Inspiration from the Sketchbook: From Photo to Stamp

Melanie Testa’s last blog post showed the importance of having a camera ready at all times and how some of the images found their way onto one of her fabulous handstitched shirts. This week, Melanie uses photographs she takes to create multicolored stamps than can be used for a variety of mixed media projects.









Once again, I find photographic inspiration in street art. With cameras as close as a cell phone and small enough to tuck in a shirt pocket, there is really no excuse not to carry one. And given the fleeting nature of graffiti, snap a photo as soon as you see it, otherwise, it may be covered up the next time you walk past.








Soon after snapping a photograph of the bird above, I set myself to creating a few stamps with the image. I made several sizes of stamps and one multicolored stamp, which is a technique demonstrated in my book, Dreaming from the Journal Page. Multicolored stamps are magical, allowing you to create precise imagery in several colors-as many as you are able or willing to plot out and cut, really.








And as you can see, there are so many ways to use multicolored stamps. You can design your own papers, make presentation folders, stamp directly on cloth, you can use the cloth as a lining and embroider from the back of the work so that it shows up on the front of your work. This an ingenious technique full of possibility.








Here you see another. Gather your Sew-plies in the making. I am working to embrace the spontaneity of graffiti, random marks and street art in its design.

The base fabric for this piece is a dilapidated table runner that came in the box of linens that Ricë sent me. The cross stitch from yesteryear will become some of the marks and noise that is related to the layered street art vibe.











And just to show you how detailed you can get with the multicolor stamps, I would like to show you a print of a Greater Scaup done in ACT size, printed with ink pads. This piece was printed using 6 separate stamps, pretty snazzy, right?








And once you start making them, they are like potato chips, you won’t be able to stop at one!

Melanie Testa, an accomplished textile and quilt artist, is the author of the recently released North Light book, Dreaming From the Journal Page: Transforming the Sketchbook to Art. She is also the author of Inspired To Quilt: Creative Experiments in Art Quilt Imagery (Interweave, May 09). Melanie often begins her work by sketching in journals using paint and pens, then interpreting her ideas into her fabric works of art. She teaches workshops at major art retreats and other venues nationwide. You can follow Melanie on her blog.



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One Response to Inspiration from the Sketchbook: From Photo to Stamp

  1. CarolineA says:

    It really is a short step from simple stamping to making the stunning multi-cloured prints, something we tend to forget, or assume we don’t have the necessary skills. Thank you for reminding us that beauty does not have to be complicated!