I have had the huge honor of designing a Forever stamp for the United States Postal Service!
I created this design a few years ago working with Antonio Alcala, who is an art director with USPS. I knew that a stamp meant that the design would be on a platform with a national audience so I wanted to be sure to create a design that was a gateway for people to learn about Tlingit Culture!
Raven and the Box of daylight is a traditional Tlingit story that is very popular and a great bridge into learning about our culture. Here is a abbreviated version of the story:
Raven is the Trickster. A time ago there was no celestial light sources. People lived in darkness. Raven heard of a chieftain who owned a collection of items of great light. Things which would light up the world. Raven decided to become a part of this household.
Raven is a Transformer.
He transformed into a pine needle and the chieftain's daughter drank him in a glass of water. she became pregnant. nine months later she gave birth to baby raven. in the child's youth he loved the boxes of family treasure which held the sun, the moon, and the stars. he cried to play with them. he begged to play with them. with time, the grandfather could not say no any longer. Raven was allowed to play with the box of stars. Not long after, he freed the stars. Raven was in big trouble. He cried. He cried for forgiveness. After time he asked to play with the next box. Raven promised not to open the second box, but he did. The moon was free. Raven cried. He cried for forgiveness. A grandparent's love is immeasurable. He let Raven play with the box of daylight.
Raven brought the sun, the moon, and the stars to the universe.
The stamp depicts a moment of climax in one of his heists. Stealing the stars. Raven is trying to grab as many stars as he can, some stuck in his feathers and in his hands or in his beak. Some falling around him. Its a frazzled moment of adrenaline. Partially still in human form, as depicted as his hand still being human, as he carries the stars away. I think it depicts a moment we all have experienced, the cusp of failure and accomplishment.