Thursday, September 4, 2014

New Beginnings - It's time to tell some stories

Three times during the year I get the feeling of "new beginnings": New Year's Day, those early days of spring when the spring flowers start to bloom, and the first days of a new school year.  The last is probably due to years of going through that ritual of going back to school as a child, but even now working at a University I have that feeling with each new incoming class year.

It seems fitting then to do some rebranding at JackBear Stamps.  The first thing I'm rebooting, I just typed. I'm trying to capitalize the B in Bear.  JackBear.  Before, I left it a little b. Does it matter, not really. It's just that it often ended up as Jack Bear, or as JackBear when others transcribed it, so might as well roll with it, instead of Jackbear.  In most of my logos it will be all caps anyway, JACKBEAR.

Next, and this is the big one, I am adopting a new tagline that will define how I market my products. The tagline is "Rubber Stamps with a Story," or "Stamps with a Story."  I felt like my hand carved rubber stamps each had a story to tell.

You see I keep a big book, a portfolio of sorts, that has images of all the stamps I have carved for JackBear Stamps (I have a lot more I have carved for letterboxing that are in different journals).  This visual catalog of my stamps is fun to flip through to see how I have improved, see the size and shapes I have carved, and to get lost in the menagerie of topics covered.  When I share this portfolio with others, and they flip through, a common comment is often, "Wow, look at this one."  That always leads to me telling a narrative about why that stamp was carved.  I find myself telling a story about who it was for, and why they wanted an that particular image carved.

For instance, the image below I carved for a client on etsy.  She sent me an old photograph of this fellow, and told me that she wanted a stamp of it for a friend who was a photographer.  Her friend identified with this photograph because of how it was shot, the subject in the photo, the look in his eyes, and when it was taken.  Take a close look at it:

photo credit: Alexander Gardner

Would you then be surprised if I told you the name of this fellow is Lewis Powell (Payne) and the photograph was taken in 1865!  Now look at the background in the photo, see those large rivet like circles? Those are from the iron-clad naval ship USS Saugus.  Now look closely at his hands?  They are manacled. You see Lewis Powell was convicted and hanged as one of the co-conspirator's in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  Now that is a STORY!

My stamped image inspired by the above photo

So you see, each stamp tell's a story.  I wanted to start sharing those stories here on the blog, on my Facebook page, and Twitter.  Pictures do tell a thousand words, but sometimes you need to help build the background of the story.

With the new tagline, a bear paw didn't seem to visually represent "stories" to me.  But what did? In my mind, a rocking chair did.  Maybe old grandpa sitting by the hearth telling a yarn.  But what kind of rocking chair, a windsor back?  No, I love the rustic motif.  My favorite piece of furniture by far is the Adirondack Chair (having grown up north of those mountains).  So how about an Adirondack rocking chair.  That brings up images of old hermit of the Adirondacks, and folk heroes like Ham Ferry and Bill Smith (but that's a story for another day).

So here we are now, sitting by the fireplace, rocking away in our chair, telling stories on a chilly autumn eve as the smoke of the fire seasons our flannel shirts with its charcoal-like smell.  That is my happy place. This place is now JackBear Stamps.


Michelle said...

This is great! I can't wait to hear your stories. I'm curling up on the rug on the hearth to listen. The rhythm of your rocker is lulling me into peace.

jackbear said...

Thanks Michelle! Thanks for coming along on the ride!