I am very excited to announce the launch of my new business, Jackbear Stamps. I am delighted to bring my talents as a hand carver of original and custom rubber stamps to a wider audience.
I began carving stamps as part of a hobby I got involved with in 2003 called letterboxing. This treasure hunt for hidden rubber stamps sparked a sense of fun and curiosity in me, and though some of my hobbies have come and gone over this time, letterboxing has only grown. My first challenge as a letterboxer was finding a stamp to represent me. I had already picked my trailname (my first name (John) = Jack, my last name (Ballou) = Bear (like in the Jungle Book. I started looking for a stamp in the craft stores. I wanted a bear track. I found lots of cats and dogs stamps, but no bears. That settled it. I needed to carve my own. I read lots of online tutorials, and found that I could carve a plastic eraser into a good stamp. After doodling and drawing for hours, I finally found the design that I liked. I traced it onto the eraser, carved away, and I had done it...my very first stamp.
Not long after, I started to carve more and more. These stamps were very rudimentary compared to what I like to carve today, but we all start somewhere. The pine cone pictured above is actually about 5 or 6 inches tall in real life. I carved it to stencil a border around my guest bedroom which I decorated in my favorite style, Adirondack rustic. Each new stamp I carve is a learning process and a challenge, and that is what keeps it interesting to me. Though I have updated the materials I use, the passion stays the same.
Recently I have started carving more portraits, and stamps of people. I have found this very rewarding, as it is a subject that many beginning carvers shy away from. In fact it was by a request of a fellow letterboxer that really got me thinking that I could start a small business carving stamps. She had requested a stamp be carved of her two children. She didn't want it for a letterbox, she wanted it to stamp on thank you cards, or perhaps holiday cards. I accepted a photo from her, and carved from there. This sparked an idea in my head....there might be people out there who need stamps carved. They might be scrapbookers, or card makers, or other kinds of crafters. I could sell hand carved custom stamp to them (I don't sell stamps for letterboxing purposes as this is a non-profit hobby, and is not the place for commercial ventures). And so Jackbear Stamps began.
I am putting the finishing touches on my shop as we speak, so I hope you will join me on my journey to bring amazing hand carved rubber stamps to the world.