After working 16 days straight without so much as a teeny weeny lie-in I found myself on Thursday night (a day normally reserved for the gym but no way was I in the mood for pulling my stomach in and lifting bar-bells), visiting The Make Lounge for an evening of cordial, cake and crafting thanks to the lovely folk at Snapfish, who organised a stamping workshop for crafty addicts like me. Of all craft techniques stamping is my least favourite, I cannot understand how they make entire stamping magazines, nothing about it has ever appealed to me. I generally think it's because the stamps in existence are so awful. In HobbyCraft they have a huge aisle dedicated to stamps but I've never found one I like and believe me I have looked and looked. I've seen other crafters on websites like Folksy saying they have 'made their own stamp' something I couldn't get my head around, it just sounds so pointless and complicated.....but how uneducated was I???????
|Pricey but amazing|
Bring on Speedy-Carve, (available online and in The Make Lounge shop), so unlike the horrendous brownish grey lino you used to get at school with its hard surface and woven underside....this bubblegum pink linoish foamy sheet is pricey BUT revolutionary. It makes stamping accessible and gives you the freedom to make your own stamps in minutes. In fact it was so powerful, it totally hypnotised me into a stamping convert.
One thing I always complain about is that I can't draw and everyone thinks I'm being ridiculous. But I 100% stick by the statement, I hate my drawings, maybe it just because I don't do it enough but everything I draw seems to have a childishness about it and not in a good way : ( Some people can draw amazingly and maybe they feel they can't do other things but anyway, the point is I arrived straight from a stressful deadline at work and had to draw something immediately! Normally panic would have set in but it was prevented by three things:
1. The tutor Zeena Shah was gorgeous and lovely and with her huge smile there was no way a person could feel frustrated
2. The whole atmosphere in the class was very relaxed, everyone was beavering away (I arrived 30 minutes late) and I couldn't wait to join them
3. Zeena had some brilliant books for inspiration and both had such beautiful pictures - also she encouraged me to 'trace them if I wanted to.' Zeena I love you for that. It's the best thing to say to an unconfident drawer. If you say to them 'don't copy do your own thing' it's really hard but if you say it's ok, copy if you want, it makes you feel like 'nah i'm ok, I can do it myself' which is what suddenly came over me.
|Time for carving|
And just like that out of thin air I visualised a FAB lolly and the first step was drawing it on the pink lino.
|This beats the gym|
Carving was a cinch, the scalpal just glided on and you didn't need to go too deep. It was just so smooth and easy and a million times more fun to use that traditional lino.
|Oooh, which colour first?|
Then it was on to testing the inks, they were all fresh pads (yum!), and the ink transferred best by holding the pad upside down on the stamp rather than holding the stamp over the pad and pressing it down.
I did several modifications until I was happy, testing the design, then chipping away the background and centre lolly layer before concentrating on the background again where tiny little bits kept leaving marks until I was content that this was the FAB stamp I was going to use for life!
|The stationary range|
Then I went stamping mad and printed lots of different bits of paper to make cards, writing paper and gift tags. By now I felt like a complete addict and had already decided that I wanted to make a matching ice-cream cone too.
|Showing off time|
The session was attended by 12 other crafty types and crafy bloggers including:
and the ever amazing Deadly Knitshade who runs London's biggest and most successful crafty club Stitch London. We had a nice catch up over cupcakes (as is compulsory at any craft event.) Above is a selection of the creations made by them.
And here's my final stamp which has been glued into a wooden block to make it look professional - beat that Hobbycraft!
At the end of the session Snapfish gave us all a goody bag with a voucher to try out the Snapfish service (which I will report back on when I find something I want to print - the voucher runs out in December so bare with me!) and this amazing mug. Snapfish provide an online photo printing service where you can print photos (or even crafty creations) on to a range of objects, clothing, photobooks etc. Yes I know a lot of companies like this exist but I've tried four in the past and they hugely vary in ease of use - some like CEWE are soooooooo complicated I've had a £100 voucher for a year and not used it because the website is so complex while MOO are super easy. I will see how Snapfish goes and report back.
And so, will I stamp again? Using Speedy Crave and if I ever get confident enough to draw again then HELL YEAH! The internet and books are brimming with craft tutorials and the majority are over complicated and nice to look at and although this wasn't a tutorial, I want to stress that anyone can do this craft. (If they can afford speedy carve and stamps which will set you back over £10), it's one of the simplest and most accessible crafts I've tried in ages and even non-drawers like me will get amazing results. Now that's the kind of craft I like!!!