Goofing around with stamps

Hey Sarai, how’s this for something attractive from the mundane?

I used to love making linoblock prints, but found the linoleum itself to be rather costly. Stamps are great fun, too, but the really nice ones are bloody expensive at around $20 Cdn or thereabouts – that’s two containers of milk, ten pounds of apples and two loaves of bread. For one stamp. And the stamp has 15% tax. So add three cans of frozen juice.

There are smaller ones, of course, but you are once again limited to the designs created by other people. not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if you crave the feeling of creative control over the pieces you work on, sometimes you need to go beyond what can be purchased and make your own.

So I was fiddling around with assorted stamps and imprints the other day, when a friend called to say that she had a few meat trays for us, cleaned and all (we don’t eat much meat). Would I like them? Sure would! (Gotta love friends who save weird stuff for you at random!)

So I made a couple of little designs by drawing on the trays with a ballpoint pen. Just little ones at first… They’re 1×1, 1.5×3.5 and 1.5×2.5 inches respectively.

After a few uses, they acquired the colour of the paints used. I actually like the look of the stamps as much as the resulting prints.

I used the Setacolor metallic paints for this project, although I did try a couple of the Lumiere metallic paints (they weren’t dry by the time I took these photos) and was very impressed. I applied the paint with a foam brush and took care to get it fairly even. Then I stamped it down onto pressed fabric laid on a flat surface. Worked nicely. Gluing two layers of the foam togethe makes it easier to grab.

I did try placing the block face up and laying the fabric face down on top of it and applying pressure with a breyer. The only catch with doing it that way is that the fabric has to be very carefully placed and you have to be quite cautious about it shifting or sliding. Stiffened or stabilised fabric worked very nicely this way. If you do opt to place fabric on top of block, put non-skid matting under the block so it won’t slide around the table….

After some smaller scale mucking, I decided to try a slightly larger (5×7) print of a window in a stone wall, much along the lines of the other stone walls I’ve been working on lately. I was sort of thinking of these wall prints as good backgrounds on which to build.

Here’s the styrofoam block, with the design drawn into it with the ballpoint pen again.

And a few of the results, using different coloured paints on different coloured fabrics:




So now I have quite a few similar images. I wonder if it would be interesting to combine them in a book, interspersed with other pages…..

The larger wall prints are also roughly postcard size. Lots of potential for embellishment, too!

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. sarai says:

    You made that from styrofoam?!

    You are very smart. I love it!

  2. r.e.wolf says:

    Those are fun!

    That was me (scruffybeast) who posted the link to you on LiveJournal, by the way! *waving* I find your work utterly amazing!

  3. arlee says:

    GREAAAAAAT, now my Greyman thinks i’m totally nuts, saving meat trays…..:} Great idea, thanks! I “price” things out the way you do, too!

  4. sue b says:

    Fantastic idea ! Unfortunately we are a vegetarian household but I wonder if my local grocery store would be willing to give up a few trays…

  5. vickyth says:

    We’re mostly vegetarian, too. I put out a call to our carnivorous friends for the trays. They gave me weird looks, but saved them. It’s a great technique for doing printmaking with kids, too. Easy and safe.

    Have fun!

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