I wrote about the MNJP2K's ten-year reunion last week. During that reunion our original year 2000 journals were brought out of the archives of the Minnesota Historical Society so that we could look at them again. It reminded me that I can't warn people too much about the problems I had with "Ranger Archival Stamp Ink."
As you can see from the above image letters stamped on one page bled through to the next. This is a heavy weight paper. Other inks didn't respond this way when I tested them later in the year—which I was able to do because I knew before the year was out that the bleeding was happening. It happens that quickly.
I originally used Ranger Archival Stamp Ink because I was looking for a stamp ink that I could wash over with watercolor washes (I like to hand color some of my eraser carvings). In 2000 there weren't a lot of choices.
I remember also at the time that the paper store I purchased the ink from couldn't get an answer from the company. I even supplied them with samples that had evidence of this bleeding which is simply the result of stamping and leaving the stamping alone—it bled on its own! Because I didn't get any feedback or explanation from the company I immediately spread the word to my students and friends.
In the intervening years the company may have changed their product. But they were so unresponsive I would be sure to test their inks with something unimportant first.
Above: another example of the Ranger Archival ink from my MNJP2K journal. It's more difficult to tell from this image that there is bleed through or migration of the ink through the paper, but the reverse side is totally readable because of it. Here, however, if you look closely you can see how all the edges of the letters are fuzzy. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I think the bleed through separation of the inks started to be visible in three to six months. It is clear that the ink is separating. The image also becomes very blurry as ink spreads not only out but down through the paper.
Several of my 2000 journals (again all with thick art papers that take other inks with no problem) all show how images stamped on one page simply migrated over time through the paper.
In my own journals I view it more as a learning experience, but I do wish I'd known before I'd used this ink in my MNJP2K journal which is now in the MNHS archives.
Upon occasion I still use rubberstamps in my journals to stamp out headings, or for other decorative effects. I use Brilliance Stamp Ink for most of my stamping. Brilliance Graphite Black stamp ink is a black, black ink which I find dries to such a high level of water resistance that I count it as waterproof. I routinely, since 2000 (and the problem with Ranger inks was discovered) have stamped my eraser prints using Brillance Graphite Black stamp ink and there have been no problems—no ink separation, no bleeding, no migration, no blurring. Ten years out the prints made with Brilliance Graphite Black stamp ink remain as crisp as the day I stamped them.
I also enjoy using Brilliance's pearlescent colors to smear on for backgrounds, either with a pad or by using the reinkers (I put a bit of ink on a paper towel and smear).
I have trouble locating these inks locally. I have purchased both the pads and reinkers from Marco Paper if you can't find a suitable vendor. (I'm just a happy customer of Marco Paper; long after I stopped being heavily involved in mail art a friend suggested we go to a rubberstamp convention and check things out and I found Marco Paper through that happy accident.)
Recently I have been playing with stencils and rubberstamp ink. In an effort to broaden my color palette of stamp inks I've made escorted trips to Michaels' and such stores (I have to be accompanied or I might pass out from the overwhelming distractions!).
While I love the richness of the Colorbox colors their ink has too floral a smell for me. I literally have to air a page out in the back room, windows open in winter, for 10 days, before I can get near a journal in which I use those inks. Obviously since I use my journal multiple times on any given day that isn't a product for me. (If smells don't bother you Colorbox is a great choice.)
Instead I have continued to use Brilliance, and I have also found that VersaMagic from Tsukineko meets all my needs. VersaMagic does have a bit of a chemical/floral smell, but I find that if I work with the ink and leave the journal open a room away, to dry while I do something else, I can return to the journal in an hour. That's pretty much my normal work mode when working on backgrounds so it's straightforward to include VersaMagic into my workflow. My finch from masking tape uses VersaMagic's Eggplant as a background color. I bought one of those little petal pads that are easy to rub around on the page, and through stencils for that matter. (Note: this page has since evolved with more color added and I will be doing a post on it at a later date, but here you can see the eggplant ink clearly, with some Pearl-Ex red-gold smeared about—see the next paragraph.)
If you can find them (the shop locally that carried them no longer does) I also recommend the Pearl Ex Stamp pad reinkers. The pads were pretty frustrating, seeming to dry out immediately, but the reinkers are marvelous with two-toned colors that split into blue and gold, or red and gold in the most amazing ways (the split is intentional and not in any way a seeping, bleeding, or migrating of ink!). Their Copper and their Red-Gold are my favorites. Once they dry I have had no difficulty in painting over them. (They dry very quickly!) Without doing a lot of searching for images I've posted using the Pearl Ex inks I can immediately send you to this image of geese, with a Pearl-Ex stamp ink Red-gold background. You'll get the idea.