There’s another USPS stamp coming out featuring Lingít formline art

Juneau artist Crystal Worl says the U.S. Postal Service’s art director was most drawn to her salmon designs — and she was fine with that.

“I’m always down to do a salmon,” she said. “I’m from the Lukaax̱.ádi clan, the salmon Sockeye clan and I never get bored of drawing it in a different way.”

Worl and her brother Rico put Lingít formline art on a lot of things: playing cards, clothes, umbrellas, walls — the Juneau International Airport. And postal stamps. In 2021, Rico Worl was the first Lingít artist to be featured on a stamp. Now it’s Crystal’s turn.

Lingit U.S. Postal Service stamps
Crystal Worl’s design for new USPS stamps. (Courtesy of Crystal Worl)

She says her brother’s experience showed her the power of having Lingít art on a stamp. 

“He kept receiving fan mail with the stamps on it,” Worl said. “Like, postcards from all over using his stamp and just saying thank you.”

She had to work in several art forms to arrive at the design: five different formline sketches of salmon, then a digital piece with different color options. Finally, they sent her a skateboard, where she painted the salmon design.

Worl said it was cool that they wanted the physical object painted.

“They could use that digital design to superimpose over the artwork,” she said. “But they wanted an original.”

The Postal Service then photographed the skateboard being held up by a model, and that picture will go on the stamps. It will be part of a four-stamp set showing skateboards with traditional Columbian and Diné design themes. 

Worl has tackled big projects before, like her Native American Heritage Month design for Google, or her massive mural in downtown Anchorage. But she said this is the first time she’s worked with an organization that had little knowledge of formline art.  

“I definitely had a challenging moment, trying to fulfill USPS expectations of what they wanted of my art and my style,” she said. “I just had to backtrack and like, elaborate and explain the ABCs of formline design.”

Worl’s stamp comes out in March, and she said she’s hoping to sell them at her and her brother’s store. She says she can’t wait to see them in person.

“It’s always like a really satisfying thing when you spend all this time designing something,” Worl said. “And it’s finally finished and you get to hold it in your hand.”

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