My print table is covered with a layer of pink insulation board, a layer of 1/2" foam, plastic sheeting, and a bedsheet or two to absorb the dye. This all worked just great till I started doing batik. The hot wax is making a mess of the plastic sheeting below so I thought I would try using thick carpet felt to cover my table instead. So today, after the dentist, I drove up Route 10 and stopped at a carpet mill 'outlet.' They told me they don't carry carpet felt and said I should go to Home Depot. So I went. When I finally found the carpet department, there was one salesman trying to sell some carpet to a gaggle of women. Ok - that's legitimate. So I stood there while he gave his spiel. Did he acknowledge me and tell me he'd be with me in a few minutes? Ha. Then he took the group over to look at the roll of carpet padding. I followed. Did he even look in my direction, as I stood there lurking? Ha Ha. Well, their padding was kind of cheesy and thin anyway, so after 20 minutes of standing around, I left. Why did I wait for 20 min? Because I was trying to be patient...something that is a big effort for me. On the way back down Route 10, I passed a place called Carpet Depot. It was next to, but not related to, Office Depot. (That makes 3 depots within a half-mile of each other. Nobody has any originality). Nevertheless,I stopped. They were all out of carpet felt because they are having a sale on carpeting and the installers have taken it all. BUT -the young woman showed me several samples of carpet padding and said she'd order it for me. I told her Ididn't need it for the floor, that I am an artist, etc. (the usual speech). Turns out she is artist who braids rugs with recycled materials, is a former printmaker AND was so excited to find another person who uses recycled materials that she asked me if I could use some small pieces of thinner felt she had sitting in the back room and was going to throw out anyway.
I came home with 8 pieces of 18"x22" felt that I can use for portable print surfaces. I was so excited that I printed a piece of material on my cutting table in the upstairs studio. She also gave me an 18"x24" piece of real linoleum which she says makes a great cutting board. I whipped it out and threw it on top of the felt and - yep -- makes a great cutting surface. So, if you need any portable surfaces, high tail it over to a carpet store and make friends.
I ordered 40 lb. felt for my table, took her card and e-mail address, and will send her a note. It's always good to find another artist - and I came home with treasures. Funny how it's the little things that can make the difference in your day!