Tag Archives: Mastercarve

Which is nice . . .

So this came in yesterday’s mail. I’m always happy to see it. But this time I was even happier than usual. One of the items chosen for display in the Reader Challenge Results, which featured hand carved stamps this time, was something that looked awfully familiar. This:

My sneakers! They were in amazing company on these pages–such beautiful things the other contributors had made.  I blush. Okay–done now. I’ll try to restrict myself to quiet giggling.


Inky fingers

That’s what I have this morning, in spite of some serious scrubbing.

The weekend was cold. Way cold. Frozen pipe cold. The best place to be after dinner was either in the den, where the space heater lives and my handmade and printed noren (originally designed to capture chilled air in the summer) is doing double duty keeping the nice warm air in, or the kitchen, where the wood stove was humming along. My better half chose the former, where the TV also lives and where they were running a Bourne marathon, but Dinah and I settled down in front of the wood stove with a couple of carving tools and a new block of Master Carve.

Quite a few hours later (but still in time to catch most of The Bourne Ultimatum), we (okay, I–Dinah was mostly helpful at snoring and hogging the warm air) had a tidy stack of new hand-carved stamps in front of us. I got 13 good stamps out of a 4 x 6″ block of Master Carve, and still have a couple of good sized pieces left, plus the backs of a couple of pieces on which I have (so far) used only the fronts.

My better half likes this one best:

We are big William the Hippo fans around here–this guy joins our collection of two ceramic Williams (that get pride of place on the Christmas tree every year), a stuffed William toy, and a sterling silver William pin.

Second Child likes this guy best:

We are also serious Hayao Miyazaki fans, and this fellow was inspired by the susuwatari (soot sprites) that appear in both My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away.

But my favorite stamp of the evening is this one:

Guess what I want for my birthday this year? Chocolate brown. Women’s size 9. Converse, are you listening?

Oh, and a carton full of Mastercarve. Staedtler, are you listening, too?

Hey, a girl can dream, right?

My own 10 must have art supplies list

Inspired by this post at Katherine Marie Photography (via Whipup),  I’ve been musing about what’s on my own top-ten list.

It’s a tough choice, but here, I think, are the things I rely on most:

  • A good pen. I’ve got lots of these.  I’m a little bit fickle about my favorites, and I’m always looking for one that’s sharp, very black, doesn’t bleed through paper, and doesn’t break the bank. The one I keep reaching for these days is this one, perfect for everything from the grocery list to a pen and ink sketch:

  • My watercolors. I’ve got several kinds, in both cake and tube form, in large and small sets, but the one I keep turning back to is my ancient set, the one pictured (at least until I change it on June 1) in my blog header above.
  • Staedtler Mastercarve art carving blocks. LOTS of Staedtler Mastercarve art carving blocks. I use other things for carving stamps and illustrations, too, but this is my favorite material so far.  I wish it were easier to find in my area, but there’s always the internet.
  • Speeball carving tools. I have other sets, but I reach for my basic set–2 handleswith interchangeable blades–more than any of the other.

  • My self-healing cutting board and my cork-backed steel ruler–these count as one to me, since I’m always using them together.
  • My Japanese screw punch, a gift from the Better Half. This one is so useful and so amazing that it should probably be higher on the list. Every time I use it, I find myself exclaiming out loud about how brilliant it is. Makes perfect holes of just the right size; essential for book-binding projects and all kinds of other useful tasks.
  • An assortment of wonderful papers. Sorry, this counts as one thing, too.
  • My scanner.
  • My jar of colored pencils.
  • My camera.

And just because Katherine Marie gave us two lists of 10, here are 10 little doodads that I suppose I could live without, but working with art materials wouldn’t be nearly as easy without them.

  • My pinkie-sized spray water bottle for keeping the watercolors wet. Also works on my wrists and the back of my neck during hot flashes.
  • Single-edge razor blades. I buy them in boxes of 100 at Lee Valley.
  • My Gorillapod tripod.
  • My tiny little spring shears, again from Lee Valley, who will sell you a dozen pairs for only $4.95, which gives you enough that you can share with a few friends and still not melt down in tears when the TSA confiscates the pair you accidentally leave in your knitting bag in your carry-on luggage. Yeah.
  • Cat whiskers, which Nemo kindly provides for me on a regular basis. Nice for manipulating the pattern of the ink when you’re doing suminagashi.
  • My little froggie incense bowl (which doesn’t actually have any incense in it in the photo below) and a steady supply of Viva pine/sandalwood incense sticks. I like to start each art session with a short dedication and this frog bowl pleases me very much.
  • frog bowl brush bowl on creamA little hand fan–good for moving inks on water (and again for the hot flashes). Can also be used carefully to hasten the drying of an over-wet watercolor mark.
  • Knox unflavored gelatin for gelatin monoprinting.
  • Sheets of baking parchment to put under the area where I’m working with paints, glues, and inks. My studio is my kitchen table, and this makes clean-up easier. I keep several sheets just for this purpose and use them over and over again.
  • A family who (mostly) doesn’t mind when dinner is late (or sandwiches) again because I just want to pull one more print or because the table is covered with little crumbs of Mastercarve and half-finished stamps.

Actually, that last one should probably be way at the very top of this post.  I Excuse me while I  go now and make supper.

As long as the art stuff was out . . .

I did some more odds and ends with old and new stamps I carved.

There’s that bowl thing again.

And, as an experiment, added some color to a carving I did back in January: