Monday, April 4, 2016

Letterboxing Event held at DCP

Participants learned new stamp carving techniques and
honed their artistic skills within the letterboxing medium.
On Saturday March 12th, local and nationwide letterboxers gathered at Shawnee Prairie Preserve Nature Center for a day of teaching and learning techniques like stamp carving and paper painting. Letterboxing is similar to geocaching in that it’s a treasure hunt based on clues or coordinates, but it uses rubber stamps and log books to track finds and letterboxer interaction. It began in the mid-1800s in the UK, but didn’t make it to the US until 1998. Currently there are about 50,000 letterboxes hidden in North America alone.

Tina White, the event organizer, said, “The location is perfect, and we always hear remarks on how wonderful it is.” Every participant brought a donation for the park ranging from bottled water for summer camps to bird seed. Organizers even hid eleven stamps around the Nature Center for participants to find. The recent event attracted 31 letterboxers from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Virginia, and as far away as California.

Kathe Law travelled all the way from the San Francisco Bay area to participate. She said she met Tina White and her sister Mitzi Johnson at a letterboxing “meet-and-greet” a few years ago and thought they were very neat people. After travelling to what Californians call a “fly-over state,” she said she has never met a more welcoming, comfortable, or pleasant community of people than Ohioans, specifically in Darke County.

Law works a very high stress job and says that letterboxing is her stress relief and decompression activity. Her very supportive employer allows her to build in time when she travels for work to go letterboxing, and she particularly loves checking out neat Ohio historic sites and unique old cemeteries. Currently Law is working on a series of stamps commemorating Civil War leaders to be placed near battlefields. When asked what she loves most about letterboxing, she said, “It’s the art, the comradery, and seeing and exploring places I would never have gone on my own.”

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