Carving rubber stamps at the SF Etsy Meet & Make

The last time I carved a stamp, it was probably out of a potato or styrofoam, it was probably the early 90s, and the result probably looked like a formless blob.

This time, it was 2013, I got to sip some craft beer from a local favorite, and the result kind of still looks like a formless blob.

But a very pretty formless blob!

It’s an iris, if you couldn’t tell — my middle name, and a nod to my Etsy shop.

I learned about this from my dear friend Susan at Made in the Haight, a fellow SF Etsy seller — every month, the San Francisco Etsy Team holds a “meet & make” event at the Museum of Craft & Design, where $10 gets you drinks from a local adult beverage company, supplies to make a craft, and instruction.  (Only $5 for members of the Museum of Craft & Design!) This is pretty much the perfect event for me: I am terribly shy around strangers, but when you give me some craft supplies and a common goal, it becomes very easy to talk to people.  Awkward silences don’t seem so awkward when you’re also working on a crafty project.

May’s meet & make was taught by Niki of Foreign Spell, and she was just as lovely as her cards.  (Feel free to buy me one — I really like the one about cooking and bowing to the ground.  As you might have guessed.)

It was surprisingly easy — you sketch your design on tracing paper with pencil, use a popsicle-stick-shaped plastic tool to “burnish” (aka rub) the design onto the rubber, and then use a carving tool to carve around your design.  I drew three or four variations on this iris, but eventually went with my original design since it seemed the most suited to a simple stamp.

Rubber block with drawing, partially carved. The carving tool is on the top right.

You can either carve deeply so that there is no “noise” around your main image, or you can be like me, leave some lines in there, and call it art.

We got to use several different ink colors, which made for some really interesting effects.

The irises are mine — the “thnx!” stamp is another lady’s work.

Aside from teaching a new skill in a low-pressure, low-cost, kind environment, I think the best part of this series of classes is that it’s a really nice, constructive way to spend an evening.  A couple of drinks, museum admission, and a way to meet new friends — how can you go wrong?

If you’re in San Francisco and would like to attend, you don’t have to be an Etsy seller!  Just follow @sfetsy on Twitter and watch for the Meet & Make updates.

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3 responses to “Carving rubber stamps at the SF Etsy Meet & Make

  1. 🙂 I met Katy the other evening at Keane’s birthday at Lush, and this sounds great! I will have to check the workshops out once I come back from my trip.

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