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Antique in Art - typing certificate repurposed

Antique in Art – using a nearly 100 years old certificate

You are not forgotten

You are not forgotten

So, it took me more than a couple of days, but here it finally is. The project I’ve posted about a little while ago. I’ve been making something really special out of an old certificate and I’m so very proud of the outcome!

What is it? And why is it so special? Well, let me give you a little background info…

Not related, yet family

In 2000 my ‘adoptive’ grandmother, auntie Dien (pronounce [Dean]), died. In fact she was no blood relative, but we’ve had such a strong connection and I looked after her the last couple of years of her life.

Aunt Dien and Uncle Wim's wedding day in 1942

Wedding picture, Febr. 4th 1942

She was born in 1909 and would’ve turned 91 only two months after her passing away. She had been married, but never had any children, so my then husband and I were in her will as her sole heirs. 

Her husband had already died in 1966, after having suffered several strokes. He was only 58 when he passed away. With inheriting all her belongings, which consisted mostly of 1950’s furniture and her clothing, we also inherited all the pictures and documents that she kept.

Time flies…

typing certificate uncle Wim

Typing certificate
Dec. 22nd 1926

Among these pictures and documents we’ve found some ‘treasures’… She had kept some of her husband’s certificates, like a school diploma and a typing certificate, both from 1926!

Right now these documents are nearly a hundred years old! Since I was only born in 1968 and didn’t even meet auntie Dien before 1988, I obviously never had the pleasure to meet her husband.

Auntie Dien as I remember her best

Auntie Dien as I remember her best

Nevertheless, I feel a strong connection to the both of ’em. All the stories she used to tell about him and her love for him, which lasted all those decades after his passing, made me feel like I knew him. Like he was my family as well. And I still lovingly refer to him as ‘uncle Wim’.

But almost nineteen years have passed since auntie Dien left us. Years in which I got divorced and remarried (obviously not with the same guy, LOL). I’ve emigrated to Germany and later to Spain.

And all this time I’ve kept the ‘treasures’ that she has left us and took it with me wherever I went.

Value is in the eyes of the beholder

Auntie Dien and uncle Wim in their garden 1963

In their garden, July 1963

A couple of these pictures stand out. Pictures of her, pictures of him. A picture of their wedding day on a winter’s day in February 1942 (see above), and one of them in their garden, in 1963 (at the left). And I’ve got these certificates… of which I wasn’t sure what to do with them.

So recently I contacted the City Archive of Zutphen (Netherlands), the hometown of both auntie Dien and uncle Wim. And sent them pictures of these very old documents, asking whether they would be interested in having them added to their collection.

Well, as it turns out, they’re not interested in ‘personal documents’. Okay then, so I’ve got three options:

  • Keeping them just for the sake of… ehm, keeping them
  • Throwing them away, which I think would be a shame
  • Repurpose them…

Creatively repurposing of a certificate

Antique in art - repurposed certificate

Being ‘a creative’, the latter felt like the best choice. And the moment this option surfaced in my mind, I knew what I wanted to do. I would start with the typing certificate and make an art journal spread out of it!

And that’s exactly what I did. If you want to see what I did, just watch the video below, since I’ve filmed the whole process. Watch it completely, because at the end I’ve added some close-up pictures.

Of course the certificate and the project are completely in Dutch, but the main thing that I wanted to show with this project, is that you can use literally ANYTHING to make a beautiful art journal spread and at the same time preserve antique documents for future generations to see!

Watch the ‘making of’ video

[ Click to follow Tabby May Art on Vimeo ]

Used materials

  • List of used materials in random order:
    • Die cuts that I’ve bought from Diny Sprakel
    • Studio Light stencils Memories of Summer (MS87, MS90)
    • Marianne Design / Karin Joan stencil & die cut ‘JIJ’-set (KJ1726)
    • Studio Light / Art by Marlene A4 size art journal 01
    • Studio Light stencil Grunge Collection (MaskSL13)
    • Dutch Doobadoo stencil Punctuation marks (470.715.046)
    • AALL & Create stencil (#32)
    • Versafine ink (Vintage sepia)
    • Uni-Ball Eye UB-157 pen (Black)
    • Dutch Doobadoo Glue pen
    • Tacky Glue clear gel
    • Nuvo Embellishment mousse (Lemon sorbet, Pacific teal)
    • Distress Oxide ink pads (Vintage photo, Tumbled glass, Pumice stone, Iced spruce, Rusty hinge, Black soot, Dried marigold, Antique linen, Aged mahogany)
    • Distress Crayon (Walnut stain)
    • Stabilo All pencil (White, Brown)
    • Water-based Sharpie (White)

Next blog

In my next blog I want to show you a couple of pictures that I took this weekend… It’s not something I’ve colored, but it sure does involve a spectacular range of colors! Keep an eye on my website, you’ll soon find out more…

Thank you so much for visiting my website!


Signature, zwart met dropshadow




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