John Jānis Šteins

:: Artist ::

Making a chop


Over the years I’ve wondered about using a chop on my prints. I do like the appearance when other artists use them on their work although I wouldn’t necessarily  incorporate it with the actual print. Presently I do use a embosser for my wood engravings which I’m not hundred percent happy with.

Anyway, I made a chop on the end of a piece of boxwood. Here you see it next to a small dish of cinnabar which is the traditional (and toxic) ‘stamp pad’ used by oriental artists to sign prints, etc. These are available in any Chinatown gift store.

My design is in reference to pagan symbolism and an acknowledgment of the ancient religious practices of the Baltic peoples, my heritage. This is before the Christian crusaders came from Germany and butchered many a Latvian and Lithuanian in their attempt to baptize the pagans beginning in 1200.

By the way, the term ‘pagan’ isn’t meant to be pejorative in any way. I’m happy to know I’m related to people that worked the land with a humble respect for the power of nature.


Here’s the resulting chop. The bottom line represents Mother Earth with an all encompassing tent shape connecting to Dievs, the Latvian Pagan God. The dot at the top symbolizes the sun.

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