Donnerstag, 29. Juni 2017

"All that bugs me..." - Insects (AE June theme challenge)

This months theme challenge at Art Elements (AE) was given by Diana Ptaszynksi: Insects. What a perfect topic for me and actually one that came up quite often in my work. Bet it the use of beetle wings in my jewelery or paintings or handcarved stamps.

It is a long time ago since I carved my own stamps. But since I love monoprinting, mixed media and handmade books, I wanted some bigger motives to use. I also had some new rubber carving material to try out (the blue "stuff" and new being relative meaning unopened but lying around for a long time). I love carving rubber because I don't need a press to get good impressions. But in the past I used real rubbers (to hard or stable to really carve well) or a rubber carving material at my craft supply store (at that time the only available but it sadly crumbles a lot).

What shall I say? I love it! It is smooth and easy to carve and IT DOES NOT CRUMBLE! The "crumbling" problem was one of the reasons I stopped carving my own stamps - to frustrating and heartbreaking. The motives of course insects, in this case I started with a beetle. 

Here you see my reference image. I actually cut it out in the desired size and draw the silhouette on my stamp to have some guidelines. You could also use some copy paper but test it first with the rubber. The one I had didn't work at all on the rubber surface while it worked perfectly on paper.

And printed on a colorful background (MDF) with black archival ink. Since the background was quite dark I used some coloured pencils to draw around and play a little bit with it.

Just look at the background, love it!

In my carving process I stop in between and stamp the image just to get an overall impression and see where I still have to change something.

With a lot of background and the wings not finished...

Nearly finished but with some broken lines I didn't like. Take care to really stop in between. I know myself, after the first rough carving I need a break (or start another one) and leave the fine details for another day. Never ever worked out if I did it all in one go.

Of course I also had to test them with ceramic clay. They leave a nice impression. 

I only smoothed out the outer areas where you would see the carved background lines and a little bit in the middle. 

Both will be decorative tiles (I think).

They are still drying but I am so curious how they will turn out. I will add some black underglaze to highlight the details (not covering the whole stamped image) and am thinking about a transparent glaze on the insect and an opaque around. What also could be interesting is to add some graphic designs on the background. Mh... still thinking...

After I got my love for carving back I thought also to give linocuts another try. Our professional art supply store takes care to only provide fresh linoleum for carving since it gets hard and brittle after some time.

It is still in progress but I am surprised how easy and nice it was to carve (also way cheaper than the blue rubber "stuff"). There are differences but I just need some training to adjust. Oh, and better tools...  but that is a wish for nearly any technique, nai? *sighs*

Also I don't have a printing press and just with hand pressure it really doesn't print as well as the rubber ones. But I'll see if I can somehow adjust a little bit. All these prints are still test prints in between just to see how the carving comes along.

You know, I have a lot of my own stamps and I was thinking to show you my older insect stamps made with different rubber materials. I also love to see how my own abilities evolved (or are not so restricted anymore with problematic materials? Who knows ;) ). 

So I went to have a look and thought, oh well, why not show you my whole collections? Here it is! (there could be some smaller ones be missing but then I wouldn't even know where to start looking for them). 

As you see I used every tiny wee bit! I so loved the big dragon fly image but sadly it crumbled (right side). It is a good material for stamps like the birds and leaves (top row, middle image) because they don't have small areas but are rather massive. But I am handling my octopus stamp with the most utter care! 

And I nearly forgot my pegasus, and my tree, and my spider, and my little owl, and my flower....! I definitely need to use them all again somehow! I hope I am not the only one sometimes forgetting the little treasures in their stash.

As a last impression: Here are all my other insect stamps I made a long time ago. As a reference I stamped the little beetle on my finger nail too.

Diana, thank you so much for this theme, it was perfect for me!
Now please have a look what everybody else made!


Art Elements Team
Claire Fabian (you are here)

10 Kommentare:

  1. Really enjoyed your post, Your carving is amazing... what a fabulous collection stamps! Love seeing all of the different things you've done with them too!

  2. What lovely pieces you've produced, both the carvings and the pieces and stampings made with them

  3. Love so much Claire! I think I carved a stamp way back in primary school, but never since! Yours are fantastic! I can't wait to see what else you do with the new bugs and old...and the octopus too!

  4. Oh Claire! I love everything. Wow. The Pegasus is stunning. The tiny tiny ones blow my mind. I have had the same frustrations with some brands of rubber being crumbly and others working well. I need to get new fine blades as half my problems are just cheap tools being dull. I like regular linoleum for printing in clay as its firmer - but you are right - the ring you get with lino/ink/your hand isn't as good. Definitely an ink and brayer for that. I so wish we could have a printing play date.....

    Your bugs are gorgeous. The negative spaces in the wings are stunning. And i think your glaze ideas sound perfect.

  5. My God, you are so patient and super talented. Your passion for creating unique items beautifully comes through in your work and your writing

  6. Your carving skills are just amazing and I love that your stamps look just as beautiful on clay as they do on paper, I can't wait to see what they look like finished!

  7. Fabulous work Claire...makes me want to get my carving tools out.

  8. Those carvings are gorgeous! You are surely gifted.

  9. Like the stamps/carving... I want to have a go at that, your finished pieces are very inspiring.

  10. Wow! I'm so impressed by your carvings! Very cool.



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