Monday, June 22, 2009

attempt #1: Indian textile stamps on linen

Marian and I had a special craft date while Audrey was at a birthday party on Saturday. Our main goal was to make Marian's American Girl doll a bed (she's posting a tutorial, making a sturdy cardboard bed from the doll's original box, on her blog soon) and Marian decided to try out my new antique Indian stamps with acrylic paint to decorate Josefina's bed. I wanted to try the stamps on fabric, and worked on a scrap of linen while she did her decorative painting (she got 100% of Mama for the rest of it, but the finishing detail work was just for her, so I sat across the table with my own paints).

Supplies gathered!

textile ink (this jar is Jacquard brand, originally bought for freezer paper stencils)
soft rubber brayer (from a Speedball block printing starter kit)
a plastic spoon (I have a stack I keep with my textile inks for scooping that I clean & reuse)
a sheet of glass
well-used art board to protect the pretty table
and a pad for under my fabric (this felted wool potholder worked like a charm)

I think you could just use a foam brush to apply the ink to the stamp, especially a small one like this, but the brayer and ultra-flat glass make even application easy and quick. Particularly for larger stamps or blocks or repetitive stamping (like I have planned for my future bedding project), the good gear is highly recommended.

**I start by spreading a line of ink across the glass with the back of a spoon, then use perpendicular strokes of the brayer to get an even sheet of ink.
**Roll the inked brayer across the surface of the stamp a couple of times.
**Press your inked stamp into the fabric. I was worried that the hard wooden stamp wouldn't make a clear image; the "give" in a rubber stamp, added to that of the foam pad that is part of the mount, helps the uniformity of the impression. One tutorial I browsed suggestedusing a pad under the fabric, which somewhat contrasts, methinks, with suggestions to stretch the fabric taut on a frame, but I thought this felted pad worked marvelously. Marian's stamps, on corrugated cardboard that was slightly warped in some places from our manipulation and the paint, were not as clear, though the images improved when we decided to just let the stamp sit there a moment, allowing the paint to flow down.
I thought my little paisley looked lovely (though I do increasingly prefer the term Persian pickle--so homey!--after reading the Persian Pickle Club).
The second stamp I chose (one of Nathan's picks) was designed for a continuous border. It is damaged a bit at the edge, which (along with my inexpert handling) made it less continuous. Practice I will!
My big stamp is a botanical beauty, and I realized after stamping a couple of images that it is also designed to be part of a continuous swirling border.
Which I did line up better in take 2, this time on my fanciest paper towels (I prefer Bounty, exclusively in the choose-your-size tear pattern. I (infamous in several circles for always tearing wipes in 1/2) always choose the smallest, of course.
A word of caution: My stamps were totally black when I bought them, and when I washed the ink off during cleanup, a lot of paint came with it, which marred subsequent stampings. You can see the black blots on the paper towel above. I'm not sure if that is how they come from India or if the store I bought them from (which had decor rather than actual use in mind) painted them to polish 'em up a bit, but I recommend keeping the mess potential in mind. I did not have any troubles with black transfer during my initial work, so plan on assuming that a nice dry stamp will be fine for future work, too. I just cannot switch colors mid-project without getting out the hairdryer. I'll have to debate varnishing them...seems that it will interfere with the ink "grab"; perhaps varnish all, then wipe off the stamping surface?

Conclusion: get your own, friends (a good place to start may be here: hooray for one-woman businesses!). Next up: batik!


Snippety Gibbet said...

I'm always so inspired by the work you pick up and do. It's probably a good thing I can't just go to the store and buy these wooden textile stamps. I'm into enough crafty things as it is.

I saw this Todd Oldham/Susan Sarandon YouTube video yesterday and thought of you. But you are so many light years ahead of what they are doing.


sgraham said...

I love the little paisley stamp. I would love to borrow them sometime, if you'll allow. I would like to stamp some new dishtowels. As always, I am in awe of your creativity.

sallyavena said...

You picked out some beautiful stamps! I can't wait to see the bedding.

mimi said...

byyyuuuuutiful!!! and marian looks wonderfully healthy! xoxo

123 123 said...

Cool blog as for me. I'd like to read more about that matter.
By the way look at the design I've made myself A level escort

Rayela Art said...

Thanks for the mention! I represent a group of African carvers ( and manage my friend, Abdul's shop ( Both have great stamps!

The one you used in your tutorial looks a lot like the ones we sell for Abdul from Afghanistan. The black is old ink and indigo and you should scrub any vintage stamps with a stiff brush, dish soap and warm water.

Do NOT varnish the stamp! The paint or dye will not adhere well to it and you will get blotchy designs. Just scrub it lightly after using and let it dry or blot it if you want to change colors.

You want to have some give when you push on the stamp, so use cardboard or layers of newspaper under your cloth or paper. You'll get a clearer image that way. If you can find those felt liners used to protect dining room tables, they are great!

Have fun! If you have questions about the Etsy merch, contact me there.