Morris helps customers press out their creativity with new shop

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The amazing array of miniature designs is the first thing to catch your eye: tiny fish, fruits, flowers, fashions; a baby carriage, a sassy cat; antique cars, Japanese lanterns; jesters and jungle animals.

Color attracts you to Stamp It Studio, also, a 200-square-foot space in the 511 Main St. building that houses Brown Barnett Dixon’s and Different Accents, where Becky Morris has turned a favorite hobby into a business.

&uot;People would ask if I was nervous about opening the business,&uot; said Morris, also owner of Morris Gallery on Franklin Street with her husband, Jeff. &uot;Truly, opening the stamp shop was the most natural thing I’ve ever done. It’s an extension of what I like best to do.&uot;

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A retired accountant, Morris and her husband opened the fine art gallery earlier this year. The stamp shop opened on July 1. &uot;My background as an accountant comes in handy,&uot; she said. &uot;My hours for the stamp shop are 11 to 5, Monday through Saturday. I spend my mornings doing the accounting for the two businesses, and then I can come here and spend time thinking about cards and designs.&uot;

Just what is a stamp shop? What kinds of art do you create with rubber stamps? And what kind of artistic talent must you have to enjoy stamp art?

Morris became interested in stamps in about 1990 after attending a crafts fair and buying a few stamps. &uot;Back then, it was a very small craft. In the last five years, it has begun to catch on, and now there are many more designs,&uot; she said. &uot;At first, there were a lot of cutsey stamps and not a lot of sophisticated ones. That has changed.&uot;

Indeed, her selection of more than 200 different designer rubber stamps include art and lettering to appeal to many tastes and age groups.

&uot;I’ve chosen stamps from companies that are most popular today and to give the customers the most well-rounded selection.&uot;

Stamp art is more than inking the rubber stamp and pressing it on the front of an invitation or at the top of your stationery. &uot;The hobby is not for someone coming in and wanting to get invitations out right away,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s for someone who enjoys making by hand their own designs for invitations, thank-you cards and place cards, for instance.&uot;

Artistic talent is not a prerequisite for someone to enjoy successfully the art of using stamps, she said. &uot;You don’t have to be artistically inclined. You don’t have to know how to draw or paint; but you do have to like to put designs together.&uot;

The hobby seems to attract more women than men, she said. And the women usually are those who enjoy sewing, quilting or gardening &045; activities that require using the hands.

Morris has begun classes for those interested in learning more about the art. For now, she is teaching Thursdays, 6 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 to 11 a.m. Classes are $15, with a minimum number of three students and a maximum of 12. Anyone wanting to sign up may call her at (601) 442-7174 or see her at the shop during business hours.

&uot;I have taught classes before,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s very important to teach techniques. Otherwise, you could get stuck in the simplicity of it. Also, it’s important for people to learn from each other in class, to see what others are doing with the designs.&uot;

In addition to the stamps, Morris also has paper in card stock weight and in vellum, linen and glossy finishes, from earth tones to sunset tones. The selection also includes snazzy printed papers.

Inks include all colors and types a stamp artist might want, including inks specifically designed for embossing powders.

Morris is pleased with her inventory but looks forward to expanding. &uot;There’s a lot more to come. I want my new customers and also the ones who already are beginning to enjoy this to come in and see new stamps,&uot; she said. &uot;I want to keep their creativity satisfied.&uot;