Ready for the next instalment of our virtual Grand Vacation? This one gets off to a very early start .....
About 200 bleary eyed demonstrators and guests got onto our 4 buses and headed to Salt Lake City Airport to catch our plane.
Stunning Utah scenery out the window.
Arrived at St George and it was time for another bus convoy to take us to Kanab, a bit under two hours away.
Once again stunning scenery out of the windows so the trip went by quickly.
Soon we arrived at the Kanab Stampin' Up manufacturing plant. Once again a warm, friendly welcome from all the staff.
BBQs were all fired up ready for our lunch ....
Again some lovely little decorative touches at the tables.
After a yummy lunch it was time to divide into groups and meet our assigned staff member for a tour of the facility. We had a great tour guide.
Look at all that rubber - on rolls ready to get made into stamps.
But first up let's look at ink pads. Apologies in advance for any errors in my manufacturing plant explanations - I loved the tour but don't quite trust my memory of the details! But you'll get the general idea. I've always loved factory tours - interesting seeing how things get put together.
Ok first up this lady is putting the ink pad containers together and gluing in a plastic insert.
Weighted down to adhere well .....
Meanwhile the inky pads were getting prepared - look at that lovely ink.
A bunch of pads were put into things that looked like giant mixmasters with a measured amount of ink then mixed together.
Then out they came ......
Meanwhile our ink pad containers are getting dressed in their labels ...
Now this job really does need gloves - sticking the inky pad into the ink pad container and she gives it a press with a pressy thing. (Wink - I'm very technical, can you tell. Ha ha.)
Finally a trip through the plastic wrap machine and all ready to be packed in boxes. (We got to choose an ink pad each - the first of many many goodies we collected during our tour.)
Reinker time - someone uses a gun/hose thingy to fill each little bottle.
All these processes were way more hands on than I thought. I think I love my stamps and inks even more seeing how many lovely, friendly people are employed putting them together.
See this big giant tub - full of Stampin' Mist! Now that'd clean a lot of stamps. It is about waist high!
Time to keep moving on our tour. Look at all these stamp set labels.
Wood blocks in all those containers - heaps of different sizes.
Time for stamps. We started halfway through the process but I might try to sort through the pics and go from the beginning.
I think it starts about here where this guy is cutting the roll of rubber into the appropriate sizing for the set they're making that session.
This room has the special plates too for each stamp set - more on that later.
Let's zip over to another room for a tic to see how they make those plates.
This guy was great.
Now I'm really rusty on this bit but it goes something like this. They send the art work somewhere (New York I think) and get a special metal plate made. This one is the World Map stamp one.
Then they put this sheet of - hmmm - some other material on the plate and use heat and pressure to press them together and make the plate used with the rubber.
These ones are used to make the stamps and last a varying amount of time. They can use the metal plate to make new ones when needed.
Over to this area where they put those special plates together with the sheet of rubber and apply heat and pressure with this machine to produce our lovely rubber stamps.
Out and time to be trimmed. We got to have a go. Had to wear gloves as the rubber is really hot still during this bit.
Excited much?! I'm rather chuffed here to be helping to make a stamp set.
Cooling on the air vents. Aaah a nice Chalk Talk set.
Offcuts go into a special bin.
From there they get chopped up into little teeny bits and we'll find out a bit more about where they go after that later on today.
OK where were we at with our stamps. Next up (if I've got all this in the right order) is the station where they get die cut. Here's the special plate that cuts Mosaic Madness into its individual stamps.
Positioned carefully and the rubber placed on top.
And voila - stamps set to pack into cases.
Here they are getting packed into cases - with some help from us!
And more gifts - we got to choose a stamp set each from the big stack at the end of this part of the tour. This is a fun tour!
Over to the cardstock chopping area now. Here's some big sheets of cardstock getting chopped to size. Now this slicer has some serious grunt - chops a huge big stack quite a few inches high. To make it chop you have to press two buttons, which means you have to use two hands, which means there's no fingers getting caught .....
Then over to the 'counting out the cardstock' machine.
Or you can load up different colours at each station there to make the colour family multipacks.
Through the plastic wrap machine and a label on then into the box.
And yep we got to choose a pack each. Backpack is getting heavy now - yay!
And that's the end of our fabulous tour. On our way out we got to choose a memento off this board. They were all those special metal bits that they use to make the plates used to make the stamps. What a great gift - I really love this little part of the stamp making process and lovely reminder of a great day.
Bye bye Kanab .....
One more stop before we headed to the airport. I got a bit distracted with this gorgeous cliff ....
Now this was really funny. 4 big huge buses pulled up at this park area. A whole stream of people got out and ran over to the playground to check out what happens to some of that leftover rubber, bounced on the soft fall, played on the equipment, took photos of all the rubber, then all got back onto the buses and zoomed off again. Must have been a hilarious sight to the people at the park!
Bus ride back to the airport complete with Bingo Game and LOTS more prizes. I'm thinking I'll need a wheelbarrow to get all my products up to my room!
Soon enough it was time to get back onto the plane. Bit of a story there. This was the biggest plane that had ever landed at this (fairly new) airport. Which was exciting and even made the news. But when we were all set to get going they found that the plane computer wasn't talking to the airport computer. So we sat on the tarmac for nearly an hour in rather a hot plane with no air con. Phew! Steamy.
A nice big cheer once the technology started cooperating .....
Home again in the evening quite ready to hit the hay after a long, but absolutely fabulous day. The factory tour was another highlight of the trip for me.
And a gift - some products from our upcoming holiday catalogue so will have to keep them under wraps for now!
We're nearly there folks. Just a couple of days to go and they're a little less photo heavy. Hope you've enjoyed our little tour today taking a closer look at how our products are made.
Catch you again soon to wrap this thing up!