Thursday 11 February 2016

Lions and Tigers and Print Blocks, oh yeah. . .

A few years ago I got particularly lucky in a local charity shop. (hmm. the mind boggles. . . ) What I meant was that I got lucky in that I found a very cool old block printing set. I don't know when it dates from, but one of the stamps inside is of a zookeeper with a whip. . . So not very recent. Maybe not as old as the image would infer, as these sorts of things kept on being produced a while after the Victorian costume in the image was out of date, I'm guessing. I could easily be wrong.
Anyway, I grabbed it. I even bought an ink pad from the stationers to try it out with. Very nice. I didn't have much I could actually do with it though, so it got put aside after I had had some fun with it.
When I got into polymer clay I always had a thought in the back of my mind that the zoo printing set I found all those years ago would be fun to mess around with as a source of image and texture stamps. I had a vague look for it, but as it wasn't anywhere obvious I shrugged and did something else. The other day I came across it while looking for something else (as predictably always happens. .) so I bore it triumphantly to my work desk and opened it up. 

Tiger Tiger etc One of the blocks inside. Rubber on wood, about 1-1/2" by 7/8"

I tried a print of the tiger block on a bit of spare poly clay, using dark blue Stazon ink. That gave me an impression in the clay and a coloured line at the same time. Probably a bit of a crude line, as when printed with less pressure you get more detail. But anyway, I baked it and then spent some time messing around distressing it up a bit. I just felt it needed it somehow. And I like doing it. It turned out OK, probably.

Encouraged, I tried a load more experiments. Different stamps, different levels of pressure and different treatments etc. Fun. 
Below are some of the results, for better or worse.

Two Rhinos and a Lion

Three very cool Buffalo. I love these, though I say it myself.

Three more Tigers with varying degrees of success.

And an Elephant cured with a heat gun, hence the interesting bubbles. I like this effect. . . but then I would.

The issue I now have, which is one that will be familiar to anyone who has seen my posts on FB, is 'What do I do with them?'
Would they make cool pendants? With a hole in each top corner? Key fobs? I'm not sure how they fit into the world of personal adornment ;-) As always, any ideas would be greatly appreciated. . .
Jon x


  1. You could deffo make them into pendants. You could cut sections out to create smaller pieces including bits that are recognisably part of x animal?

    1. Thanks Claire, I'll see where the muse takes me in the pendant direction. i like your idea re chopping them up. That might be interesting.

  2. I'm with Claire. These would make wonderful pendants - especially paired up with your antiqued beads - oh my!!

    1. OK, I shall have a play, thanks. There is a bear stamp too so a Wiz of Oz pendant is not out of the question ;-)