Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hand Carved Stamps and Letterboxing Workshop


On Saturday, April 14, we had a delightful and different workshop lead by Judy Rishel. It was actually a two for one type of workshop. We learned about "Letterboxing" and carving stamps.

We started with letterboxing. Judy brought her friend, TJ, who is a fellow letterboxing person. They told us that letterboxing is “like a treasure hunt type of game.” One does not look for general types of items but rather a letter box placed by another individual. Inside that letter box is a stamp (usually hand carved) and a log book. Judy carries her own personal log book which she uses to record what letterbox she found and uses the stamp she found to mark in her own book. She does the same thing to the log book she found. She then replaces the letterbox and moves on. 

This has become a popular activity with websites (atlasquest.com) involved that give a clue to finding your next letterbox. There are also groups who get together either in person or digitally to have fun with this. Variations are out there too. You might find a Hitchhiker box along with the regular letterbox. Take it with you to leave it at your next letterbox discovery.

Then we settled down to making our own stamps.  Some members bought materials purchased in advance by NORBAG and others brought their own.  There are two generally available types of carving blocks: Speedycut (pink) and Moo carve (grey/beige), both easily carved. Carving kits can be purchased at your local craft or fine art stores. We started with two blades, first a larger U shaped cutter for larger cuts and a small U shaped cutter for finer lines. We transferred patterns to the carving blocks using tracing paper and graphite or just drawing on our stamps. 

Most of us started out with the tools pictured above. The Speedball starter kit includes 3 cutting tips. The pink and grey squares are the carving blocks. We brought some ink pads (with a raised surface) for testing and trading stamps. You can also see a syringe needle in the picture. Judy brought large gauge needles from the vet's office that are great for very fine carving.

Judy showed the result of making a very large stamp.
 We aren't limited to just a little tiny stamp.

These items are on our Show and Tell table.
 There are four novel uses for our stamps. 

TJ made each of us an embossed image of one of her stamps. Judy also mentioned that you could use markers to color your stamps. As usual, in NORBAG, imagination will lead you to try other things... perhaps on monoprints using a gelli sheet.

The next few pictures are simply of people working on their carvings.

A little skunk. Check out the pictures toward the end and you will see it used.

A printing press. If you look at the carving tool, you can see that it has
been used in a pen base. You are able to hold it like a pen. 

When transferring your pattern onto the carving block, be sure to put letters
and numbers in reverse. This stamp made great use of the background pattern.

This is a good picture of the carving tool. This is one of the fine carving tips. 


Using one of the wide tools to make the open spaces in these windows.



This is the beginnings of a Humboldt banana slug.

A carving with initials.
Here are the finished stamps. Some of these were shown above in the process of being carved.







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