(Firstly, a note to anyone who’s waiting for me to catch up with mail-outs, I’m finally feeling on top things here in the new house, and orders & subscriptions will all be in the post tomorrow or Saturday.)
Moving house was a horrible nightmare of packing, throwing away, unpacking, throwing away. So many things I wanted to be getting on with just had to be put on hold – very frustrating! But I’m now all unpacked & have managed to actually get rid of various miscellaneous extraneous ‘stuff’, & my new workroom is feeling like a very nice place to be. The light floods in, which is great! (& the house came with built-in wardrobes replete with numerous shelves and cubbies, perfect for storing all my crafting paraphernalia – hurrah!)
You know how when you pack and unpack you come across all sorts of stuff that you’d forgotten you ever had? I made some great discoveries! Firstly, I found a craft knife set – including 2 slightly sturdier knives than the one I broke during my last stamp carving experiment – and (even more exciting!) an unopened pack of anti-slip furniture/floor protectors. What? But yes, honestly this was an exciting discovery: I saw these miniature, self-adhesive cork tiles and instantly saw all sorts of wondrous possibilities leaping out at me. Not least, a very definite premise for Stamp Carving Experiment #3. After SCE #2, I invested in a (cheap) lino-cutting tool with a selection of cutting blades, so I was ready to roll.
- I started with one of the little round tiles, and drew my design straight on (oops, used a pigment ink pen rather than nice, quick-drying Sharpie – now I have very inky little fingers).
- I quickly discovered that lino-cutting tools make no impact whatsoever on cork, so lucky I found that other craft knife set! I carved out along the lines with a craft knife. Cork is very crumbly, & I just kind of nudged quite a lot of it out. I quickly gave up on the prospect of perfect, clean-cut lines. I took a second tile, & cut it into a rough flower shape with a pair of scissors. While I was carving the first tile, I suddenly thought larger blocks of colour might work better, so worked the 2 tiles simultaneously, for the sake of comparison.
- It seemed almost wasteful, but considering the incredibly convenient self-adhesive backing, the logical thing to do seemed to be to mount the carved/cut tiles onto more of the same. I cut a very quick stem from a 3rd round tile to go with the scissor-cut flower, and mounted on one of the larger tiles.
- I was surprised by the results: I had expected the larger ink blocks of the scissor-cut flower to stamp more smoothly. The stem is very clean, but the carved ‘pinwheel’ flower gave a more consistent overall print. The cork absorbs ink very quickly, which I think makes the surface texture more evident than printing with other mediums. Probably a thicker printing ink would negate this slightly – but then, if you want a perfectly smooth print, there are other surfaces you can carve, instead.
I was really pleased with the results, another happy learning curve. In fact, given the success of the pinwheel flower carving, I immediately set to another. I used the remainder of the tile I had lopped a side-curve off to make a stem earlier. I decided starting off with straight rather than curved lines would be a quick way to get cleaner edges (lesson learned from stem of flower). It is supposed to be a rising/setting sun, with rays outwards. I really like how it came out, but depending on your perspective, it could probably just as easily be a beach ball, a shell, or even half a daisy…! Hmm, half a daisy? A quick bit of photo-editing ‘magic’ and hey presto! Um, not so much a daisy though, really, as what? A bat, maybe? Perhaps I’ve strayed back to the unintentional Egyptian theme, and it’s some kind of scarab… And what is that creepy skull/face thing that has emerged in the centre? This print really makes me think of those old Rorschach inkblot tests…!
So there you have it, Stamp Carving Experiment #3. It’s definitely a learning process, but I’m enjoying it! Next stage is a lovely smooth piece of lino (it’s sitting on the sofa, calling to me) – but it’ll have to wait a day or two: there are lots more things I have to catch up on, first.
It’s good to be back 🙂 – see you again soon!