’m actually very out of practice with my carving and I think I’d have a really hard time duplicating it now!
Here’s another Then & Now card from 2013. The now stamp was carved in haste the night before the tracker was due to be sorted and returned (yeah, that happens sometime). The the then stamp was a stamp from an Alice and Wonderland series that we pulled earlier in the year. That series featured primarily images carved in the negative, and it was really showing its age. The now stamp is much more presentable and is just waiting to be planted.
So how have you improved as a carver? How have your card design skills improved? I’d love to see!