Canadian artist wins ‘best in show’ for dress made of 11,000 stamps

Canadian artist Monique Martin won the “best in show” prize at last year’s Saskatchewan Wearable Art Gala for her dress “Postmistress,” which was crafted from about 11,000 cancelled postage stamps from around the world.

Some of the used stamps commemorate important Canadian events while others—from different corners of the world—feature cancellation marks from the respective issuing country. Other materials used for the dress include chiffon, beads, sequins, lycra, buttons, thread, cardboard, glue, ink, nylons, ribbon, boots and venetian blind hardware. All materials were repurposed from second hand stores.


Martin made the dress using a variety of techniques, including hand stitching, collage, sewing and paper engineering.

“This dress plays on the words post and mistress which can be read in two ways,” reads Martin’s website. “Postmistress, a woman in charge of a post office, when gender issues allowed that term or Postmistress could be thought of in another way that involves someone other than your husband. Either way this would be a very sexy way to have the mail delivered.”

The dress was made using a variety of techniques, including hand stitching, collage, sewing and paper engineering. (Photo by Monique Martin)

She said the stamps also depict a “visual pictorial history of many events” from the world over.

“It was fascinating to find, sort and sew the stamps to the dress. I believe in the sending of old fashioned mail, that uses the handwriting of the sender, a stamp, and a person to deliver it. The touching through handwriting, pen and paper across a distance, the effort to write, enclose a letter and mail it makes it a cherished object, a special gift, to be held with a type of reverence.”

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