|The author evolving with fellow historians.|
Note the labeled goods.
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
Photo Ed Sims
From the begining I wanted to contribute something postive towards the improvement of our Living History program at Columbia State Historic Park. I found an allly in fellow docent David Peebles, as we both saw the need for more credibility in how we represented Gold Rush merchants and their goods. David and I made that noble effort to break free of the silly romantic hooey that fueled the previous attempts by introducing the O. P. Davis Store at Columbia's Tent Town event in June of 1994. Our resources were scant and our knowledge was minimal but we had labeled goods and stenciled crates that at least evoked some "feeling" from the past. Granted, we were a little more creative in our re-creations than we should have been but everyone has to start somewhere, right?
|A few of my labels over the years|
some better than others
Photo Lindy Miller 2005
|Original bottles with contents|
note the foil labels
Courtesy Steamboat Arabia Museum
This post is about creating facsimile labels, so I'm not going to discuss period printing or what is the "correct" paper. I'll leave that to people that want to take this to the next level. So how exactly do I recreate the look of a period label ? First, it starts with what you are working from. If the label is intact and flat, a simple photocopy might suffice but if you have to recreate what's missing, I've found it's best to start with an enlarged version that you can scale down later. I find that cut-and-paste works for me, but Photoshop is probably a better choice for the computer-savvy. On occasion, I hit-up people like my friends Derek or Floyd to clean-up a graphic or rearrange some lettering for me. For artwork, I use Micron pens from Pigma for detail work and Prismacolor pencils when color is needed. Sometimes a plain ole Sharpie is just the ticket. A word of advice is to keep your creativity in check when restoring a label. Try to be faithful to the original design as much as possible while working to restore what's missing. Sometimes merely flipping the remaining design can do the trick or you might refer to other labels to guide your choices.
|Labels and their artwork reading clockwise|
Yeast Powder from the Bertrand
Pepper Sauce from author's collection
Byass Porter from online auction
Photos Lindy Miller 2011
|Wells, Miller and Provost Label embossing steps|
left to right
final embossing plates, rubber stamps, latex mould
|My replica foil labels|
Pickles and Brandied Peaches Yum!
Bottles by Dog River Glassworks
For those that are curious, I no longer sell my labels but rather encourage others to make their own. In that regard, I hope this post has been at least a little helpful and maybe even evolutionary.