Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hand ᔓtamp

Finished Hand Stamps

_As I work through my ongoing Hand ᔓtamp project, I go back and forth on their nature. Sometimes they seem to be a commodity but more often they seem to have an art nature. I suppose this does come down to my intent and I do tend to intellectualize things that may just as well fall into the realm of practicality. I've explained how I simply started with a single hand that I carved initials into the bottom of to act as a personal signature for work. This led to the idea of making other chops as symbol for addenda to drawings. a second thought, more information, the tangent created in the origin.
Yet they are simply nice compact art objects in themselves. I probably will offer some up for sale and post those in my blog side bar. Alternately, I have a feeling that there is more I want to develop in this. As I've researched chops and seals, I've been overwhelmed by the number of rubber stamp companies offering complex and relatively inexpensive stamps. Many of these seem to target a craft audience. They seem widely available in shops and online.
In contrast I've also been humbled by the intricacy of many oriental stamps. I've also been humbled by the complexity of stamps produced by mail artists for use in their work.

TAM Rubber Stamp Archive is a blog curated by Rudd Janssen in the Netherlands and documents this art form from the early 1980's on. While Rudd archives and offers publications many of these personal stamps are rarely seen except by other mail artists.

Lancillotto Bellini is another artist whose work in rubber stamps is quite extrodinary. the following video is a brief overview of Lancillotto's work; a worthwhile side trip to see his very personal stamp portraits.

I wrote last post about free association in letting design manifest and how it ran in series, yet this past week my carvings have been along the line of opposites and dualities. While I'm not exactly carving the ubiquitous yin yang yet I did do order and chaos and a sun and moon. I may need some non-duality carvings for a while as they seem somehow more profound or internalized in groupings.

CHAOS/ORDER stamps - ©evertson 09

As I work on the plaster miniatures, they are becoming more like art objects rather than a commercial or utilitarian product. I can start to envision them evolving a bit from my original thoughts. I think of my own hands. Once a child's; untested and unblemished; now middle aged, calloused and scarred. Alternately strong and fragile; having physical memories of all the things they have touched. The memories that have shaped my hands... their own patina somehow beyond my mental construct of how they got this way.

Hand ᔓtamps after hardener and wax - experiments with paper and cloth visible to left - ©09

The hand stamps began formless, as simple white powder - plaster. Mixed with water and placed in a mold. Yet somehow they come out unique. I use a petroleum jelly for a mold release; even thinly applied they give each hand a unique accidental skin. an ultimately uncontrollable series of swirls and fingerprints and tiny air pockets that despite any pretense I have at uniformity they become as individual as you and I. A mix of play and chance. Their skin needs protection and I apply a resin hardener to toughen the fine grain of the plaster underneath. (The dust we come from?) I mix and apply pigmented waxes and they come out aged - different - reflections of their symbol and the beginning of their journeys.


My Belgian friend Ria has been busy with mail art and I've received a new picture from her. This time an original drawing that she requests I "do something with it". Her drawing "Samsara" concerns itself with the Buddhist concept of suffering through our continuous grabbing, reaching and futile holding onto what we think will make us happy. She also knows that for months I've included hands in my work. perhaps by my next post I'll have my "additions" ready to show her.

Ria Vanden Eynde - "Samsara" - pencil on paper

Jennifer Zoellner sent a large package that completely baffled me when I picked it up. What a delight!! Jennifer painted a wooden paddle with her intricate and iconic doll imagery to produce this fascinating piece. The 16" x 10" paddle has found a place of honor on our mantle. Thank you Jennifer for this major piece of work.

Jennifer Zoellner - Paddle - 2009
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