Monday, 22 April 2013

Rubber Stamping at the Arnolfini

Looking back over this blog it’s been a while since I did what I would call a professional post. That’s not to say I haven’t been active. In the last two months I have started a new job, sent off my Chartership portfolio to be checked for a second time and written a number of applications for bursaries.  In fact I recently found out that I will be able to attend the ARLG members day at Regent’s University thanks to ARLG South West and that, come June, I’ll also be attending Interlend 2013 on a sponsored place. I’m currently finishing off a biggie, an application for the traveling librarian bursary, and I’ll post that once the selection process is finished.

However one of the things I’ve loved since moving to Bath is the opportunity it has provided to do the things I love, especially when it comes to visiting and making art. Therefore I was incredibly pleased when I found out through a colleague that Bristol’s Arnolfini would be hosting the Bristol Artist Book Event.
I was lucky enough to get a place on Stephen Fowler’s Stamp Roller workshop which was being held as part of the event. While it was lovely visiting the different artists at the event and learning about the concepts and ideas behind the many books, prints and pamphlets on display the workshop was a real highlight.

 I wasn’t sure what to expect from the workshop. It turned out we would be learning how to make printing stamps from erasers. This is surprisingly easy to do and all you need is a decent eraser, a sharp blade, preferably a scalpel and an ink pad. The important thing to remember is not to undercut your design and make your initial incisions using a V shaped cut to keep the stamp edges stable and sharp.

The lovely thing about these rubber stamps is that they are reusable, have a lovely primitive quality, can be combined with other stamps and prints and can be used to create varying density of ink. They are also very quick and easy to make and I’m thinking that I can make them in response to individual books, pamphlets and maps that I find.

The second part of the workshop focused on creating carved rollers made out of pipe lagging. These can be slotted onto a regular decorating roller and used to create a repeating pattern. The lagging is even easier to carve than the rubbers and although any fine detail is difficult the resulting prints also have a lovely primitive quality to them. Below is the roller stamp I made (it took about five minutes) and a collection of the results from the group.

Finally, once I got home, armed with various tools I had bought from the ever useful Wilkinson's, I made a couple more stamps and rollers and produced this. So I reckon, should my library career ever fail I'm all set for a new job designing wallpaper and wrapping paper! (Or maybe not!)

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