Here in The Netherlands a lot of people are looking for original old mailbags. Former Dutch mail service, PTT post [now Post nl], used fantastic looking bags with typo on it and three stripes symbolizing the Dutch flag. There are also mailbags without stripes, but with stripes are definitely more popular. Because they are so popular you can even buy new fabric that looks like the genuine material.
Dutch mailbag shows a piece of history
When my girlfriend asked me if I was interested in a bunch of old mailbags I was immediately excited. For me these mailbags belong to Dutch history. They tell a story because of the important purpose they had. Millions of letters have been transported using them, from love letters to invoices. Day in, day out, creating stains, little holes, marks and scratches.
Well, when I saw the mailbags I knew right away what to do with them. Today’s upcycle design is called ‘Empty Mailbag‘ and shows a vintage used Dutch mailbag upside down, symbolizing a mailbag after the job is done, empty. All mailbag lampshades and pendant lights I had seen so far, were made by cutting up a bag or using fake fabric. I wanted to show the mailbag in all its glory without changing to much of its shape. The holes I made where to let light shine through and let one look inside the lamp. The design is a pendant that casts a spot of light on a floor or table. The white stripe, one of the flag colors, is nice and bright.
If you would like to know how some people adore these mailbags, take a look at famous Dutch fashion designer Jan Taminiau. He designed several jackets using old mailbags and honored the Dutch Royal couple with a fashion show during the water pageant in Amsterdam last year. At this show he introduced his limited edition Postbag collection in the colors of the Argentinian flag.
In 2009 it was the first time Princess Maxima, now our Queen, wore a mailbag jacket design by Jan Taminiau. I think one can’t show more patriotism than by wearing that stunning jacket.
I hope to come up with some other designs using these fantastic mailbags. I’ve got another one almost finished, so keep visiting upcycleDZINE if you’re interested. A webshop is in the works!
Photos © Gilbert de Rooij