One of the projects I’m playing with in my head is a wood block print. Real wood this time (maybe). I’ve done lots of Mastercarve and some Speedy stamp and a few white erasers, but inspired by sites  (whom I should not even sully by mentioning them in this post) like this, and this,  and this, and this.  I’m toying with the idea of trying to do a more traditional woodblock.

Out of . . . you know . . . wood.

I’m very intimidated.

My dad used to do wonderful woodcuts and I have some of his blocks. Beautiful things.

My long, long, long-term goal is to do a multicolor print series. Multiple blocks. Much–I imagine–hair tearing.

That’s for someday.

For now I’m starting very small. I set out on Saturday to carve a little thing, a replacement for the little seal I use on some of my artwork. I carved it out of Mastercarve and I like it. Actually, I’ve carved it twice out of Mastercarve. Because Mastercarve’s one besetting sin is that the finished stamps aren’t very durable. Even my replacement one is getting more than a little crumbly through repeated use. It looks like this:

Just a little stick of incense smoking in a bowl. I keep it and a pad of red ink tucked in a Paul Newman mints box:

That’s a razor blade over at the right end of the box, one I keep handy to tame the crumbles of the aging stamp. The two black things are ink sticks, which I keep there mostly because they fit nicely and otherwise will get lost.

[Sometime we’ll have to talk about how often I lose things and how much time the four of us chez nous collectively spend looking for lost things. But not today.]

I set myself up at the picnic table with my little block of wood and some carving tools. If some of the photos in this post look like they have little spotlights shining on them, those are the sun dapples from the huge maples shading the picnic table–it was interesting to try to open the shutter just at the moment when the sun spots fell over whatever I was photographing at the moment.

And set to work. I won’t go through every step of transferring the design and doing the carving itself.  It was fun.  It was cool.  It was very very hard and I made many mistakes.

But in the end I came up with a new stamp, and I’m very happy with it. It looks just like the old stamp.  Only more durable.  I hope.


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