Wisconsin, August 2022
 
Calling All Collectors
 
Mark Quilling, WI: Upon my retirement and relocation back to Wisconsin, I contacted our local heritage museum to see if they would be interested in hosting [a Collector’s Day]. The heritage museum jumped at the chance, and immediately put it on their schedule for September 24th of this year. It’ a chance for collectors to show off their collections, and for the public to come and ask questions. No selling or trading allowed—only questions and answers. I’m helping organize the event, and will assist in reviewing the applications to help select which collections will be permitted to participate. I’m enclosing one of the posters we have been distributing….and will also have RMS applications and info available. Perhaps this will spur other match collectors to contact their own museums.
 
Port Clinton News Herald, February 26, 2022
 
Local artists tackle tiny paintings on matchbook covers
“When a Port Clinton News Herald story about Genoa artist Rebecca Booth popped up on Mark Quilling’s newsfeed, he became captivated by her work.
 
Quilling, a matchbook collector from St. Paul, MN, contacted Booth to ask if she would paint a matchbook cover for him. His email spurred an idea in Booth, who enlisted other local artists to paint matchbooks, too. “I had no clue what I was getting when I got Rebecca. I hit the jackpot with her,” Quilling said. “Within a day, the wheels were turning, and she started listing off artists she thought would paint matchbooks, too. I made a simple request, and it turned into this big event.”
 
On Jan. 31, members of the Plein Air group that meets at The Arts Garage (TAG) every Monday morning gathered to paint matchbooks for Quilling. They painted whatever came to mind — flowers and clocks and wine bottles. For many, this was their first attempt at painting on such a small surface. “This is really different and will stretch us to come up with something that will fit in that little, teeny space. It’s so small,” said Barbara Radebaugh.
Hope Burger said painting on such a limited backdrop was new to her, but she was tackling it the way she always does, by letting her paintbrush guide her work. “It’s fun to work this small, but it’s different from what I’ve been doing,” Burger said. “I’m an intuitive abstract artist. I don’t plan when I start to paint. I make markings and step back and see what I find in the project, usually a face or animal. It’s like my subconscious coming through my painting.”

Shelby Bork, who rents space at TAG for her block printing art projects, said she was glad to be a part of such a unique group project.
Quilling said he doesn’t normally collect hand-painted matchbooks but enjoys having them when he finds an exceptional artist like Booth willing to paint one. He owns only five handcrafted matchbooks but thousands of machine printed matchbooks advertising “everything from automobiles to zoos,” he said. Each, he said, is a work of art with a message.
 
“That’s what attracted me to them. We (collectors) think of them as pieces of art,” he said.” [https://www.portclintonnewsherald.com/story/news/2022/02/26/tag-artists-downsize-their-work-fit-matchbook-covers/6878220001/]

Owen Sound & District Chamber of Commerce publication Outlook. Fall 2020 edition

I’M JUST SAYING Businesses - by the very nature of what they do, they sell themselves; they ultimately sell a product, a service, an idea, but in the end, something is generally sold. With apologies to print and electronic media, and all the marvellous forays into social media, when Owen Sound became a city 100 years ago, and for sixty years thereafter, the very best tool was a slim, printed strip of cardboard, a matchbook. The matchbook, before the bans on smoking, was ubiquitous. No matter what your business in Owen Sound, your matchbook could most likely be found in the pockets of folks right across the city and beyond. The marketers convincing firms to buy Eddy Matches, or Diamond, Lion, Universal or any of the competing makers all told you the same thing -- people leaving your establishment with your matchbook would be leaving with “20 little salesmen”, the number of matches stapled into that slim, folded strip of cardboard, the one with your name on it, the one used repeatedly and passed around. There was hardly a business in Owen Sound that did not offer matches at the front door -- from William Taylor Bottlers, to Graham’s Dairy, to Dominion Motors to Andy Gamble’s Dry Cleaners, to the Olympia, Trio, Scopis and Alps Restaurants. Take just one street address, 994 2nd Avenue East; the matchbooks still exist for at least a half-dozen businesses there down the years…Manjuris Smoke Shop, Dutch Colony Convenience Store, Henry’s Restaurants, Louis’ Restaurant, Pizzaville….but why? Why are they still around?

It’s pretty simple - someone didn’t throw them out. Someone saved them. Someone collected them. And it happened to the various matchbooks of Art Mills Barber Shop and Mel Maidment’s Service Station, The Erie Belle -- and the list goes on. As Owen Sound celebrates its 100th birthday, we know that our moms and dads are getting older -- and we’re getting older. One of the many words associated with all that is Matchbooks Reflect History “downsizing” a word I find a bit ugly in this context. But it means that in the attic, in the basement, out in the shed or garage, is an old Summerfolk poster, some old Grey’s and Mercury’s and Downtowners programmes, that old Homecoming button, the OSCVI yearbook, photos, pins, stickers and yes, a bag or jar of old matchbooks…..the detritus of lives happily lived in The Scenic City. Individually, they may seem insignificant, tired, and of no further value. But take those thin little strips of cardboard. Collectively, they tell a history of the city, a business history, a community history. They do so because someone in Owen Sound’s first hundred years as a city just didn’t throw something out. The folks planning # 200 in 2120 are going to want to know who you were and what you did, trust me on that. Please, make it easy for them. From James Joyce: “I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today.” Happy birthday, City of Owen Sound!

 
 
 

 A hot collection: Matchbook enthusiasts gather in Springfield for convention

August 17, 2017: The State Journal-Register (IL) had a nice article on the RMS Convention in Springfield. Joe DeGennaro and Charlie Specht were interviewed, giving some hobby history, demographics and the present circumstances in the hobby.

 
 
The News-Gazette, IL, July 16, 2016: The RMS Convention coming up in August, received some nice pre-convention publicity. Author Bob Swisher covered the basics of the convention, but the article neglected to give readers the hotel name and location in Springfield.
 

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