This month’s theme in The Sketchbook Challenge is ‘Branching Out’ – expanding your skills, sprouting new ideas, discovering unknown territory. One pretty unknown territory for me is stamping. I seldom use stamps on fabric, I’m not a scrapbooker, and since I’m still struggling with regular journaling, I haven’t got a habit of using stamps in my journals either.
However, I can see why stamps would be a good addition to my repertoire, so when Melanie Testa recently published a fun little tutorial on incised foam stamps, I decided to branch out.
I know a lot of people love to use stamps, but I’ve discovered that for some reason my relationship to stamps is complicated. I love to look at stamps in the shop, but if I feel like buying one, I often stop myself with the questions: When am I going to use it, and how many times? Is it really worth buying it? Shouldn’t I make my own personal stamp instead of using a commercial and impersonal one?
Then, when I’m faced with the task of making my own stamps, I get confused by the endless possibilities. Which motif should I go for? Which one will I want to use over and over again? Which one is worth the effort? I find it difficult to make a stamp unless a have a clear idea in my head of what I’m going to use it for.
I guess I just need to make more stamps, and play with them. The more stamps I make, the less pressure is attached to each single stamp. The more I play, the more I will come up with ideas on how to use them. It’s as easy as that. And Melanie’s tutorial really makes it easy. The materials are simple and accessible, and if I mess it up, I can quickly make a new stamp, or alter the one I’m unhappy with. This is where I’ll start. And if I get hooked, I can branch out even more and finally use that linoleum block and block of speedy-carve that have been sitting in my cupboard for far too long.
If you think that you don’t have the right equipment for the method Melanie describes, use something else. I didn’t have sticky back fun foam, so I used normal fun foam with double-sided tape. You could also use glue. I didn’t have an awl, so I used a thick sharp needle. And a blunt needle for the indentations. Use the things you have around the house.
Dig where you stand.
I love Celtic knotwork, so that was a good place to start.
How about a motif without a background?
And how about a background without a motif?
Then, how about rejoining the motif and the background?