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The TAM Rubber Stamp Archive (Newsletter).

(The cover besides this text is from the hard-copy version that is spread into the mail art network now and then. The TAM Rubber Stamp Archive © logo was designed by The Ragged Edge Press in NY , USA).


The Rubberstamp-Archive is now over 23 years old and every day more contributions come in. Several documentations about this archive are previously made, and in this newsletter you will find an overview of all the other publications. This newsletter is updated every month and is sent to mail-artists, mail-art archives and magazines to inform about the rubberstamp archive.

For the latest details and exhibition a .PDF-file of the catalogue was made and is available HERE: GET THE CATALOGUE of the exhibition at the L-Gallery in Moscow - Russia - 2004. To view a selection of the content of the archive, you can go to the TAM Rubberstamp Archive Blog where a lot of visuals are published.


After the start of the archive in 1983 lots of things happened. What started with the collecting of prints of rubberstamps grew into a large collection of historic items/facts of the mail-art years after 1980 and a collection of original rubberstamps and maga zines. The main part of the archive is the collection of half A4-sized papers which are sent into the mail-art network with the purpose to document the rubberstamps mail- artists all over the world use. Especially artistic rubberstamps and selfmade stamps are collected. To give you an idea of how things grew and are today, here follows a list of some facts concerning the archive:


October 1983: Start of the Rubberstamp Archive by sending out the first stamp-sheets.

1985: List with all names of contributors of the last 2 years (6 pages) was sent to all contributors. What started as a kind of mail-art project now turned into research and collecting.

October 1985: The TAM-Rubberstamp Archive is mentioned in the American magazine 'Rubberstampmadness' in an interview by Kate Lanxner. She visited me in Tilburg for the interview. If you are interested; a reprint of this (3-pages) interview is available.

January 1987: The 5000th invitation/stamp-sheet was sent out into the network. All stampsheets are handstamped with exeption of a few experimental stampsheets.

1988: All addresses of participants are put into the computer (Reflex relational database). The address-list also contains old addresses of mail-artists that have moved. It is a historical list sorted by country and names. Because of the computerized form in a relational database-program all kind of statistics analyses are possible. The address-list will never be used for commercial purposes, but only for research-purposes.

July 1989: Newsletter is published with the statistical details about the spreading of the participants sorted by country (one page) with stamp-prints of original rubber stamps that are donated to the archive on it.

July 1989: Info-letter 1989 about archive sent out (small circulation).

July 1990: Info-letter 1990 was sent out (small circulation).

May 1991: Start of a computerized info-letter about the archive (like this printed version). Every month a new version is printed and circulated. At this time I do not xerox the stamp-sheets anymore, but print them on the computer. Sometimes I use different colored paper for it. Also non- chlorified wood-free paper is used for archiving purpoces and enviromental reasons.

August 1991: Because of the changes in the world old countries changed into smaller independent countries. The address-list is updated in this way, but it will stay 'historicly'. So the name of the country is depending on the date the contribution arrived (like East-Germany or Germany, USSR or Russia and Ukraine) depending on the date the contribution arrived). In August 1991 the USSR fell apart, and lots of new countries were formed. Also in Yugoslavia changes occur. The rubberstamp prints sometimes tell a lot about the situation the mail-artists are in.

June 1992: The donated rubberstamps are all mounted on wooden blocks. It makes the use of the rubber-stamps more easily. I use the colors red, green and blue for painting these wooden blocks. The archive collection looks now quite colorful.

July 1992: All original rubberstamps in the archive are printed in a special book. All donated rubber-stamps can be found in this documentation.

1992: In the congress-year 1992 I met lots of mail-artists. For these meetings several (congress-) rubberstamps are made, or sometimes rubberstamps are donated to the archive. In this year I travelled to Belgium, France, Sweden, Germany and Estonia.

September 1992: In Hagen, Germany, I gave some workshops Eraser- carving together with Wolfgang Hein at 'Stempel- Mekka-1'. Hopefully this results in more people creating their own rubberstamps. As a result of these workshops I also wrote an article about how to make eraser-carved rubberstamps. If you are interested in this article, just ask for a reprint.

Oktober 1992: A friend of mine brought some chemicals to produce my own rubber / plastics (for technical details: silcon liquid rubber with catalisator forms a soft rubber-like material. The difference with rubber is that it doesn't absorb the ink and therefor gives a special effect with the printing. Also the format of erasers is limited, and this material brings therefore new possibilities). The two components can be mixed and in a form it is transformed into a silicon stamp. This gives me the possibility to make my own 'ready made' stamps. Some results are sent out to fanatic rubberstampers.

1993: Because of the 10th anniversary of the archive a special booklet is printed about the Archive. This newsletter was part of it. Also in this year I purchased some new tools for carving eraser stamps. Special stickers for the Archive were made and sticked on the stamps and the newsletters.

September 1993: In Hagen, Germany, 'stempelMekka-2' was organised again by Diana and Wolfgang (Stamp-firm Heindesign). Off course I was there again. I met the few rubberstamp-makers that there are in Europe, and also some mail-artists like Peter Brandt (Germany), Iris-Ihring (Sweden), Gerart Bot (Holland), and also I finally met with Anna Banana (Canada). A nice surprise of this last meeting was that Anna wrote an article about her travels through Europe, and used the photo of me, her and Diana as illustration for this article. So in Rubberstampmadness I discovered the nicely documented souvenir of this meeting.

December 1993: The 10.000 stamp-sheet is sent out to Guy Bleus in Belgium for Administrative purposes. He did a wonderful job with it.

June 1994 : A special Rubberstamp for the archive is made and will be sent to special contributors. For others it can be ordered by sending US$ 3,- (includes postage) as a help for the archive.

August 1994 : New publications about the archive are in progress. More about this in future newsletters. Because of the size of the archive documentation will grow too. The addresslist is now a booklet with over 35 pages, The thousands of returned stamp-sheets are sorted by country and put into boxes. Sometimes special sets of 20 stampsheets are sent to special contributors (like ex posto facto , M.B. Corbett, Anne W. Polster, Rudi Rubberoid, Tim Blackburn, Henning Mittendorf, Michael Leigh, etc.) These sheets are especially marked so I can see how the connections are made. Every stamp-sheet has its own history.

September 1994 : I visited Stempel-Mekka-3 in Hagen again. The event grows to the biggest stamp-event in Europe. Every Stempel-Mekka brings nice and surpise-meetings besides the 'reunions' of the people who visited all three of the events so far. This year I met with Tim Mancusi (USA), who did an exhibition there with his larger stamp-works.

1995 : from May 3rd to August 26th the 'Musée de la Poste' in Paris arranged an exhibition about artists' rubber stamps. The show was opened with a performance by John Held Jr. and Picasso Gaglione. After that event they visited also TAM (Netherlands)

September 1995 : At the TAM-Gallery there is an exhibition of the FOUND STAMPS by Picasso Gaglione. The collection is donated to the archive after the exhibition. Special booklet of this exhibition is made by Picasso (edition of 20)

October 1995 : An A4 paper and A3 paper are produced with all the names and countries of the participants so far. The letters are printed in very small print, so it fitted on a single paper! The A3 version is just an enlargement.

March 1996 : The numberstamp I use to number the stamp-sheets I sent out is replaced after 16 years of good service with a new rubber-stamp.

MAY 1996 : A limited edition of this newsletter is printed in booklet form and sent into the network. Normally the newsletter is printed with small letters, but for this booklet I used a special layout. Edition: 200 copies. Start with the sending out of special stamp-sheets for the exhibition in San Francisco

JUNE/JULY 1996 : A limited edition of the updated newsletter is printed in booklet form and sent again into the network. Normally the newsletter is printed with small letters, but for this booklet I used a special layout. Edition: 200 copies. Together with this booklet and also seperatly special stamp-sheets are printed which can be sent directly to San Francisco for the upcoming exhibition. Because it is impossible to exhibit all the items of the TAM Rubber Stamp Archive - collection, in this way the contributors can still send in the prints of rubberstamps they think should be exhibited. For me it was a surprise too see which sheets joined the collection since the exhibition was arranged by John Held Jr. from Stamp Art Gallery.

JULY 1996 : The 15,000th stampsheet was printed and sent to John Held Jr. USA.

October 1996 : In this month there was an exhibition from the TAM Rubberstamp Archive at the STAMP ART GALLERY in San Francisco where a small selection of the archive was shown. Opening: October 5th, and in the end of October I visited San Francisco myself. On October 26th 1996 I was there to tell something about the archive, the history, and in fact tell about some of the details mentioned in this newsletter too. This Stamp Art Gallery has always special exhibitions in connection to the Rubber Stamp. Their address: 466 8th Street , San Francisco, CA 94103 , USA , Phone : (+) 415.252.5975. Since not everything from the archive can be exhibited I worked out the concept that you can influence the exhibition by sending in special stamp-sheets with your new stamps. I distributed them together with these newsletters. Only original stamp-sheets were accepted for this exhibition. The sheets are all numbered with a number-stamp, so -unless somebody is making fake stampsheets- that is how you can recognize them.

April/May 1997 : I made special Collage-stamp sheets that I distribute into the network. 4 mail artists have to stamp their stamps before the sheets are archived. This way more networkers will see the stamps people use before it is archived. The first collage-sheets are now being returned to the archive....

July 1997 /April 1998 : Because of the succes of the collage-stampsheets I made some more and am distributing them into the network. They have a good concept, since the stamp-prints are first passed on, the info about the rubber stamp archive is distributed, and the results are a real result of networking. Maybe in the future a special exhibition of these collage-stampsheets will be arranged. I'll keep you informed online as well as through the snail-mail.

May 1998 : The Sticker Dude (Joel) from New York (USA) designs new rubberstamps for the IUOMA , the TAM Rubber Stamp Archive , and distributes them worldwide.

November 1998 : The 20,000th stampsheet is sent out. It is one of the collage stamp-sheets that I have been sending out this last year. Somehow they have overtaken the normal sheets. Not that many return to me, but they sure circullate in the mail-art network. They make new connections between the rubberstampers and when they do get back here they always surprise me. In the coming years I hope they will still be coming to my P.O.Box...

2000 : This will be the year that the last stamp-sheets will be send out. After that the archive will close and will be kept in the TAM-Archives.

2004 : A special collection of sheets was sent out into the network and went straight to Moscow. They were exhibited in the L-Gallery in Moscow (see poster below). A special catalogue was printed for this exhibition which also contained historical details about rubberstamps is general en the TAM Rubberstamp Archive.

What will happen in the future has yet to be planned.


The TAM-Rubberstamp Archive contains not only the prints of rubberstamps. As time passed by the collection started to contain:

Sometimes an original rubberstamp from the archive is donated to a mail-artist I meet in person. Some eraser-carved stamps I especially make for such a meeting. But always a print of this rubberstamp is kept in the archive. The main interest of the archive is still the rubberstamp-print and how it can be used.

The nicest and most complete book I know about Rubberstamps, is the German book 'STEMPEL' by Hugo Hempel Jr. (ISBN 3-925817-41-7) 122 pages, Der Grune Zweig 141 is the editor of the book. It gives an overview of all kind of stamps, and the way they are used.

Another (a bit older book) about all kinds of stamps is the book "Stempelen" by Aart van Baarneveld & Ronald Wigman (ISBN 9-060198-92-1). Because the TAM-Rubberstamp Archive is a private archive, there is no money to pay for subscriptions to magazines concerning the subject, or to purchase large amounts of stamps. So the archive is the result of planned collecting and donations to the archive. Lots of mail-artists sent me their carved stamps, but also issues of magazines like mentioned in the above list.

So, if you have anything concerning rubberstamps, and want to get 'rid' of it, just send it to the archive! It will be highly appreciated. Every Rubberstamp that is sent to the archive isn't just 'archived' , but I also use it on the outgoing mail.


The stamp-sheets I send out are always numbered with a stamp (by hand). This number indicates how many sheets are sent out. Also the month is mentioned on the bottom of the sheet. To give an indication:

number:	sent out on:

1000  		October  	1983
2000  		July     	1985
3000  		December 	1985
4000  		October  	1986
5000  		January  	1987
6000  		August   	1988
7000  		January  	1990
8000  		October  	1991
9000  		December 	1992
10000 		December 	1993
11000 		August   	1994
12000 		March    	1995
13000		November 	1995
14000		April		1996
15000		June		1996
16000		September	1996
17000		May     	1997
18000		October     	1997
19000		April     	1998
20000		November 	1998
21000		March    	1999
22000		January    	2000
23000		April     	2000
23000		June     	2000 (?)

The statistical numbers show that the average amount of invitations that is sent out comes to 1000 each year. The stamp-sheets are sized half-A4 (which size depends on the choice I made with printing the sheets, there are two forms! Also I sometimes use coloured paper to make the archive look more divers). Also lots of other prints on other sizes are in the archive, but that is mostly mixed with all the other mail-art I gained in the 18 years I was active. Because of my interest in rubber stamps I am in contact with a lot of (mail-) artists that use rubberstamps too. For the exhibition in San Francisco I made special stamp-sheets which mail artists have to send in before October 5th 1996 at the address of the Stamp Art Gallery in San Fransisco. The numbers of these special sheets are: 14452 up to 14721 , 14840 up to 14909 , 14928 up to 15138 (updated Begin July 1996). October 5th 1996 is the starting-date of the exhibition there. After the exhibition these sheets will join the collection of the TAM-Archive again, so if you missed that deadline, just send them again to the address of TAM in Holland.

This same principle was applied for the exhibition in Moscow, Russia. All stampsheets had a special number and were sent in straight to Gik Juri in Moscow, who currated the exhibition in the famous L-Gallery in downtown Moscow.

LATEST NEWS 2008: First Book from TAM Rubberstamp Archive

The first publication from the TAM Rubberstamp Archive in bookform is finally published. This catalogue is made to support the exhibition of the TAM Rubberstamp Archive Collection at the L-Gallery in Moscow, Russia. The TAM-Rubberstamp archive started in 1983 and is currated by Ruud Janssen from the Netherlands. The book is printed in full-colour and also contains the main historical details of the first two exhibitions of a part of the collection in San Francisco and Moscow.

go to the orderoing information See details of the book and how to ORDER

Technical details of the book: Printed: 44 pages,
8.25" x 10.75",
casewrap-hardcover binding,
white interior paper (80# weight),
full-colour interior ink,
white exterior paper (100# weight),
full-colour exterior ink.

How to Participate in the Archive

Well, you can send any information you have on rubberstamps to me. Since it mostly isn't digital, you can send it to : TAM / P.O.BOX 1055 / 4801 BB BREDA / NETHERLANDS. But you can also send me an e-mail at the address below.

© 1996-2013

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