Poinsettia Stamp Now Available

[From guest contributor Carol]

The Poinsettia Forever® stamp is available now! This morning, the stamp will be released officially at the ASDA National Postage Stamp Show in New York City.

The stamp art is so realistic that you can almost feel the texture of the leaves. There is a good reason for that—artist William Low used a live plant as his model. Low started with a lush, full poinsettia bought at its peak growth. He placed it in the perfect location in his studio to allow the light to accentuate the plant’s vivid color.

When he began by working from the live model, he took several photographs so that he would have a reference point for when the plant was past its prime. This was especially helpful with the flowers, which are not, as many people believe, the bright red leaves—called bracts—but rather the small, modest cup-shaped structures in the center.

For the Poinsettia stamp, Low used a pressure sensitive screen on which he “painted” his brushstrokes using a stylus, adding dabs of color and weaving layers of texture into the digital painting as he filled in the details. (If you’d like to learn more about Low’s artistic process, check out this fascinating video on his website.)

While painting a perfectly detailed poinsettia might be extremely difficult, you can still make your own poinsettia art. Design poinsettia place cards for your holiday parties or learn how to make felt poinsettias for decorations. If you are adept with a sewing machine, make beautiful embroidered organza poinsettias to embellish packages, candlesticks, wreaths. Kids love crafts, too, so help them make poinsettia ornaments for the tree, create beautiful paper poinsettias, or paint poinsettias using their own hand prints!

Don’t forget that the beautiful Poinsettia stamps will brighten and decorate all your cards and letters this holiday season. Buy the stamps at usps.com/stamps, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

2013 Christmas Stamps Revealed

Surprise! It’s Christmas in August. (Really, who can wait for December?) We’ll be releasing two new Christmas stamps this year and here’s your first look at them.

Holiday rectangle pairThe first stamp features a cheerful poinsettia, the most popular holiday plant in the United States. The second shows a detail from “Virgin and Child” by Jan Gossaert. Both are timeless symbols of the Christmas season, but can you guess in what century Gossaert created his oil-on-wood painting?

Both stamps will be issued as Forever® stamps in October.