We’re resuming our profiles posts for the year! This week’s profile features Alex Paredes of Rubber Ducky Stamp Co. Alex is a graduate of the UP College of Fine Arts, and is amazing at hand-carved rubber stamps. She does them the classic way, carving on rubber sole (great for very detailed stamps), then mounts them on wooden blocks. She’ll be giving a workshop on her craft this month! Her original afternoon session’s filling up, so we’ve requested Alex to open a morning session, and she said yes! To join her class, just fill out the sign up sheet here.
How long have you been crafting? What got you started?
I first learned rubbercut printing in college. It was just one project in freshman year, but I found I really liked it. The high-contrast graphic style was captivating.
Then school and life took over. I didn’t return to carving until after graduation, in 2011, when Dang Sering inspired me with her eraser stamps. This time, I pursued it.
Note: That year, I bought a bunch of round Spongebob erasers at P9.00 each and used them to mark our Christmas gifts with “CUSTOMS APPROVED” notices. (Nobody seemed to notice. Aside from the weird humor, they were very badly made.)
What’s your favorite medium? Why?
Pencil on paper. It’s convenient and portable and it’s where everything starts. 😀
Tell us about your favorite projects.
Birds are a general favorite. I also like the designs that were detailed and challenging to make but turned out all right.
What’s the one crafting skill you’ve always wanted to master/learn?
Embroidery. My sewing acquired a personal style too early—it’s called the chicken scratch and it gives everything a Frankenstein sort of look—and it’s been difficult to change it.
What are you currently working on?
A collection of new stamps.
What’s your dream project? What have you done to make it happen so far?
I like this question because it puts the right pressure, haha! A print exhibit with friends would be awesome. I must talk to them about this.
Aside from crafting what else do you do?
I work as a freelance graphic designer. I like to go places and meet with friends. I take in stories, often in book form. I sing when no one else is around.
How does creativity influence the other areas in your life?
It’s a philosophy: to make something that wasn’t there before is not only enriching, but essential.
It leads me to see things differently, to sense potential, and to play.
Any advice for other aspiring crafters?
Hold on to your idea. (Yes, the one you had in the shower.)
Suspend judgment. (It’s not stupid; it’s worth doing.)
Begin. (Pick up your pen, your tool, whatever it is you’ll use, and go!)
What do you to beat a ‘creative block’?
Have fun with friends! Good vibes = creative energy. Also, surf on Tumblr—it’s a vast ocean of visual language that you can either fish inspiration from or get drowned in. I prefer the former so I try to look at interesting, curated stuff in small doses.
Okay, well, whatever shows up on my dashboard. That can be good too.
Give us 3 crafting essentials you must have in your toolbox at all times.
Pencil, v-gouge, ink pad.
Why should people get their hands busy (and start crafting)?
Because it’s fun and messy and you’ve never done it before, but you’d like to try it, not because you think you’d be incredible at it, but because it seems fun and messy and new. And it is.
Besides that, because it’s something you want to make for someone. Or because it’s something you want to make for yourself. Because whatever it looks like, whatever it is, it’s something you made.
Where can we find your work?