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First 12th/13th century inspired block printing stamp finished! – Romanesque teardrop stamp .1

2017-12-07 - 12th century stamp - 13th century stamp - block printing - medieval patterns - SCA - medieval printing - romanesque teardrop stamp…and so it finally begins – a new stamp for my next medieval inspired block printing project is cut and mounted! Romanesque teardrop stamp for the win!

And I already can’t wait to cut the next stamp as the 12th/13th century pattern which I want to reproduce and play with is calling for a set of at least two stamps. And not only that, I also have my eye already set on a third pattern which is quite similar in its outer appearance. I bet that this third medieval pattern would look lovely when added to this growing repertoire of what I started to call “romanesque teardrop stamps”. Yes, one can definitely say for sure that I’ve fallen in love with block printing. And this craft is so amazing and inspiring – I already found several inspiring medieval print patterns with which I would love to play. Yes, the possibilities of this craft appear to be endless. 🙂

It feels like a whole new world opened up to me which will allow me to take my game and garb one step further. And I can say for sure that this is just the beginning – especially when it comes to block printing stamps of bigger size. Many more stamps are soon to come as my husband already made sure that I have more than plenty block printing ink in many different colors as well as several linoleum pads for the upcoming projects.I can’ t tell you how tremendously excited I am about a far more decorated and hopefully also much more colorful future… Omg… So many possibilities concerning garb and wallhangings and and and…. I will print them all – or, well, let’s say – I’ll print most of it. And then just imagine all the lovely embroidery I can embellish it with… OMG! Pearls… beads… gold threads… just to mention a few exciting possibilities… 😉 *lol*

This amazing and positive rush due to the sudden flow of inspiration accompanied by a wave of enthusiasm is stunningly breathtaking in a good way. Especially as moments like these are – believe it or not – kinda rare for me. Well, let me rephrase that – they just don’t happen often enough for my taste… It certainly keeps me thinking, planning and on my toes. Unfortunately a normal day has just not enough hours to do all the things I’d love to as my mind keeps on coming up with project ideas and throwing them on me. Yes, spare time is limited, therefore I try to chose my next steps wisely. I know, that might sound odd but my creative chaos – especially paired with such an overflow of inspiration – can be overwhelming at times; even for me. But it is a good feeling to be floated with inspiration again as I was feeling a little bit down and out of power recently. I think I really needed this new spark which re-ignited my creative flame. And my brain is quite “rotating” as it wants to stamp ALL the fabrics and to make new garments for my husband and I. It might sound odd but before my inner eye I can already envision these cloths – somehow clouded though but clear enough to be restless until I get them out of my imagination and make them become reality.

Please forgive my overwhelming enthusiasm but I am thrilled and ready to get started. Apropos getting started – in my last posting “…a new 12th century project in the making…“, I already wrote about the idea leading up to this new project. And I am very excited to be able to show you the very first stamp resulting from this initial idea – enjoy! 😀

2017-12-07 - 12th century stamp - 13th century stamp - block printing - medieval patterns - SCA - medieval printing - romanesque teardrop stamp

As I alredy mentioned above, this is just the very first stamp of a set of two which are needed in order to recreate the medieval pattern from the 12th/13th century which you can see on the picture underneath. Untouched by anything but the sharpie for the outlines and the cutting tools this stamp is still rather new and innocent. But, well, you know, that won’t last for long… 😉

2017-11_Racaire_block-printing-pattern_01 - romanesque teardrop stamp

…and now I just need to cut the next stamp as soon as possible.

Btw. as the book *Deutsche Textilkunst* by Renate Jaques, in which I found a photo of this medieval print, doesn’t give any information about its size, I simply chose a size I was comfortable with and which I thought would work well with the pattern. Btw. you can read more about this book here: “…a new 12th century project in the making…“.

Actually I made the size finding process very easy for myself. Knowing how big I wanted the finished stamp to be and that I wanted to get at least two stamps out of the big linoleum block I had, I simply cut a page of paper which had nearly the same size as the linoleum block I am working with in half. This way I made certain that I could get two stamps quite comfortably out of my block.


By using just one half of the paper which I just cut in two, folded again in half, I was able to generate a teardrop shape with exactly mirrored sides. As you can see at the picture above, I used one of the bowls from my kitchen to generate the bottom circle of my teardrop.


After cutting out the romanesque teardrop stamp shape I was able to trace the outlines of the teardrop shape with a simple sharpie (marker) on to my linoleum without any problems. And then I traced the shape a second time on the other side of the linoleum so I could start working at the second stamp as soon as my first one was finished. 🙂


After the border of the basic shape was established I could continue with the next step – the outlines of the inner pattern which would show me what I had to take away and what I needed to leave standing in order to generate the desired block printing pattern.

As you can see on the following photos I had to start over with what the book referred to as “crippled Arabic”. I made the mistake to just copy the outlines without mirroring them:


Yeah, this mistake can happen so easily that it is hard to avoid. Though – when you think about it – it could be argued that the word doesn’t make much sense nowadays anyway. The meaning can’t be deciphered – according to one of my Arabic friends who already helped me with the Arabic words for Gloria’s OvO pouch project – and therefore it’s not really important if it’s mirrored or not… But well, I would know it and would have to look at my mistake. It would remind me again and again that I failed here and who really wants something like that. I would rather start again in order to accomplish a successful project so I am able to enjoy it rather than risking being reminded that I made a mistake and decided to cut a corner. That’s seriously not me and was reason enough for me to redo this part. *lol*

And here two pictures of the finished stamp taken from two different angles to give you a better idea of the linoleum cut outs for the stamp:



Btw. as you can see at the pictures above, I decided to remove the linoleum along the outer border. I started removing the excess linoleum at the edge after I made the first prints with my first big stamp – the big cross shaped stamp. That was when I discovered that all the extra linoleum and wood can cause a dirty looking print if one isn’t very careful while putting the paint on the stamp as the higher points of the cut can still catch some paint and transfer it to the fabric during the block printing. This can happen quite easily if you are in the process of block printing a long piece of fabric for a project like the fighting tabard for my husband which you can see on the photo on the right side.

For a quick fix of this problem before the next block printing project I simply removed most of the linoleum along the outer border of the cross. This way I only had to take care of keeping the wood part clear of paint to which the linoleum cut is attached. But back to my current stamp project. This time I asked my husband to cut the wooden part for my stamp in a teardrop shape which is just slightly bigger than the linoleum stamp I cut. I hope that this adjustment to the shape of the stamp will allow me a much easier placement of the stamp as well as less unwanted accidental color transfer along the wood border. Well, we will see soon enough. 🙂

And here a picture of my stamp being glued to the wooden stamp board my husband made for me. I used several clamps and another wooden board at the other side in order to assure an even surface for the block printing:


And I have some new things and methods to play with too. Following the hints of some fellow block printers of the “Printed Textiles in the Middle Ages” facebook group, I got me a quite cheap, more or less padded plastic table cloth and a rubber mallet. I couldn’t find an actual padded plastic table cloth at Walmart but I decided to get what felt most similar to it – a rather thick and soft plastic table cloth with a quite smooth surface. This should help to prevent a paint/ink transfer through the fabric to the table underneath and furthermore allow for a better paint/ink transfer from the stamp to the fabric because of the give of the slight padding/cushion. To be honest I don’t really care about our dinner table but I can’t wait to see what difference it can make to the block printing result on the fabric. This also counts for the rubber mallet as several of my block printers suggested that a good tap with it will also help concerning the ink/paint transfer.

And last but not least, as I already mentioned at the beginning of my posting, my dear sweetheart got me several new block printing inks from Speedball for my birthday. I am very excited as I now also have some gold and silver blockprinting ink to play with. Though this might not seem very selfless as he will for sure profit from my new hobby, he had to put far more work into purchasing the right inks for me than he initially expected. My poor husband had to read through several product descriptions to make sure that the ink will set permanently and does not wash out later. I am quite sure he knows now more about block printing ink from speedball than I do… 😉

And before you ask what my favorite weapon of choice is when I glue my linoleum cuts to the wood stamp part – it’s E6000. After two days you can even put broken ceramic which was glued together with this glue into the dishwasher and it will survive it… I am truly impressed by this fact as it already saved some of my favorite ceramic everyday cooking items… *lol*   

Ok, I think that’s enough about my new, medieval inspired block printing project for now. I hope that I will be able to show you my second romanesque teardrop stamp as well as my first printing results with those two medieval inspired stamps soon… 😀

Best regards RacaireRead more about this project: