Since I made these butterfly thingies a while ago, I have become interested in the whole process of printing, and creating block designs for printing. I treated myself to a couple of nice practical books on the subject: Lena Corwin’s Printing by Hand and Lotta Jandsotter’s Lotta Prints. I really enjoyed both: Corwin and Jandsotter have quite different design aesthetics, but both these books are real treats for the eyes. I would say, though, that Corwin’s book probably had the edge for me, in terms of straightforward, in-depth instructions; a super range of projects; and the real care that has clearly gone into putting her book together. Whereas Lotta Prints tends, at some points, to edge toward being just a visual celebration of the author’s style, theres much more substance to Corwin’s writing — and a real generosity of approach as well. It is very clear, very practical, and veryuseable book: ideal for a beginner like me. Produced under Melanie Falick’s imprint, it of course looks very nice too. I found myself foolishly drawn to this jolly chest of drawers.

Lena Corwin, “Dressed up Dresser,” Printing by Hand (2008).

I’ve since had a bit of a go at designing and cutting a lino block, and I don’t mind admitting that my first attempts have been bloody awful. I definitely need practice. But in the meantime, I’ve really been enjoying printing with blocks that other people have designed. . .


. . . these being my current favourites. Everything about these stamps is satisfying: I love the shapes of the blocks in their hand-finished box; I love the pared-down feel of the designs. I find there is a very evocative pleasure in just getting the blocks out of the box, looking at them, rearranging them, and closing the lid again. It is a childlike pleasure, and one can feel the same sort of thing messing around in one’s button box, but here you get to make marks with these things too! Fun! Anyway, I’ve recently been using the Yellow Owl blocks, together with a block of some cranes I got here to stamp up some seasonal cards.


Yes, I know the shot is a bit blurry, and the festive lights in the background are cheesy, but I care not — I rather enjoy getting in a seasonal sort of mood. I’ve been sitting by the newly-decorated tree and stamping away at my cards, in between shovelling in several mince pies and some festive booze. Fill up that glass, Tom! Keep that stamping hand steady! Ho ho ho!

9 thoughts on “stamping

  1. Your hand stamped card is beautiful!
    I have had Lena Corwin’s book on a ‘wishlist’ for the longest time – your recommendation has persuaded me to go out and get it (gotta love that ‘Dressed up Dresser’!).


  2. I’m all for the cheesy Christmas lights. Good luck with the lino printing and *do* be careful. The last time I tried cutting a block it was a quite literally bloody experience.


  3. I think you have an eye for fine stamps. Matching up the Japanese Cranes with the Landscape set was a stroke of genius! I love the look of the cranes in front of that big round orange sun.

    I am a huge fan of these kinds of pared down stamping designs. These give you the space to innovate.

    There is something really lovely about being able to place things into a scene yourself and the wooden box containing the stamps is a most pleasing artefact. I keep my rubber stamps in a large tin in the studio and the delightful pleasure of opening this up and playing with the contents never fades…

    your prints look beautiful!


  4. Hello!!!
    love the idea of printing in fabric!!! I´m used to paint fabric by hand, but printing can be a very nice alternative!!!
    thanks for share it, maybe I´ll try to do some!!!


  5. I love how making stamped cards transports me back to the pleasure of cutting potatoes into printing blocks as a child, and the magic of making marks out of food.


  6. Cheese is good in moderation. As are the satisfying sound of sliding tops on wooden boxes, hand stamped cards, mince pies and such.

    Very much admired the maud too and wish I had one for this chilly weather.

    When will the mead be ready?


  7. I was just eying those stamps in a catalog I got in the mail! They’re beautiful. My old lino cuts are still sitting around somewhere, along with all my tools. I should take them out and see what can be done with them.

    That chest of drawers is really wonderful! You don’t see that much yellow furniture, really.


  8. The card turned out great! I love the look of stamped cards; we’re thinking of incorporating a neat stamp in our wedding invitations. Have fun with the stamping!


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