Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Learning the Hard Way

They say you learn more from your mistakes than you do if everything goes smoothly and I have to agree.  Of course, in the grand scheme of things, this is just a little mistake, not a big deal, no major harm done but still, I've learned an important lesson.

Last year, in a class I took from Diana Trout, I learned how to carve a stamp, using a piece of rubber and a tool called a Speedball cutter that has a selection of sharp ends that you use to gouge out your design from the rubber (it's actually intended for cutting linoleum, which seems weird, doesn't it? You can see an image of what the tools look like here.)  We all carved little one and a half inch square pieces and then took turns going around the room and stamping in each other's journals.

My stamp looked like this (it looks like some sort of mythical animal but as I recall, I was just playing with curves at the time:

and here's the page in my journal where everyone stamped, which I love:

In a class taught by Misty Mawn at Art & Soul Hampton last May, I got a refresher lesson but didn't get any farther than this in the short time we had during class to work on this:

In June, in Portugal, another lesson from Tracy Moore, but again, there was no time to actually carve anything.

A week or so ago, I was thinking about the theme of Journalfest this year, which is "woodlands" and I came up with this idea to carve "2011" and cut out 2 tree shapes as the ones.  I was really happy with how it turned out...until I realized - and here's the lesson that each of Diana, Misty and Tracy all told us but which I had forgotten - that I hadn't carved the design BACKWARDS.  You have to carve the mirror image so that when you flip the stamp over to press it onto your page, it reads properly. Of course, this only applies to letters and numbers, if you are carving a shape like my star above, it is less or not crucial.

Not sure I'll have time to make another one of these stamps before JF next week but I'm still really happy with the look of my stamp.  I could tell everyone it's a special design, meant to be held up in front of a mirror for maximum effect but then again, maybe not! :)


Jane Perala said...

Could you just make the 20 again in the proper way, and attach it to the 11 - after cutting away the original backwards 20? Would that work?

Cynthia of Cynful Creations said...

Jane, that is the perfect solution, thank you so much! D'oh, I never would have thought of that!