23 September 2006

tut-tut, indeed.

I am fascinated by printing methods. I listen raptly as my parents talk about the linotype machine and letterpress they used to use to set newspapers. Silkscreen was my absolute favorite course in school. I fantasize about finding an old press and making my own cards. Alas, I don't have the space for a press, or even a proper silkscreen set-up, so fantasies they must remain. At least for the time being.

In the meantime, I've tried my hand at stamping. Tuns out stamping is way more difficult than it looks. I've been so inspired by the beautiful cards that Abby makes. This one is probably my favorite. (though I think, Dad, that you need this one.) Abby has a quite extraordinary talent for carving forms which seem simple and straightforward, but still utterly unique and full of personality.

I definitely took a page out of Abby's book with these experiments. Though not nearly so successfully. I didn't bother getting block printing inks; I just used my normal painting acrylics thinned with a bit of water. I think this was mistake #1. The mistakes multiplied rather quickly from there. I won't bore you with the details. But a few lessons learned are:
  • The linoleum stuff is much better than that pink gummy stuff which they call "speedy." I should have know that "speedy" might just be a synonym for "shitty."
  • Carving type is not for the faint of heart. But I really wanted my turtles to be saying "tut-tut." Not sure why, except that I like to say "tut-tut." It has an Eeyore-Chicken Little-cutely doomsday kind of ring to it. But as I was stamping "tut-tut" and the ink was getting all gunky and ugly, "tut-tut" seemed like a very appropriate thing to be saying.
  • If you insist on trying to carve type, "tut-tut" is actually a very wise choice. The phrase is an exact mirror image of itself. One of those...gotta look it up...errr, can't find it in the dictionary. Anyway, you don't have to bother reversing the letters. Quite convenient.

Not a completely successful experiment, but a fun one for the most part. A bit messy, though. Gotta go clean up the house on this rainy Saturday. Tut-tut and cherry-pip!


African Kelli said...

I so agree -- stamping is more difficult than it looks. Especially when you are trying to match up letters with an alpha set. Good luck! These are a sweet start.

Anonymous said...

I think you did a great job!
I have ink/paint issues, too!
I actually use stamping inks because anything that remotely feels like paint is so hard to control. It really is a lot harder than it seems-thanks for the props!

sulu-design said...

The cards are adorable - the image and the "Tut Tut" look good with the quirky printing. By the way, I think you're looking for the word "palindrome" - elementary school teacher are always useful for that random sort of information. Have a great weekend!

hannah said...

in the midwest we say tisk tisk. but enough of midwestern vernacular, those cards are fabulous! i have silk screening dreams big time... sigh...

Anonymous said...

Aww, the turtle is sweet. And I'm not sure why, but "tut-tut" keeps cracking me up.