Way back around 1996 a friend sent me a copy of Rubberstampmadness Magazine with a note saying “You should do this.” I didn’t know anything about rubber stamps but I looked through that issue and thought to myself that my drawings would lend themselves to rubber stamps. I have a clean line art style of illustration and a love for drawing quirky animals and silly puns. So I did a little research and set up a shoestring business on my kitchen table with a tiny catalog and 80 images.
The brief resume of what led up to the beginning of Claudia Rose is that I have always been a tiny business entrepreneur. When I was in high school I made postcards with cat drawings on them and hand-drawn cards with long-legged birds to sell at street fairs. I made jewelry to sell to students when I was in college. At that time I was in a BFA program for printmaking. (I think of stamps as little printing presses.) I went on to work as a graphic designer in NYC, first in editorial magazine design and then designing promotional material for small businesses and downtown theater. When I moved to the country I continued to do graphic design for some of the many small business in my town. Folks would come up to me in the cafe I went to each morning to talk about some new job that needed doing. I also had a small greeting card company with drawings I would hand-color. Everything came together in the stamp business. The printmaking, the card making, the graphic design, the illustration – all cylinders were firing! So I set up a studio and a website and learned it all as I went along. The world got huge and intimate, both. I treasure that. I named the business after myself and jumped in with no idea of what a ride I was in for. There were folks that loved my tiny stamps right out of the gate but a lot of people didn’t know what to do with them.
At the time a lot of stamps were vintage engraving drawings and realistic or fantasy imagery. Plus, they were a lot bigger than what I was offering. My tiny images didn’t fit with the scale of other stamps. I made stamps outside of the box because I was outside of the box. It was all new to me and I was just following my own nose. It didn’t take too long before I attracted a wonderful following and people started to collect my works. Then other stamp companies started to make small images, too, and this new niche became more and more popular. People now had libraries of stamps in this smaller scale and wonderful, quirky pieces showed up in my mailbox constantly much to my delight. And I got a glimpse of the generous, communicative, sharing community of Rubber Stampers.