Hand Carved Stamps

After visiting both Michelle Ward’s Green Pepper Press, (to order some fabulous new stamps) and Laurie Blau-Marshall’s blogs, and seeing all of the lovely hand carved stamps, I thought I would share a few also. Carving you own stamps is soooo much fun! I made my first attempts last year, when I taught a unit on it to my 5th graders. They had so much fun we even extended the lesson a couple of weeks! Their work was auctioned off at a fundraiser for the school and now hangs in a doctors office. This is the background I did using the Fleur d’le (sp?) stamp on the right. The diamond background was made to use in a ZNE design team challenge. It is an ATC background. Carving your own stamps is not hard, inexpensive, and lots of fun. You can draw your own image, or use an image transfer. Laurie had a great idea of outlining your design in charcoal and then burnishing it onto the rubber with a bone folder. I usually just draw right on the rubber and I like to take a small gouging tip of the Speedball carving tool, and make little gouges in the finished design for a distressed look. Have fun and let me know if you try it out so I can come have a looksee!

Affirmative on the Affirmations!

Sometimes we work so hard to achieve something and then when someone says “OK, show me”, we are suddenly plagued with self-doubt. Such was the case for me this week. I have been working really hard on being published this year, striving toward validating my life-long artistic pursuit. My journey has finally lead me to this mountain and I have been climbing it joyfully, filled with excitement, full steam ahead! Several pieces of my work will be published June – August in The Stampers’ Sampler, with a guest artist feature in August. I have been working with the editor and copy editor these past two weeks and it has been a new level of excitement for me. My other endeavor has been to have an article published. I love Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine for their personal articles. I always find new techniques and inspiring words to help me along my journey, so a couple of months ago I submitted a query letter with my idea for an article along with some pictures of my work. The editor contacted me and they want me to submit the whole article and several pieces of work. BIGTIME dancing in the streets from me! But, after my feet got sore from dancing:-) I sat down to get busy and the self-doubting started in. Can I do this? Who will want to read it? Just reading the bios of other contributors is intimidating! I am largely self-taught, no fancy art degree, just a life-long love and lots of hands on experience. When these self-doubts started crowding in, I decided to take a nice long soak in the tub with a glass of wine and a good magazine, CPS, of course. I thumbed through the latest edition and there was an article by Kelly Rae Roberts about Affirmation Collages. This was just what I needed to hear! The funny thing is, this is the issue my artwork is in that was inspired by another one of her articles!! So, I decided to try her method, every time I have a doubt pop into my head I would write an affirmation to counteract it. The first affirmation I borrowed from her as it fits perfectly, “You can never do this” becomes “Do the thing you never thought you could do”. “Where do I start” becomes “Begin today”, “What do I say” becomes “Say it from your heart”. What are your affirmations? I encourage you to write them out and own them. We can do anything we set out to do as long as we keep trying. Today’s project is going to be to incorporate these into an affirmation collage to hang in my studio so that I won’t forget this valuable life lesson. If you want to see this issue look under my past blog posts.

It’s Almost Time!

It’s getting close to the time for the latest edition of Cloth, Paper, Scissors to come out. I’m very excited to see my first work published! Check it out and do the happy dance with me! I know that those of you who have been published before, will share the joy of that first time:-) Also, this past week I recieved some terrific news from Somerset. Stampers Sampler will be featuring a piece of my artwork in their June/July issue and…the really BIG news for me is that they will be featuring me as their guest artist in the August/Sept issue!!! I screamed so loud when I read the email that my DH almost had a heart attack! I submitted 5 pieces and they want me to create 5-6 more for the article. So I have been busy all day getting started. We are having a huge ice storm here and all the kiddos are home with school canceled, but we have power, and a warm fire burning in the fireplace and dinner cooking away in the crockpot so all is well at our house. Last year when we had the ice storm, I took advantage of the days without power to get my scrapbooking caught up. No lie, I did it by candle light! The pages didn’t look half bad when the lights came back on either!! I posted some new pics from the pieces I just finished on ZNE,so go and take a look if you want. I will write more about the upcoming publications when I know more. Thanks for sharing my joy. This was my goal for the year when I decided not to go back to work teaching art. I am so fortunate to have achieved it. It is so much more than I had hoped for . Happy winter day to you all!