I live on the Internet.
I’ve been online and making websites since 1998, in various places on the web. I am grateful to have been an impressionable teenager then, quick to embrace new technology and media at the time the Internet went mainstream. I blogged my life online, along with a regular circle of local blogger friends and we all kept updated on each others’ lives via Livejournal. Some of them I’ve known for about ten years now– some I’ve met in real life, or bumped into randomly in school/at work, and there are others I haven’t met in person yet. Even now, ten years or so later, most of us still keep updated on each others’ lives via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks.
The Internet is a great way to connect with people with similar interests, so when I learned via Instagram that Lorra from Stars for Dreams was also into carving rubber stamps (at that time, she was the only other local person I knew who was into it), I tweeted her to set a date to meet up for a rubber stamp crafternoon. We met on a Saturday in August in Cafe Mary Grace, one of my favorite restaurants whose table decor always makes for pretty, gratuitous Instagrammed food photos.
The table setting was lost on us when we brought out our stamping tools and materials, though :P We turned Mary Grace’s table into a crafts table. The middle-aged ladies sitting at the table next to us got curious and asked what we were doing. Carving rubber stamps, we said. One of them exclaimed that she used to do that, too, and would buy her materials in Michael’s (the arts and crafts store) in the US.
I shared my Speedball Linocutter with Lorra while she shared with me places on where to shop for arts and crafts in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Manila. The Singapore shopping tips were especially of interest to me as I have an upcoming trip there. My wallet is scared.
We also talked a lot about crafting, freelance illustration, the local crafts and design scene, and all other things I don’t/can’t talk about with my “regular” friends. Working from home, as I do, can get very isolated and it was nice to connect with someone in the same industry who shares the same interests.
I made these that afternoon:
While Lorra made this, which she turned into cards later that night.
It was a great afternoon of hot chocolate, lemon bars, and stamps! Lorra said she was nervous about meeting me (Why? Do I have three heads or something? :P) but it wasn’t obvious at all. On the contrary, I found her very nice, natural, and chatty! Thanks Lorra! We’ll be doing this again soon! :D
Read part 1 of this post here.
A relatively new hobby I’ve taken up recently is rubber stamp carving. It started when I stumbled upon some handmade rubber stamps being sold on Etsy some years ago. At the time, I was running my own Etsy shop (which I’ve since “retired” since work got in the way) and was looking to speed up the process and reduce the cost of packaging my products by having a custom rubber stamp logo made for my shop. The price of these custom stamps turned me off, though– they were about $25 USD for a small stamp. Yes, I know it’s a custom piece and it’s handmade but it was, for me, a ridiculous price especially when converted to Philippine Pesos. I can buy roundtrip domestic promo plane tickets for that price.
Fast forward to last year. After coming across Geninne’s handmade stamps tutorial using erasers and this photo of a heart-shaped pencil eraser stamp on Pinterest, I experimented with making eraser stamps myself, documenting my progress on my Instagram (username: @wedgienet).
Then I left for a 2-month vacation and had to leave my stamp-making stuff behind. I considered bringing them with me but I knew I would barely have time to craft and I knew I was going to pick up new stamping tools and materials during my trip anyway :P
Back in Manila two months later, I started using rubber blocks I purchased during my trip instead of erasers.
In addition to the woodcarving tools I had been using previously, I also started using a Speedball linoleum cutter I bought abroad to carve my stamps.
Those are most of the stamps I’ve made so far. Carving rubber stamps is just a little something I do before I start real work (illustration/design projects) or after spending XX hours on the computer. It’s a way for me to unwind and make something with my hands and not with a mouse. There’s something relaxing and satisfying about sitting idly and quietly, carving rubber. Weird.
I didn’t really know anyone local who was also into carving stamps until I got to connect with fellow illustrator Lorra on Instagram earlier this year. Thank you, Internet, for bringing people with similar interests together. I wonder how people from Internet-less generations before ours managed. Lorra and I met up for an afternoon of hot chocolate, lemon squares, and stamp carving, but that’s part 2 of a blog entry that shall come at a later time as this entry is too long already :P Cliffhanger much? :P
EDIT: Read part 2 of this post here.