Erasers, bird calls, feathers, Poe

Posted: January 4, 2016 in Daily Art Initiative, Eraser carving, New Mixed Media art, Rubber stamping

da1-4-16Time passes, and to prove it, I now have a new folder entitled Terry Work 2016. Today’s Daily Art offering is a stamped feather image made by an eraser I carved. The foundation is cardboard. Somewhere on the Internet I described soaking cardboard for a few minutes and separating the layers. Well there you are, I just did it again. It’s really that simple. Poof–free paper. Ever since I saw the work of Hanne Matthiesen I wanted to use cardboard but I was sure it wasn’t as easy as she described. It is, just do it once and you’ll be hooked.

My Daily Art Initiative involves making a 5×7 paper foundation piece in one hour. I did this one in about 45 minutes and most of the time was spent trying to find some weird text to use. I had already carved the stamp several months ago. I was trying to carve a simple feather shape and do not ask me why, I have no idea. It was very important at the time, important enough to hand carve this stamp. As I said, I started out for a simple feather and got really carried away. This is sort of a quill-y affair, like Edgar A. would use. I think I used one of those I MADE A BIG MISTAKE erasers from Dollar Tree.  I like the I MADE A BIG MISTAKE eraser because they can be cut up easily for a high yield.

I do find carving stamps to be meditative. Developing good working habits is a must. It is easy to cut yourself badly, no matter what implement you are using. If you can, brace the block so that you don’t have to hold it. If you hold it, hold the bottom and always cut away from yourself. The implement will slip or jump, it is just a matter of time. Learn to be careful when you start to learn.

Most carvers move the block more than they move the cutter. This develops a good rhythm and brings you into that meditation. There are plenty of videos and articles on the web to show you how to carve. Just basic stuff and you can start. Practice makes perfect. In fact, you don’t have to do it much before you are good at it, if you have good eye-to-hand skills, and you are able to firmly grip the cutter.

If you had an idea to get into carving, a Daily Carving challenge would be very advised. Think of the benefits! You’d be an expert carver in a month, and have hundreds of unique stamps after a year. It’s very doable.

Back to this piece. Cardboard, stamped feather. A book on European birds listed a picture of each bird (too big to use), a physical description of the bird, nesting habits, habitats, food choices and vocals. The way the author described the vocals was delicious. It was hard to decide which one to use. One bird with an audacious name like Wood Hunting Worm Hole Jelly Breasted Nuthatch or something had a vocal “like a raucous crow ending with a harsh guttural explosion.” I am not making that up. Well, actually I AM making that up, but it was very close to that–too close. I made a harsh guttural explosion when I read it, I am not making THAT up.

The blue border was a piece of nifty paper that I get for free, the source to be nameless lest it get someone into a fix. It is WASTE paper, stuff that gets pitched in a place that does not even recycle. Don’t get me started. What would go in the trash gets given to me and I am grateful because it is very nice paper. Sort of like cotton rag old school typing paper, back when manual typewriters came with a special eraser that looked like a pencil and had a nasty bristle brush on the end of it to brush away the eraser crumbs. Only the bristle brush would get ink on it from brushing away inky crumbs, then you ended up with nice rag white typewriter paper with black inky streaks on it and had to RETYPE THE PAGE. My, how I long for the good old days. Oh, the fun we had, waving our inky pencil erasers over clean paper and scrubbing away inky streaks until we put a hole in the paper and had to retype the entire page. We did this, youngsters. And we liked it, we liked it just FINE, because it beat writing with the quill-y type pen like E.A. Poe was stuck with. Him, a fine author whose mind went, no doubt, a million miles an hour while his poor clenched hand scribbled, dipped, scribbled, dipped, scribbled, dipped all the way through the Masque of the Red Death.

Just in the 60 years I have been alive, information processing has changed in astonishing ways. Here I sit, ranting and raving like poor mad E.A. on a blog nobody reads, with spell correcting and digital images illustrating, neatly left aligned. Now a crumbly pencil eraser sells for $75 on Etsy. Oh, the things I have seen.

Well, the paper was painted with navy acrylic. The top border with the red was added at the last minute just because the red popped it a bit. Then I clipped out the vocal description and glued it down, strangely, it kept coming up. I wonder if it was the clear gesso I put onto the cardboard? The paper was very old and porous, it surprised me the text kept lifting, in fact, you can see where it lifted and some letters escaped. I had to write them in. With a pencil.

I used a permanent fine tip marker to write the bird call on the border, signed it and done. I like it, I like it just fine.

  1. LOL – oh the things you’ve seen indeed! What a fabulous challenge you’ve set for yourself and what a wonderful example of your creativity. Just the other day I found a block of carving material and thought I’d put that on my studio table to see how it inspired the Muses. I hope they have an idea as lovely as your feather.

    • crickyn says:

      Hi Deborah! Thanks for commenting. I am SURE your muses can find you a fabulous idea for stamp carving and you are up for the challenge. And yes, oh the things I’ve seen–if I could only remember them!

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