a stamp-carving experiment... and an admission of my creative failings

I have an expansive to-do list which I have been frustratingly adding to for months now. One of my objectives for this week (and in fact has been on the list for w.e.e.k.s) was to make an ink stamp for Matin Lapin, for packaging and stuff.

After having done so much printmaking in the past, and getting inspiration from some pretty handmade stamps I have seen lately, I figured it really couldn't be that hard to make a stamp...

I am a very naive Vixie.

I didn't bother researching what I was doing or anything, foolishly, and since I had some bits of lino and a cutting tool in a box labelled 'printmaking' in my studio, I kind of just went for it. The first "stamp" I made was rubbish. The writing was fine (I'd like to think I have perfected the art of joined-up backwards writing by now) but the blade I had was too U-shaped and the lino was thin and tough, meaning that I couldn't get a deep enough cut, and when I tried to print it it came out in a big splodgey mess.

My next attempt was a little better, but was still pretty poor compared to the many stamps I have seen on the interwebs, and it was starting to get a little frustrating. It turns out that lino, while OK for block printing, is a sucky medium for making stamps out of. Why oh why didn't I research it first, instead of rushing straight in, making a mess and cutting my thumb in the futile process? Let's hope that'll teach me, though I don't imagine it will.

It was after this second failed attempt, while nursing my throbbing thumb, that I thought maybe I should see what the interwebs had to say about stamp carving. I had noticed that all of the lovely stamps I had seen on Etsy had been made of the same pinky stuff, so that was my first port of call. The good news is it was pretty easy to find out what the pink stuff was: a rubbery block called Speedy Carve. The bad news is it was very difficult to find it for sale in the UK. After much delving I eventually found some and although it was expensive, I imagine it'll be worth it. No doubt you will see further adventures in stamp-making in the next few weeks, that is, unless I decide to abandon my creative pride and just buy one of the gorgeous stamps being made by some very talented Etsians.

A bit of a weird thing I have noticed with creative types, is that many of them/us will see something and add it to a mental "I should try and make that myself" list before even contemplating buying it. When you are creative yourself, you should understand the importance of buying handmade products, and yet I often find myself guilty of doing that very thing: assuming that I can do it just as well as anyone else can, hence my "experimentation" with stamp carving.

Sometimes I think I need to just admit... *deep breath* ...that maybe someone else might be able to make something better than I could... then embrace the fact that there are so many wonderfully creative people out there and learn not to beat myself up about my creative failings.

Having said that, I will still attempt to try new things (largely for comedy value you understand), but remind myself that if/when it all goes pear-shaped, it probably won't take long to find someone talented enough to make the same kind of thing, but lovelier than I could possibly have done. And I bet they'll be able to do it without cutting themselves.

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