Monday, October 25, 2010

Make-it Mondays: Studio #3 Jackbear Stamps

Here again is another sneak peek into the creative world of street team members. This week's studio visit and interview is with John Ballou, writer of our Friday Jack's Pick blog, stamp maker extraordinaire and the caretaker of our Facebook fan page and Ning site. (If you missed the first 2 studio visits, check them out here and here. Enjoy!

: Where do you work/where is your studio?

: My “craft room” is in the basement of my house. I live in the city limits of Rochester in a home built in the late 1930’s. Luckily half of the basement was finished when we purchased it, and has carpeting, drywall, and drop ceiling. It stays cool in the summer, and there is electric baseboard heat I can control in the basement in the winter. It's mostly furnished from old household cabinets, desks, chairs, and other organizer cast offs from other parts of the home. It’s not fancy, but it serves its purpose.

: What is your medium or product?

J: I hand carve rubber stamps. I carve them from a vinyl type rubber.

B: What is the biggest challenge about your space and how have you worked through it?

J: I think being a little cold until the heat gets up to temperature is challenging in the winter. It’s fairly quiet down there most of the time though, so distractions are minimal. Probably just keeping it tidy is my hardest job. I’m not the best at putting away items right away. I obviously cleaned it before these pictures were taken! The light is dim also, but a desk lamp helps that.

B: Describe a typical day at the studio?

J: Well, no day is really typical since this isn’t my full time profession. Mostly I work evenings and weekends in the “studio.” I usually sit down and transfer work onto the carving medium, and I try to do a lot of that all at once since it is kind of smelly, and applications take a few minutes to dry, so it is easier to do a bunch all at once. Then I let that dry overnight. Then I carve, and again I try to get a few done in one sitting. Then I have to do test prints, then packaging. If I’m making something else, like ATCs/ACEOs, then I try to clear out some room to lay prints out to dry. My cat usually interrupts at various points in the process.

B: What do you love the most about being a crafter/artist/etsy seller?

J:CREATIVITY! I can take nothing, and make it something. Isn’t that what we all love? Then, if you can take that creation, and get someone else to like it enough to buy it off you… well that is icing on the cake! When I carve a stamp, I am looking at it all backwards when I’m carving. When I ink up a stamp, turn it over, and press it on paper, that moment when you reveal this image that you created, it is like magic every time.

Thank you for sharing your space with us John!! Visit his blog and Etsy store below:

Jackbear Stamps -


  1. The font and font color kept changing and wouldn't edit right. Sorry if anyone saw this reposted a ton of different ways.

  2. Great space, John! I was going to say that I was impressed with how neat and organized it is until I read your note that you cleaned before the pics! Me too, but you always stuck me as a tidy one!

    Great feature, Carol!

  3. I like tidy, but I fall short of the mark most times. Thanks for the feature!