Stamp of approval: “How craft, passion and the old ways shape a great story.”
Our CEO and Founder, Jack Murray, tells the tale of how he stumbled upon a gem of a business in the East Village, New York.
I first met John Casey in May of 2015.
I was visiting New York for a few days and staying in an Airbnb in the East Village. His rubber stamp shop was just two doors up the street.
When I passed his small shop for the first time, I was instantly captivated by the display table outside. It was jam-packed with every conceivable type of rubber stamp you could imagine. There were pictures of animals, objects, people’s portraits and the most amazing fonts.
When I walked through the door, I was immersed in another world. I was taken by the smell of timber, and the sawdust chippings on the floor. Every inch of the available shelf space is jammed with hundreds of different rubber stamps and every conceivable pallet of ink pad you could imagine.
It is a retail space, but also a workshop. You can see John Casey’s passion, craft energy and attention to detail and in every square inch of the small premises.
It reminded me of the late Rory Kilduff’s saddlery on Main Street Ballinasloe where you either went to get the news of the day, or to get Rory to work his magic on some leather item you cared about. He was always able to do amazing work on my school bag, which I still have today.
On that first day I mooched about wide-eyed and then John walked out. He thrust forward his hand and said – “How you going? John Casey, Milstreet – County Cork.”
We hit it off straight away. We talked about home, about East Village, about creativity and about rubber stamps. John was in no rush. He loves to chat.
His passion for rubber stamps came as a result of his Dad’s dance hall in north Cork. They used to get a local printer to produce the posters for their weekly dances. The printer also had a rubber stamp machine. He made young John a stamp from a coin and he was hooked.
That first weekend I managed to call into John Casey twice more, just for a chat. And now every time I go to New York I find an excuse to visit. I find one more thing that I can get a rubber stamp made off. Why? Because people like John Casey are rare. Craftspeople with passion and skill, who believe in the old ways and want to do great work one piece at a time.
Take a look at this great Guardian film. It sums John up well.
322 Est 11th Street, New York, NY 1003, USA.
Credit to The Guardian for images used.