Welcome to the debut of another semi-regular feature here at Lost Coast Post: Serendipithon Sundays. In these posts, I hope to inspire you to spend a little weekend time making your own tools and supplies.
Put quite simply, serendipity work is the art of happy accidents. It is art that has no underlying plan or goal; you just start making and see what develops. I love serendipity work when I'm feeling bad. I can play in the studio, aimlessly slinging paint and creating marks. It keeps me quietly and gently engaged in art and as a bonus, I end up with unique materials that can be used in other projects.
Yes, you can just buy tools and supplies...saves time and looks professional. My studio is full of fun and fantastic stuff I've purchased. I love craft stores just like everyone else. These days, however, my priorities have changed and I crave the imperfect perfection that only my own hands can craft. Every wonky line and crazy background is mine and mine alone. To me, a single sheet of my own hand-decorated paper has more depth and personality than an entire ream of commercial scrapbook paper. I feel a deeper connection to my work when I utilize as many self-generated images and materials as possible. Making my own supplies saves me money and allows me to quickly create tools specific to my wishes and needs. No time wasted searching for the perfect supply.
When I sit down for a serendipity session, sometimes I make tools (stencils, stamps) to use in making supplies (papers, collage sheets, tapes, transparencies.) Sometimes I make the actual supplies. It depends on my interest level in the homemade tools I already have on hand. If I am bored of the handmade stuff I already have, I sit down to make a fresh batch. (Handmade tools can deteriorate too over time with repeated use so sometimes it just becomes necessary to make replacements.)
Today, I'm hoping to inspire you to make some of your own foam stamps. The "how to" of this project has been done to death in all the leading mixed media books out there. It is very, very simple: cut and punch shapes from thin, lightweight foam and hot glue onto a piece of sturdy cardboard. It is a super cheap way of adding stamps to your stash. The foam sheets aren't more than a $1 at craft stores and cardboard is readily available for free. (The backs of paper tablets are perfect for this project.) The hardest part of making these stamps is cutting the board with a craft knife. It is very painful for me to grip anything tightly for any length of time...just a heads-up if you have hand problems. You really do need thick cardboard for best stamping results so if your hands are compromised, limit your stamp-making session or better yet, enlist someone to do the cutting for you.
Don't these stamps look delicious once they've gotten all painty?! These stamps make the best impressions with either very juicy ink pads or paint. I don't worry about getting foam stamps super clean since they are so easy and cheap to make. Since it isn't possible to create very detailed stamp images, I stick with basic shapes and symbols in various arrangements, perfect for layering when creating serendipity papers and backgrounds.