twice a year, in a quiet isolated hostel in the middle of germany, a group of 50 women comes together for a long weekend. they drive in from all over the country and have been doing this pilgrimage for years, way before internet and facebook-organized events. some heard about it on local shops, others through ads posted on newspapers… they responded to the initial call and just kept coming back. in their daily life, they quietly nurture their common passion on the side of their jobs and family life. but on these special weekends, they load their car trunks to the brim with all sorts of magical tools and drive here, for uninterrupted me-time with their hobby. they’re passionate rubber stampers.
i received an invitation from the meeting organizer (a dear friend) earlier this year, and have attended two of these events now. on the first one i was stumped… so baffled in fact that, despite being familiar with the concept of stamping, i did not touch a rubber stamp the whole weekend. instead, my mind reeled with questions… who were these people? and what universe was this, filled with speciality inkpads and ink sprays, textured paper, calligraphy nibs, embossing tools and sharp scissors that cut through glue without getting ruined? my mind was overwhelmed, as if i had stepped into a different world altogether, one i knew nothing about. i felt like richard discovering london below for the first time.
they welcomed me, the stranger with bulging eyes and raised eyebrows, and told me it was normal, and that i would come back someday. sure enough, a few months later, i was packing my own suitcase with my meagre stamping possessions and taking the train down to bielefeld. this time, i came prepared – i had questions, ideas, and a better grasp of the german language. and so we stamped, we talked, we crafted, we laughed. i’ve learned a thing or two about rubber stamping, but especially about how life is about these smaller moments when you get out of your comfort zone and embrace mysterious new worlds. now, i guess i’m a rubber stamper myself :)