Here's a quick translation done by the lovely Ms. Miyyah. Thanks so much Miyyah!
CONSTRUCTING CREATIVITY THROUGH ERASERS
Erasers have been really synonym to each and every one of us. We use erasers when we were in school, we use them at work, and we practically use them everyday in our daily encounters.
Melannie Khairunnisa Maisarah Mujip, 27, viewed erasers more than ordinary school stationery. With her creative background, the lady who's widely known as Maisarah sees erasers as a source of a lucrative hobby.
"I started my rubber-carving hobby back in February 2008, when I stumbled upon a rubber-carving tutorial on the Internet, published by Gennine Tzilatkis, a freelance illlustrator in Mexico and the owner of Gennine's Art Blog."
"Back then I've never heard of rubber-carving as a hobby. Even though she used linoleum block in her tutorial, I was really excited when I found out that I can use ordinary eraser for the same purpose.
"The beautiful lady who lives in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah said that she got her sources of inspirations from internet, craft books and from her daily observations.Maisarah also took the initiative to do research on online blog business and oncustomer needs and expectations, in ensuring full satisfactions for her customers.
"Coincidentally, I'm very observative. I believe that if we can channel our creativity the right way, everything around us could be seen as great inspirations."Sometimes when a customer made her/his order, I would start sketching ideas on my mind- even up to few days. Ideas would come anywhere, and at anytime - while driving, watching movies etc. That's why I would always bring pen and papers wherever I go, so when the idea strikes, I could sketch the design immediately," says the fourth child of eleven siblings.
Maisarah is also blessed with a very supportive husband and was her best source for great , original ideas. Her husband has never failed to give great suggestions in order for her to produce original and unique designs for every one of her customers.
"I usually create the designs on my own, except logos that are pre-designed by the customers themselves. I'm a perfectionist so I always tried to carve the stamps as close to the original design ordered by the customers. Sometimes, I even spend more than the allocated hours to carve but didn't even charge the customers on the extra hours."
"There is nothing more satisfying than to hear feedbacks from my customers saying that they love my hand-carved rubber stamps.' says Maisarah, a graduate in Bachelor in Biotechnology from University Malaysia Sabah.
Nowadays, Maisarah's hand-carved rubber stamps are being done using erasers, and the handles were made from block of woods, that she cut using handsaw. She mentioned that her toughest challenge was to find large-size erasers, hence she had to make the ordered designs smaller so they can fit in the normal-size erasers.
"Most of my customers consist of bloggers who have their own online shops, and they're also in the part time/ full time home businesses like cake-makers, card creators, tailors etc. For the time being, I only advertise my rubberstamps through my blog so most of my customers are currently those who have links to my blogs or the ones being introduced by my other blogger friends."
"There were also customers from America, Britain and Brunei Darussalam who bought my hand-carved rubber stamps from Etsy website."
THE CHALLENGE OF CARVING ERASERS
Maisarah further explained that the most important element in making hand-carved rubber stamps is that you need a whole-lot of patience and steady hands especially when dealing with complicated designs.
"When I first started carving erasers, I had to breathe very slowly and sometimes I even had to hold my breath in order not to mess up the design. The hardest design would be carving short sentences containing small alphabets, as one can easily identified sloppy design if it wasn't done properly."
"It's different to carving erasers with pictures as the designs. Some of the rubber stamps took up to 3 days to be done, because if there were so many intricate details on the design, your eyes and hands would easily be tired. If that happened, I would take a break and would continue carving only when I'm feeling comfortable enough to pursue," shared Maisarah.
During her early days of hand-carving erasers, Maisarah admitted that she was really enthusiastic of her new-found hobby that she would bring knife and erasers in her bag, at all times.She would carve whenever she had time, and regardless of her whereabouts: restaurants, parks, in car, and even at the roadside of parking lots.
"Frankly I never thought about it (turning hobby into a business). At first I published photos of my rubber stamps and my other crafts in my blog - because I wanted to share my passion with other bloggers of similar hobbies. But slowly afterwards, the blog started to generate money through the orders of the rubber stamps."
"I started my online business with designing logo, stickers and business cards, but nowadays my priority is on hand-carving rubber stamps business," says Maisarah, who is also talented in other types of crafts like drawing and creating hand-made key chain, fridge magnets, rock-painting and others.
Even though her artwork is really impressive, Maisarah puts her feet firm to the ground and humbly admits that there are more things that she needs to learn in perfecting herself."I plan to learn on how to use related design softwares so that I would be able to offer logo designing for my customers, and not merely focusing on rubber stamp designs alone. I also want to produce e-book and organise rubber-carving classes for interested parties," she said.