Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Today was a very good day for my new hobby, letterboxing, and a very bad day for my other projects. Letterboxing is when you take a personal stamp (one you've carved or one you love) and a journal and go out in the world with a clue to the location of a box with a journal and a stamp in it, and when you find it you stamp each journal with the other's stamp. The clue is usually very concrete, like a suggestion to go to a particular intersection and look under a bench. At work I described letterboxing to my coworker and she got really excited and she found a clue online for a nearby letterbox. We went straight to it-- without even getting stamps and journals-- after work and it was really neat.

Then I went home and started working on a letterbox of my own to plant on campus. I carved a pretty good stamp for it. Then I made a simple logbook- only one signature of pages. Every step took double long because I was filming in case I want to make a video about letterbox installation, which I do.

When I was mostly done with the letterbox, I carved another stamp. This is my stamp, the stamp that I stamp into logbooks of letterboxes that I visit.

It is a giraffe.
An olden times dutch painter I like, Hieronymus Bosch, has a great painting of a giraffe that doesn't look at all like a real giraffe (he'd never seen one) but all the essential giraffe parts are represented. Also he is a terrific painter. On the right is a sketch I did from his painting, which I then sketched onto a carving block and carved. I took a picture of both together because I was impressed at my consistency. The size is even similar, and the differences are mainly things I changed deliberately. So I guess my hands are getting really well trained.

When I was done cleaning up my stamp I made a little hardbound notebook. In the past I have been drawn to graceful, spare simplicity in bookbinding. It's satisfying because everything lines up just right and the knots are perfect and the weaving of ends is clever. But, you have to do a really perfect job so it takes a long time. To make my new letterboxing journal I smeared a lot of glue over everything and used card tabs to reinforce the binding and when my first set of endpapers got stuck I glued more endpapers over them. It's drying under some bricks right now and when it's ready I will go out into the world with it. Making all this took my entire evening but I am satisfied.

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