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10:10pm on Tuesday, 20th October, 2009:

Stamp Collector


There are some things I really like that I'm not sure exactly why I like them, but hey, I like them. Stationery shops would fall into this category, for example; I think it's maybe because of the potential for creation that the objects in there embody, except I'm not excited by craft kits so it must be something more subtle than that.

Another thing I like for no good reason is rubber stamps. As a youngster, living east of east of nowhere, there wasn't a great opportunity to buy rubber stamps. I could get ink pads, because local businesses used those for stamping the dates on things, but I couldn't get rubber stamps. I therefore resorted to making my own.

It's actually a lot easier than you might think. Basically, you draw what you want the reverse of the stamp to look like on the back of a rubber (by which I mean an eraser, condom fans) then you take a very sharp modelling knife and cut away anything outside of the line. These days they probably use lasers or something, but this worked for me. I experimented a bit with things like linoleum (having heard on TV that this was good for making rubber stamps), but ultimately concluded that the best material was, as the name "rubber stamp" implies, rubber.

Here's one of my early successes:

In the 1990s, I went out to California a few times to work on MUD2 in Orange County. Withing walking distance of the hotel, in Costa Mesa, was the South Coast Plaza, which of course I visited to buy my kids Stuff. There, I found a shop that was part of a small chain called Stampa Barbara ("America's Rubber Stamp Paradise"), where they sold nothing but rubber stamps, ink pads and books about rubber stamps and ink pads. Oh, they may have had some special ink-adhesive glossy paper, too. I must have spent an hour in that shop. Eventually I came away with a stamp-your-own-fairy-story kits for my elder daughter (the younger one was too young at the time) plus a Daffy Duck stamp and the biggest ink pad you ever saw for myself. They're in the top drawer next to where Iwork, which, should my occasional series describing where I work ever get that far, I'll show you.

To this day, I still love rubber stamps. If only I ever had some cause to use them, I might figure out why...

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).