Wednesday, September 28, 2011

rubber stamp bookplate

When I find myself having a few leisurely hours and when the mood strikes, sometimes I feel like making stuff (i.e. arts and crafts). I have a big box of random art supplies that I've been carrying around with me since high school and college. Mostly things like linoleum cutters, woodcut tools, sharpening stones, colored pens, dye, inks, grease crayons, string, different types of paper (including 100% cotton paper... you could wash it and dry it!), etc. So a couple weekends ago, after cleaning the house, I got the urge to make some sort of arts and craft project. I've always thought the idea of bookplates (you know, that sticker that says "Ex Libris" and has some fancy illustration of a unicorn or something..) was cool. But I didn't really have the motivation to make a bookplate (plus I always felt they were a bit pretentious). I've always loved stamps though, along with printmaking. Basically, anything carved or impregnated into a block that can be inked and repeated. So I tried a miniaturized form of printmaking - making rubber stamps from erasers. Using a white polymer eraser and some of my linoleum cutters, I made a little stamp I can imprint on all my books:

Anyway, it came out OK. It would take ink more evenly if I mounted it onto a wooden block or used a (tiny) roller. Rubber eraser stamps take no time at all to cut using linoleum tools. You do need the trough of a linoleum cutter because it's too difficult to get the rubber to gouge out evenly with just a knife blade (you get annoying eraser bits everywhere).

Here's a woodcut I made a long time ago when I was bored at home over Christmas break, using a stray piece of plywood I sanded down:

And here's a lithograph I made when I took a class in lithography in college (one of my favorite classes ever). We were lucky enough to use one of the few remaining collections of Solnhofen limestone slabs left in America. Apparently this was the same formation that Archeopteryx was found in. These stones were used before the invention of offset printing for centuries to make everything from certificates to illustrations. The grease crayon has a unique dark and moody feeling... I love looking at old lithographs. So many layers from just one color black.