My studio is in Northern Virginia, just west of Washington, DC. My husband, golden retriever pup Ollie and I moved to Virginia in October, and I am really enjoying getting inspired in DC- the memorials, monuments & museums have been a beautiful resource!
nature as inspiration, hand stamped gift tags, art print
How did you get started in your craft? What inspires you?
My start with stamp making was somewhat spontaneous. Having never tried creating stamps before, I ordered an array of materials from an online source and just tried them all. I fell in love with the simplicity of carving as well as the openness to design anything I could imagine.
Since I have been working in rubber stamps for several years, I have also been working on a line of hand-carved block prints inspired by quotes from my favorite classic literature. The line has been a long time in the making & I am very excited to add it into the mix soon!
Since moving to Virginia, I have been thrilled with the array of art museums & historic sites in the city. There is always something to do, somewhere to explore, new things to learn- and the architecture really fascinates me. My town has the added benefit of also being very close to the mountains & the wide open country, so I love being able to pull inspiration from both industrial and rural landscapes.
workspace, design process, ollie, stamps in process
What are the top 3 tools that are most important in your craft?
When I started out in stamp making, I was hand drawing, transferring, carving & packaging each of my designs. I was (and still am) in love with the hand carving process. But after a grim diagnosis from a hand doctor, I added a Hobby Laser to my studio, and it has become a very important tool for me. The laser engraves my hand drawn, carved & stamped designs. While I was reluctant at first to add it into my daily work, I am really thrilled at how the laser is able to catch the little nuances that make the stamps handmade. It has expanded my business incredibly by allowing me to to spend more time designing, and as a bonus it saved my hands from certain doom!
My other two most important tools are very simple - a Micron pen that I do almost all my drawings with, and a notebook where I record all my new inspirations, drawings & thoughts. Both of these items are in constant use throughout the day and keep my mind on my ultimate goal: create more.
Does music play a role in your creating or do you like to work in silence?
Music often plays a role in my creative process; while I draw I love listening to the Counting Crows or my favorite James Taylor radio station on Pandora radio. Other than drawing time, though, I have to work in complete silence or with a background movie that I have watched a zillion times before (think "Pride & Prejudice" or, more recently, the "Hunger Games"). Otherwise, I find that I spend too much brain power on singing along when I should be working!
What are the greatest rewards of creating something that is handmade?
For me, creating handmade has been an incredible process of getting to know myself & what I am really capable of, and I think that is something many other makers can relate to. Each day can be something entirely unique, without rules or restrictions, and this complete freedom is something most people don't get to experience very often. Best of all, I always love sharing the things that I make with others - spending time chatting with other makers & with customers is an awesome benefit of being in the handmade marketplace.