I've enlarged this card so that you can see the amount of detail and the fact that the detail isn't great. It was an unmounted plate sent to me as part of the 'test' run for joining a Design Team (DT). Before I started on the stamps that I was sent, I spent about an hour surfing the shop's site, checking what products they sold against what I owned so as not to use anything that would compromise the 'product loading'. And then I rubbed my hands together with glee and started to stamp.
It caused me great stress. Despite my twenty years' experience, I could not get this plate to reproduce a decent, or whole image. This is the only image I managed to turn into a card.... I used a black fine-liner pen to fill in the principal figure legs and face - and note, loads of background is missing. Frankly, I didn't want to waste expensive mount foam on it - it's not the sort of stamp I'd use again, but I used re-useable cling mount on it, so there was cushioning. For the first time ever, I even stood on the stamp to see if I could distribute my weight evenly enough to get a whole image. Nope.
Many, many ruined images and a couple hours of frustration later, I realised that my time was more valuable, my paid for stock was being wasted and I was considering spending more money on EZ Mount - all to create a retail advantage for somebody who doesn't want to pay for this sort of effort. Way to suddenly remove the pressure - work out that you don't have to do it! This was an epiphany for me, my time and precious stash is better spent crafting for my pleasure!
I sent an email, tactfully explaining my difficulty, and pointing out that it was just the sort of stamp that people bring into a workshop and ask me what they're doing wrong over, and then I put this and a couple of cards I made using other stamps that had been sent for the 'trial' into the post. Needless to say, I had an email a couple of weeks later saying that I hadn't got a place on the DT.
What really jiggers me about this experience is that the business concerned has a reputation for selling really great quality stamps, world famous brands. But the rubber I was sent is clearly not designed by the Brands, and worse, the artwork hasn't been cleaned up enough before being committed to rubber. Even on these cute bees, the width of the line drawings was inconsistent; the heart as you can see, is a much broader line than the bees. In many many cases, I want to scream 'clip art', but that is unproven, so I can't. Perfectly acceptable if you're using separate stamps or combining brands, but clearly they were on the same 'plate' to be sold as a set.
Now I know this post will come across as sour grapes, and there will be loads of people who feel the need to defend their Design Team positions. No need, I take my hat off to you, time, deadlines and stash - good for you. It's ME that doesn't need it. And the rest of the post was about stamp quality..remember that before you get all inflamed, huh!