Plaster, molds, and clay, oh my!

Making cookie stamps is kind of like a going out on a Friday evening. You have great plans for the night, a few friends a few drinks. As the night goes on somehow things get blurry, suddenly you're dancing in front of strangers, and have ingested far too much alcohol. Then you wake up the next morning hungry, grumpy, and muttering a solemn vow before gulping down tequila flavored water "I am never doing this again."    

It sounds strange to compare a work of art to a drunken night out, but this is how I feel every time I make a batch of stamps. The end product is just so wonderful. What could be better than a beautiful, detailed, stamp that you press into cookies right?...NO! stop. This is a very slippery slope. This how you end up thinking that it wouldn't be so bad to make some more. It's only until you have already spent two hours pressing plaster molds into clay, that you realize you still have to pull handles for each one. I of course will keep making them, not only because they have turned into one of my favorite creations, but I may also be slightly masochistic.  For some strange reason it brings me joy to make beautiful things even if it physically takes it toll on me. 

How does one start one of the most time consuming projects of all time? well for all you masochists out there, it begin with carving some clay!

This is followed with creating a plaster mold of that first detailed carving, this is the white blocks on the left in the image below. From there you press clay into the plaster mold, and you are left with what is in the middle after they have been bisque fired. From there I pressed them into some more clay, the clay on the right hand side is what the final product looks like. I made a final plaster mould so I could have it on hand, but you can always use the bisque mold in the center to create your imprints.

Once there is an imprint on the clay, all that's left is cutting out individual circles and pulling handles. Which is the part I find the most tedious, and most likely due to the fact that I don't have enough experience with handles.  I seem to get frustrated quickly, and for some reason always feel rushed to pull the handles quickly so nothing dries out.