Divide the circumference into 6 using the arc method (see below left) then, by eye, mark again so that you have 12 marks on the circle.

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1 Put Your Own Stamp On It Easy-peasy Stamps for Great Results Angie Hughes I really love to use hand printing in my work. So many beautifully designed printing blocks are available on the market now. I am still a sucker for Indian wood blocks but I also like to design and make my own from simple easy to use materials. Materials A pair of compasses Sticky back funky foam A piece of Mountboard or card PVA glue Pair of scissors A cork or something to make a handle Ruler, pencil and felt tip Acrylics, sponge and a plate Draw a circle with your compasses, radius 4 cm (1½ in approx). Divide the circumference into 6 using the arc method (see below left) then, by eye, mark again so that you have 12 marks on the circle. Draw straight lines via the centre of the circle so that you have 12 segments. Draw a smaller circle in the centre 2 cm (¾ in approx) radius.

2 Use a black felt tip to draw a flower shape using the pencil lines as a guide (this is rough design no need for perfection). Cut out the flower shape. Snipping between the segments. You could use a craft knife to get to the tricky bits. Now you are ready to make a block. Peel away the self-adhesive backing (if you can t get self-adhesive you can stick the foam on with PVA). Angie Hughes workshop December

3 Apply the flower shape to a piece of card or Mountboard pressing all over firmly, then trim the card very close to the edge. You can accidentally get printing ink on the card thence on your fabric and get an unsightly line when you print it, so trim up well to the edge. I ve really trimmed up close; you ll observe this on all commercially made blocks. Apply some PVA to the back of the block print. Squash the cork onto the PVA and leave overnight to dry print see pics above, with finished results shown below left. You can use the corks alone as printing blocks below right. These are all champagne corks, which are easier to whittle although, since the invention of funky foam, this seems an unnecessarily arduous task. Angie Hughes workshop December

4 My friend Caroline Owen-Thomas is a calligrapher who loves to doodle. She makes her own printing blocks from cheap erasers you can get from the pound shop (below left). These are tiny. Below right are just a few of the blocks I make to use in my work. One of my favourite colours is fluorescent pink (below left) and here I m using a sponge to apply the acrylic colour to the block. You can use any of your usual fabric paints or mix in a textile medium to your regular acrylics anything goes really. I ve thumb ironed creased lines onto this fabric to help keep my prints in line pretty zingy eh? I ve also gone over the top with a yellow circle; very Austin Powers! Overprinting with two stamps gives you lots of options. Angie Hughes workshop December

5 A few years ago, I used to teach a workshop called textural bookwraps. The base printing surface for the piece above is made the same way as the bookwrap workshop. To make this piece I cut lots of neutral coloured fabrics, such as scrim lace and calico into strips, and then wove them to make a base fabric. This was then overprinted with my flower blocks using acrylic paint (below left). I ve had lots of fun with machine embroidery and hand stitching, you can also see that I ve used a few commercial blocks on here too, mixing things up makes for a unique surface. I covered the whole thing with a pink polyester organza before stitch. Here s a useful trick. To keep a design relationship in your work, you can use the printing blocks to print on the back, to follow with machine embroidery; it gives a skeletal effect (see above right). Angie Hughes workshop December

6 The piece seen below and right is a work in progress but I identified a problem here that my poor birds were flying upside down in places. This led to the making of bird blocks in a range of sizes so that they can fly any which way I want. They can also be smaller or larger to give a sense of distance. You might consider this trick for a personal motif that you wish to use in a piece of your own work. You can see the result below right in a piece, called Chorus. All the birds in the background are my own stamps. This was worked on velvet. I removed the colour using bleach as a discharge (very small amount of bleach was used here not even a 50p piece puddle). I ve mixed my own stamps with commercial ones. Some stamps are more difficult to make dots and spots for example (or flies and fleas as I call them). They add to the range of options when mixed with your own stamps. Angie Hughes workshop December

7 Umbelliferae shapes are very popular these days, cow parsley, alliums, daises anything with an umbrella-like shape are fun to do. The piece on the right is another work in progress. It is worked on velvet which I ve printed using a metallic acrylic before covering with a black organza. The work was then stitched. A detail is shown below. At the bottom of the page, you can see further work using this shape for a stamp note the bird. Angie Hughes workshop December

8 The piece on the right is called Straight Backed Ladies. I ve used my homemade stamps here initially from the front. After building up the piece, I printed the stamps on the back, stitching around them as before. This method allows you to see where the gaps are and use the outlines to fill them. You can see the outlined shapes in the detail below also the useful commercial spotties! Whatever you do with them, if you make your own stamps, your work will always be original. Put your own stamp on it! Angie Hughes is an artist, tutor and writer living in rural Herefordshire, England. She teaches workshops to Guilds and groups nationally and internationally. She sells workshops online and has written Stitch Cloth Paper and Paint, published by Search Press. To find out more about Angie s work, you are invited to visit: angiestextilenotes.blogspot.co.uk/ Angie Hughes workshop December

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