Do you ever wake up thinking, "today I must (insert craft or art project.)" The other day I woke up thinking about carving rubber stamps. As soon as I had a free moment, I started digging through my supplies to find my lino cutter and anything to carve. If you've never tried cutting your own stamps, you've got to give it a whirl. You only need a lino cutting set (I buy the cheap Speedball version) and a piece of rubber (you can even use pink school erasers.) I find the process to be extremely soothing. There is just something about the feel of cutting into the rubber and then seeing your idea stamped out in black ink. Like so many creative techniques... I don't know why, it just feels good.
I happened to have a few erasers and one block of pink rubber, so I sat down and let the carving begin.
I started by making some facial feature stamps. I thought it might be nice to stamp out some faces. I drew each shape onto the rubber with a pencil, then carved out the negative spaces.
New nose and mouth choices...
It is fun to see how many expressions you can make with only a few facial feature stamps.
Next I moved into what I call free-style carving. I just started carving some marks in the rubber without thinking about the end design. Some lines turned into easy-to-recognize designs, while other lines turned into interesting abstract shapes.
I used the free-style set to make some new papers. I started by coating old dictionary pages with gesso and a watery layer of acrylic paint.
Once dry, I added a layer of deli paper to each side using matte liquid medium as the adhesive.
Next, I stamped away using Staz-on ink to prevent any kind of smudging or smearing. I coated the stamped layer with another layer of matte medium.
I ended up having a lovely stack of papers.
I decided to bind them together into a little book. I bound my book using the detailed method I learned through an online course called The Mixed Media Variety Hour through The Land of Lost Luggage with Julie Prichard. In Julie's lesson, she shows you how to create signatures (smaller bound booklets) that you sew together to create a fully bound book. I started by creating three signatures using about 6 papers each.
I then sewed the signatures together and bound the edge with a scrap from an old canvas painting disaster.
I made a few alterations with my version, mainly because I did not follow the instructions carefully (shocker.)
Now I want to make more books. The book-binding experience is actually much easier than I thought it would be. And even if you mess up a little... well, it is a "hand-bound" book, so the imperfections are somewhat endearing.
Are you a stamp carver? What do you like to carve?