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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Life of Pi

I've had math on the brain lately.

I thought I had made my peace with the subject in high school and expected that my ability to calculate percentages and my firm grasp of BEDMAS would be all I needed going forward. However, the career I thought would keep me as far away from the quadratic equation as humanly possibly has instead led me straight back to the world of integers and infinites. It is a strange turn of events, but one that I've decided to embrace.

Mathematics is an amazing field because, despite its seemly cold exterior, to those who understand the logic of it, math has a beauty that I don't think I will ever be able to truly appreciate. For me, the best elements of math are the symbols: infinity, unnamed dimensions, unknowns - themes any good literary student can get behind! Naturally, my new professional preoccupation with numbers had spilled over into my creative projects.

My lastest stamp: Pi

I'm still experimenting with the right technique for inking and pressing the stamp, but overall I'm pretty happy with the way it's turned out. I was worried that the smooth surface would result in a boring, flat image, but my technique of hand brushing on the ink resulted in a fabulous, gritty imprint. Even better, I've been jotting down some sugary phrases that I think will make this card a great valentine for math geeks everywhere.

But more on that later...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Welcome to the inaugural post of Sonnet & Mayhem!

This whole endeavour began a few months ago when I picked up a tiny rubber alphabet stamp set with the intention of conducting a few concrete poetry experiments. Each letter in the set was less than half a centimetre high and organizing a single sentence into the holding panel required endless focus, precision, and a trusty pair or tweezers (no joke!). The process as was ridiculously tedious, but produced the most satisfyingly imperfect impression a crafty girl could ask for. I immediately stamped my way through fifty small cards and half a pad of art paper.

However, the tiny alphabet stamping process had its limitations. There were only seven stamps of each letter, and between my infamous clumsiness, the tweezers, and the tendency of rubber to bounce erratically when dropped, this number quickly dwindled to six or five. (I still come across wayward letters while sweeping the floor of our apartment). My mind had also started dreaming of bigger, better things. Ornate images! Intricate imprints! More colour! More freedom! (Less tweezers!) So, I decided to move on to hand-carved stamps.

One small piece of lino-block and an eleven dollar carving set later, I had produced my first hand-carved stamp.

I coated it with ink, pressed it into my notebook, and a new passion was born.

I have now carved approximately ten stamps to varying degrees of success (don’t even ask about the peacock feather!), and produced an increasingly more refined line of simple, hand-stamped cards. It is a small, bizarre operation, but one that I’ve come to love more and more. And now, with a stack of lovely experiments and a notebook full of ideas, I’m trying to find a way to get my little creations out into the world.

My goals are simple:

1. Produce a small, unified line of well printed cards
2. Find ways to connect with the handmade craft world that I’ve been lurking in for so long
3. Open an etsy shop and join in some craft shows to see if the rest of the world (or at least a tiny, crafty portion of it) loves my prints as much as I do.

And so begins Sonnet & Mayhem

For me, the name represents everything I love about stamping and printing: the detail and precision of cutting the stamp (bound up in a lovely literary metaphor because, well, I was an English major) and the chaos of the print, which is beautiful because each impression is different.

I hope you enjoy my tales!