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Thursday, June 18, 2009


I intended tonight's testing session of the shell stamp to be brief, but my experiments to find the perfect ink consistency for the print instead resulted in a marathon session of playing around with new techniques. I use basic speedball inks for the prints and up until this point I have been diluting them with only enough water to help the ink brush on smoothly. I like using the thicker ink because it tends to leave a heavier print on the page and gives the image a slightly three dimensional quality. However, the thick ink technique was not doing much for the shell stamp.

Then I accidentally put too much water into the brush and ended up with a much softer grey stamp:

I liked this print a lot more and decided to play around with making the ink even thinner and lighter. The end result was this very lovely print:

With this little progression under my belt, I decided to see if I could improve the prints from any of my other stamps using this new heavily watered down ink technique.

[Insert hours of frenzied activity, paper and ink scattered everywhere, sighs and groans, a brief tea break, and many, many rounds of trial and error.]

The resulting images are equal parts experimental and (I hope) beautiful. Some of the stamps (the trumpet, the rose) produced great prints when brushed with heavily diluted ink.

The broken lines of the rose stamp were almost eliminated by the light ink, meaning all that carving wasn't for nothing!

A totally waterlogged trumpet stamp produced this image:

And, while I didn't print any cards tonight, I do have pages and pages of practice prints to reference when I do get around to another serious printing session.

The best discovery of the night, however, was the potential to produce a really interesting, multi-print piece of art from the stamps. It's something I thought about doing with the Chrysler building stamp before, but this page of trumpet prints is much more inspiring. It might look like just another test page, but I am totally in love with how the different trumpet prints look together.

It was fun to get back to printing after so many days of doing background work for my etsy shop. Hopefully, I won't destroy too many cards trying to replicate some of these images on salable items!

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