Selecting just the right stamp to mail a card or letter often reflects the mood of the sender, but a card from Gigi Trabant goes beyond the art of the stamp. Her hand-crafted cards and envelopes are inspired by a selected stamp, which she surrounds with original related drawings and design, tailored to the individual to whom she sends the card. With her large collection of vintage and modern stamps, coupled with her imagination and artistic talent, a card from Gigi is a real gift.
Gigi has been designing cards and envelopes based on stamps for over 50 years. As a teenager, she started by crafting holiday cards and letters every year, creating individual copies of the same card to send to friends and family. Because each card with its accompanying envelope is a work of art, Gigi’s mother suggested that she make copies of her cards. Chronologically, those cards today fill about a dozen binders, with each addition of a new card and envelope representing a fresh idea and approach.
Born in Monterey, CA, Gigi grew up in Europe, primarily in France, due to her father’s work with the photographers of Life magazine, and later, with the Marshall Plan. Gigi took immediately to living in France, enjoying her first summer at camp in the French Alpes. At a young age, she “discovered” good food. Arriving in France at the age of seven without knowing a word of French, Gigi was tutored after school by a kind teacher in the small village of Orgeval, who taught her how to speak and write the language.
Cards by Gigi are just the sort I would love to see in the now rare, well-stocked stationery store. She has crafted just about every kind of card, from thank you notes, birthday cards, condolences, and more. However, as she explains, her cards cannot be commercially duplicated, because they include real stamps, which are copyrighted. Her art also has been used for events, including San Francisco’s Black and White Ball, which supports the San Francisco Symphony.
Gigi’s work has not gone unrecognized. She has participated in and supported a contest sponsored by L’Unafam, an organization in Paris that supports families dealing with mental health issues. Gigi’s entry won 1st Prize in 2014, the first year of the contest, which is a fundraiser for the organization, supported by the Postal Museum of Paris (Musee de la Poste). All of the entries/envelopes become part of the Museum’s collection.
She also is a contributor of two individual pieces in Alphabetilately, a philatelic exhibition of the Smithsonian’s U.S. Postal Museum, which had a 7-year run, Sept. 2008 – Oct. 2015. In support of the 15th anniversary of the National Postal Museum, Alphabetilately features cases in which “each of the 26 letters stands for some aspect of the collecting of stamps or the sending of mail.” The exhibition, sponsored by AIGASF, a professional design association located in San Francisco, now is part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collections.
In addition to designing cards and envelopes and collecting stamps, Gigi Trabant raised three daughters: a librarian, an interior design architect, and an archivist. Beyond the art of the stamp, she runs a bed and breakfast, is an open water swimmer in the chilly San Francisco Bay, and serves as President of the San Francisco Beekeepers Association. A true renaissance woman.