When Emily came home from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) summer program that she attended after her sophomore year of high school, one of the projects she was most excited to show us was her “stamp box.” She had made a box out of rolled-slab clay, and painted it with bright colors in a geometric design. Inside the box was a block of pink solid foam, and a double-ziplock-bagged set of stamps that she had carved out of clay and then bisque-fired and painted.
She never got around to making indentations in the pink foam block and putting the stamps into the foam to display them. We only realized the extent of this project in 2015 after the first Honoring Emily with Art event, when Lisa emptied the ziplock bags and laid the stamps out and saw that there was a complete set of the alphabet, both upper and lower case, as well as the numbers 0 through 9, and 16 punctuation marks--a total of 78 stamps.
This year, we are finishing what Emily started: we made the indentations into the pink foam block to display the stamps. They all fit perfectly, which is no accident. Emily planned the size of the box to fit the stamps. We found her drawings of plans for the box showing measurements, sketches of the stamps, and a practice version of the “font” she was going to use for the letters (which she had to carve into the clay, backwards).
We made copies of her practice font from the page in her journal and had them made into rubber stamps, here for you to use on paper.
Steve Ferrera, wonderful art teacher at Palo Alto High School, was kind enough to devote his talent and time to creating three replica sets of Emily’s clay stamps by making a silicone mold of each one. We will be painting two of the sets with the same color pattern that Emily painted on the originals--she used a unique pattern for uppercase case and lowercase letters, and numbers, and punctuation marks. We will use the third set to stamp words into clay and make small containers, like Emily did. You can see the containers she made, as well as her stamp box and journal, in the display case.