September 30, 2009

Eureka! I've (Re)Discovered Stamping!

Back in college I took a printmaking course, which I really enjoyed. But unfortunately, as time moved on, so did my interest in the printed arts. That is, until now! In seeking to create my own stationery, I ventured into my local artists' supply store and found myself looking at linoleum cutting products. A starter kit was only $20, so I bought it. And I haven't looked back since.

My first stamp was a simple address box, pictured above. It's the perfect size, and I really like how the bottom portion of the box allows just enough room to print out in large font the zip code of the addressee. After re-teaching myself how to use the cutting tools, I tried a few increasingly difficult stamps. Then finally I was ready to make my stationery stamp. For this purpose, I selected an image very unique to the District of Columbia, where I live - row houses!

While the townhouse is found in virtually every city in America, the ones in Washington are unique. There are several distinct styles, and they often stand shoulder to shoulder for multiple blocks, each house painted a different color, from pink, to red, to purple, brown, green and ... well, you get it. Anyhow, the image I chose was too tall (these houses are typically 4 stories tall, often plus a basement) so I had to lop the bottom off and use just the top portion.

From beginning to end, this stamp took me around 3 to 3.5 hours to complete. But I think it was worth it. If anything, I found the process incredibly relaxing. And, now I have the ability to produce a virtually endless supply of James-specific papers!

Do any of you stamp or do other types of printing? Do you have links to samples of your work? I'd love to take a gander.


Stephanie said...

What did you think of your printmaking course? I had a demo of printing on fabric yesterday, and all of a sudden I'm really curious about what printmaking is all about.

So you *made* your own stamp? If that's the kind of stuff you learn, sign me up. I just started getting into stamping over the summer, but it's a bit too much to get into all at one time (stationery, stickers, AND stamps). But making your own - that would make making your own stationery a lot easier.

HereBeDragons said...

I've recently been wanting to start stamping. (Just bought a few Dollar Tree stampers a couple weeks ago.) Designing my own stamp sounded so fun, too. Reminds me of the woodblock carvings I did back in jr. high art class. I've actually been thinking of creating my own stamp since hearing about letterboxing. Unfortunately, at the time, the nearest letterbox was more than an hour away, so I figured that it wasn't worth it.

James said...


Although I enjoyed by undergraduate printmaking course, I really don't think it's necessary in order to make decent cut linoleum stamps. I'd recommend just buying the Speedball starter kit and giving it a go.

I'm not the most creative person in the world, so I tend to find pictures that I like and then get creative in my tracing of them. That's what I did to get the row house print featured in this post.

To help, I purchased an antique press that I found at a local flea market. It's really helped to produce better quality prints. I've definitely caught the printing bug!


Woodblock carving skills are totally transferable to stamp carving! Question, though, what is letterboxing?


The Missive Maven said...

What beautiful handiwork!

Anonymous said...

that's beautiful work! well done!