This holiday season Jerri Renzo Wilcox has made over 130 homemade Christmas cards using her stamps, ink and various decorative papers. But Wilcox wasn’t using all of those beautiful, creative cards for herself. She gave most of the cards to her church, East Smithfield Federated Church, to give to its members. One of the church members wanted homemade cards to give to area health workers and especially loved Wilcox’s cards.
Wilcox also worked with the children at her church, showing them how to make cards. This added to her 130, and the children had a great time doing the craft.
“Once you start, your imagination goes wild,” said Wilcox. “And you come up with all kinds of wonderful ideas.”
Wilcox first started stamping in 2002 when she bought a set of stamps at a stamp party she attended.
“Why am I here,” Wilcox said to herself, because she didn’t think she’d ever do it again.
But Wilcox kept attending those stamp parties. And she bought more sets of stamps, ink, and paper.
After two or three sessions, she found she loved it. She started getting together with friends, pooling their resources to make some beautiful stamp art.
Twelve years ago Wilcox started working at the Bradford County Library. The children’s librarian convinced her to do a workshop at the library on stamping.
Apprehensive at first, Wilcox found it worked out really well. She began the workshop by just showing some of her own examples and people took off with it.
“I didn’t have to actually teach them,” said Wilcox. “They just did their own thing and produced some amazing results.”
Workshops were for adults and children; she didn’t have an age limit. She found that adults were the ones who were hesitant to get started, afraid someone else would do a better job by comparison. But she found the children just did their thing and didn’t make comparisons. She found working with the children was sometimes easier.
“I established a following,” said Wilcox. “People who came back to every workshop.”
This year Wilcox ran into one of those followers who asked when she was going to have her Christmas stamping workshop.
Unfortunately she had to answer, “We can’t have groups of people at the library because of COVID.”
The response she got was, “But you have to. It’s a tradition.”
“Glitter covers a multitude of sins,” said Wilcox, referring to mistakes people sometimes make when stamping. “And I’m sure the janitor at the library loved that!”