This article appeared in the People section of the local newspaper (Albany is next door to Corvallis) and focused on Robin and the Rycraft family's traditional step-by-step production process he still uses today to make each Rycraft cookie stamp, craft stamp, Keep It Soft, cookie mold, and Christmas ornament by hand (see the Rycraft Story for more on the Rycraft tradition).
Robin carves a design master of a snowman design for a 5" tile cookie stamp, for a line Rycraft introduced in 2003, which has since been discontinued.
Design masters for the HEIRLOOM COLLECTION are numbered and stored in the safe for daily use in cookie stamp production. Robin uses the masters to imprint each square clay blank before cutting it into a 2" circle.
This is the handmade cutter Robin made to cut the blocks of extruded terra cotta red clay (which comes from northern California) into small squares which he then imprints using the design masters. Robin then cuts the squares into 2" circles and carefully cleans each one by hand.
Robin takes extruded coils of clay and cuts them into handles which he then rolls and cleans by hand. The handles are then applied to the back of the imprinted stamps before firing the first time in the bisque kiln.
This photo was taken in the main workroom of Eleanor and Carroll Rycraft's original ceramics studio, where windows have a view of rolling fields and Mary's Peak to the west, on the Rycraft Family Farm, Corvallis, Oregon.
These cookie stamps have just come out of the bisque firing and are now ready for glazing before the second firing.
Robin hand dips each cookie stamp in glaze to coat the handle and top portion only, leaving the design on the face unglazed. After the glaze dries, the stamps are fired a second time, then the distinctive gold Rycraft label is applied, and they are ready to ship.