Monday, April 27, 2015

Stamp your feet stamp your hands stamp your everything

I've been inspired by other people's stamp making, after a few years of playing with mixed media art and seeing stamps that other people have made. I have a background of dabbling in printmaking, so if I'm honest, to begin with I was a bit snobby about making your own stamps. I thought they were the dumbed down version of relief printing. I also am a bit averse to using other people's stamps in my work because it doesn't feel like mine. I know some people use heaps of stamps and love them, and create great effects using them, I don't have any problem with that, it's just a personal preference for me. But anyway, to cut a long story short, I felt the need to try making some stamps, and around the same time I rediscovered a very soft, rubber carving plate I had bought for printmaking - and voila! the project was born.
To start with I used 'lino' and cut it into smallish squares, using standard lino cutting tools. Then I swapped to the rubber plate and cut that up, and oh my goodness, a world of difference. So much softer! My hands did not ache from the cutting! Quicker to do as well. I really really recommend not using lino if you want to make quick stamps. Another technique I've heard of is using just standard white erasers, which seems great - cheap and accessible, but perhaps limited to their standard sizes. I used a fairly standard and cheapish water based printmaking ink to prig with. Next round I'm gong to try gouache (because I have more colours in that) and slightly watered down acrylic to see how that goes. Once I got started on printing it was endlessly fun and I could have kept going for days, it was really very fun. You can see in the image below how the stamps came out on white, or Kraft brown recycled envelopes. I like both. In fact I still have the project materials out in my kitchen because I feel like 'any day now' I might whip up another batch of envelopes, or maybe some letter paper. As a bonus, I'm using a combination of these shapes to form my new logo for art therapy work (recently graduated). I thoroughly recommend stamping up a storm.