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Alphabet Stamps – Japanese Version

I was in a bookstore the other day, and saw some alphabet picture erasers, which designs were similar to those I were using when I was a kid.

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It gave me an idea to create my own set of alphabet stamps, and “Wouldn’t it be more interesting if I make them a Japanese version instead of English version?”

So with the help of  e-dictionary, I got some inspirations of what to draw on each alphabet. That one new thing I had to consider, was whether the drawing will block too much of the letter, as I needed each letter to be shown clearly.  Also, there are letters like “Q”, “X”  and “V” which do not have a Japanese word to match with. So I simply used some English words which Japanese people often use (by pronouncing the sound of them) instead.

They are now all carved and ready for the handle-gluing process. I hope to display and sell them in coming’s handicraft fair in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong on 20-21 August, 2016.

Just in case, please do not use them as erasers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good Morning Class!

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These stamps are custom made name stamps from a teacher who plans to use them as a gift to each of her student. Viewing the pictures of each student and drawing their smiley faces were so much joy. Sometimes I wish I could see how they react when they open this gift of love from their beloved teacher. ” You are unique and you are important to me.” The message behind the gift is so so powerful.

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I love ex-libris!

kokeshi exlibris

I just created my first ex-libris. Of course, once again, the design is about kokeshi. I chose my wood carving knife mostly to make this stamp, in order to create a more natural, raw feeling to it. Do you like my ex-libris? =)

 

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Stone Stamps

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Long before rubber was invented to make stamps, in the ancient times, Chinese people mainly used stone to create their stamps. In the beginning, stone stamps were functional—–they were created to represent their signature, to stamp on something that they own, or on some kind of written agreement which they had approved. These signature stamps were theoritically unique with authority.

I love the texture of stone stamps. Something rubber/eraser stamps cannot replace. The more I learn about stone stamps, the more I like them. First of all, you have to learn to choose a good stone. That’s already a course itself, I would say. My first stone stamp teacher was a retired Japanese gentleman. We had a chance to visit one of the most popular stationery shops in Tokyo for stone stamps, and my first mission was to choose several good stones out of a box of hundreds of them. That’s something I would not do when choosing eraser boards, as the boards itself are all standard under each brand. Skillful stone stamp carvers always pick the best stones at first sight. The more experienced you are, the better you could pick good stones.

Today I went to China to pick some stones for stamps. What my teacher told me was true: stone, just like other natural resources, are running out quickly. Good stones are scarce and are not easy to be found. And yes, once again, there are things money cannot buy. There are expensive stamps in many shops, but you can still find cracks here and there, and the shop assistant would not admit till you show them. It’s very much up to you to find your good stamps, and it’s more like a treasure hunt.

Perhaps that’s the fun part in stone stamps.

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Before It Is Gone

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One of the ways to appreciate your hometown, I think, is to leave the place for a long while and back later. You will discover there are at least some little changes, very tiny perhaps, but worthwhile to be noticed. At the same time you realise life goes on, with or without you actually, and these changes may eventually become dots of a line, lines of a sketch that one day the whole picture has been changed. Little by little, second after second.

I have been having this concept in mind ever since I have stepped foot on my hometown, Hong Kong. I haven’t been living in this fascinating island for over 3 years, and therefore I won’t blame myself for being curious (overly in many ways) at the faces of people, the smell of the streets, the ever-rotating shops and the growing population of my city. I try not to add any seasoning of judgement to it. Just open my mind and feel the moment. (but still careful enough not to inhale the combustion on the road too much…)

I live in an aged town where the old airport is located. Before 1998, I used to see airplanes flew above my head just like gigantic black birds. I was used to those inevitable roaming sounds, and since small we learned not to speak whenever they flew by, as we wouldn’t be able to hear anything anyway. It was a unbelievably dangerous scene to the eyes of many tourists, but Hong Kong people didn’t feel a thing. It was once a part of our lives.

And we did not notice by then.

Till years after the noise has gone, and became a corner of our memories. I have been collecting bits of memories, here and there, and those fragments are so full sometimes that I believe they can become a picture or two.

This big eraser stamp design was a result of my observation to an old residential building covered with scaffold. I never saw scaffolding project in Japan or the States, but there are plenty in Hong Kong. So much skill involved, yet so unnoticed. Before this scene is gone, I want to keep it in my stamp design.

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Let Go and Be Freed

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I love to listen to parables of Buddhism. Many of these stories have a common message behind, which is the concept of letting go.

To let go of your wants, your greed, your expectations on things and people etc. and you will be freed.

Easier said than done.

To possess something is easy; to lose it is usually not. Especially when you once (or believe you have) own something you like, letting go of it can be very painful.

The waves of high expectations and disappointments, the come-and-go of things and people, the drifting among countries and jobs etc., are good lessons for me. My weakness is to let go of things that no longer belong to me. I hold some of them so tightly that my heart has no room for other things, till I find that those things I hold on to start to rotten as I squeeze them too tightly.

This is a stamp I created as a gift to myself. The Chinese characters on top of the lotus says “let go and be freed.”

I carve out the characters today with ease. Yet I know, one day I will put these words in life.