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What is Hand Stamping?
I am often asked "what is hand stamping?" or how I do what I do. Hand stamping is a metalwork technique called "chasing". The techniques of chasing and repouseé (the opposite of chasing) date from antiquity, like 3000 BC. Hand stamping is really done by hand -- hammer and steel die. The chasing die (or stamping die) have designs, textures, and letters formed on the end to be used alone or used together in pleasing combinations -- like names and words. Each letter is individually stamped into the metal with a steel die, a hammer, and my own hand/eye coordination. There will always be variation in the alignment of characters and a "smudge" on the back of the piece where the metal was displaced from the front. All this is part of the unique charm of hand stamped jewelry.
Take a peek at my studio bench:
1. I punch out the shape I want with my tools from a sheet of metal. I will also use pre-cut blanks.
2. I choose the stamps I want to use for the design. (You'll notice they are all in reverse.)
3. I carefully place the stamp on the blank and whack it with a hammer.
4. I pick another stamp, carefully place it, and whack it with a hammer.
6. Yep. I do it again.
7. I repeat this process over and over, with each letter, until I am finished.
NOTE: If the steel die bounces or I make a mistake in stamping, there's no fixing it. It's a full do-over. Scrap it and start over. But I do recycle all my metals.
8. I begin the finishing of the piece by grinding the edges of the blank.
9. I shape the heart with a dapping block (and a hammer).
After finishing and polishing, a beautiful, personalized, hand stamped necklace is ready to be treasured.
Looks fun, doesn't it? I love it! I adore making things myself, and if you want to try it, the tools for hand stamping are so much easier to find than they used to be. Enjoy!
However, if you like one of my designs, please don't copy -- show me how much you like something by purchasing from me. My designs represent thousands of hours of hard work, practice, patience, and inspiration. Just alone in the above photos that I've shared with you show thousands of dollars worth of tools to create one pendant. I thank you in advance for your support. I am blessed by my customers to be able to do this work.