I began making rubber stamps in the late 1980's as a part of my early animated filmmaking; it just made sense to stamp some of the imagery instead of drawing it every time. That's how I was introduced to stamping, and it blossomed into a hobby of it's own, separate from animation. Things got a bit out of control when I began selling some stamps on the side to help pay for my habit. In order to increase sales, I figured a little catalog would do it, and the rest is history. I sold stamps by mail order, advertising in Rubberstampmadness, for about three years before doing my first rubber stamp convention, the San Rafael Rubberama.
By the late 1990's I was entrenched in the stamp show routine, traveling from coast to coast and to the Stempel Mekka in Germany. The internet by that time had started up so I learned HTML, and eventually CSS, and now I don't even go to shows anymore.
2008 was the year I stopped doing shows, and the real reason was that I was starting to get back to my original love of animation. It's a very demanding activity, but I am now trying to balance the making of films with the design and manufacture of my growing rubber stamp collection.
Old Purple Thumb Works
After many years of rented studios, Meer Image is now set up in it's own building on the peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and Humboldt Bay, halfway between the towns of Arcata and Eureka, California. Built in 1966 as a church, it became the Humboldt Pulpworks building in 1977. With the decline of that industry, the building came up for sale in 2011. It took a year's worth of renovations, and now includes a big rubber stamp production area, an office corner, a design & animation nook, a woodshop and an apartment. The apartment will be used as a guest house for when we have visiting family members or friends; we live just a stone's throw away.
I open the studio to the public during North Coast Open Studios, a Humboldt County-wide event that happens annually in June.
So why the name "Old Purple Thumb Works"?
I love anagrams, and it's the only good one I came up with for "Humboldt Pulpworkers". I began calling that as a joke, but the name stuck.