Monday, September 12, 2011

Windows into Polished Stone

The first time I saw this technique, I thought it was like peering through a rip in the time-space continuum. It was stunning and so easy, I was instantly charmed. Back then in 2001, we used Tria alcohol ink refills, and Krylon gold or silver leafing pens. (This was before Tim Holtz) The bottles of Tria ink refills were 10.00 each, but held a lot and lasted a good while.  This is what I told myself as I kept buying more colors!  Some people used cotton balls, but I made an applicator by attaching Velcro to a wood block with super glue. Then I cut several pieces of felt and stuck it to the Velcro. Here’s where the real magic happens, immediately before the ink dries, apply a few drops of light-colored Tria ink (such as warm gray #1) or plain rubbing alcohol in the center of the cardstock. The alcohol with react with the Tria ink and create a window in the center of the composition causing the leafing ink to spread out. Allow the cardstock to dry completely. Stamp an image in the window with black dye ink and allow it to dry.

I’d never seen this window technique in any stamping magazines or on the internet, so I contacted Sharilyn Miller, then the editor of Somerset Studio, and told her about the window effect.  She had not seen this window technique done on polished stone and asked me to write an article along with some samples.  I was thrilled! I contacted a couple of stamp companies and Letraset, the makers of Tria inks, to ask if they would supply me with some materials for the magazine article. They said yes, of course as it was free advertisement for them. My article appeared in the Jan/Feb 2002 issue.

Later, Tim Holtz and Ranger developed smaller bottles of alcohol ink and the applicator.  I like the handle Tim put on his applicator, and the inks are much less expensive.  But what ever happened to the “window effect?” Is anyone doing it any more?  Some of my friends from the Oriental Stamp Art forum hadn’t heard of it, so I decided to write about it and let people see how pretty it is.

Regrets…. Yes!  Why didn’t I continue to submit to magazines and demo work?  So many reasons come to mind.  I was hit with empty nest BIG TIME! I went back to graduate school while working full time, I changed jobs, got into stained glass, digital photography, and ball-room dancing with my husband.  It just wouldn’t all fit in my schedule.  Now I’ve been away from rubber stamping for so long, I’ve lost most of my contacts. But I’m not sure what else I could have given up in order to make time for stamp art.  I made stained glass stepping stones and sold them to help raise money for the addition to our church building. I still enjoy photography and use the heck out of my camera.  Finishing my Masters was definitely worth it.  I learned so much, and I got a raise, which led to more retirement pay too.  Changing jobs. Yep that’s the thing I could have done without.  I left the gifted classroom and returned to teaching 5th grade in the regular classroom.  Way too much work involved.  Too many kids, too many different ability levels, too many behavior problems and far little support from administration.
The window on the left was done with plain alcohol and and eye dropper. On the right, the window was done with warm gray Tria ink.
These two aren't finished yet,  just wanted you to see the window effect.  Isn't it pretty?