Gravestone rubbing is the practice of creating a detailed replica of a grave marker or headstone by placing a piece of paper over the inscription and rubbing it with a crayon or charcoal. This technique is used by genealogists, historians, and artists to preserve the memory of the deceased, as well as to study the artistic and cultural aspects of the grave markers.
The practice of gravestone rubbing has been around for centuries and is a great way to pay respect to the deceased while also learning more about the history and culture of the area.
The materials needed for gravestone rubbing are relatively simple and inexpensive. The most important materials are rubbing paper and the rubbing medium, which can be either crayons or charcoal. Rubbing paper can be found at most art supply stores, and is often sold in large sheets or rolls. Charcoal can be found at art supply stores, while crayons can be found at any general store. Other materials that may be needed include tape or wax to hold the rubbing paper in place, and a soft brush or cloth to clean the gravestone before rubbing.
Preparing the gravestone
Before starting the rubbing, it is important to make sure that the gravestone is safe to work on and that it is clean. If the gravestone is in poor condition, it may not be safe to do the rubbing. If the gravestone is dirty, it should be cleaned with a soft brush or cloth before starting the rubbing. This will ensure that the rubbing is as accurate as possible and that it will last for a long time.
Doing the rubbing
Once the gravestone is prepared, the rubbing can begin. To start, the rubbing paper should be positioned over the inscription, and then secured in place with tape or wax. The rubbing medium, whether it be crayons or charcoal, should be held against the paper and then gently moved back and forth over the inscription. It is important to use light pressure and to work slowly, as too much pressure can damage the gravestone and too much speed can cause the rubbing to be inaccurate.
Preservation and display
Once the rubbing is complete, it should be preserved so that it will last for a long time. The rubbing should be carefully removed from the gravestone, and then mounted on acid-free paper or another archival-quality material. This will prevent it from fading or becoming damaged over time. The rubbing can then be framed or otherwise displayed, and can be used as a unique and meaningful way to remember the deceased.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it legal to do gravestone rubbing?
A: It is generally legal to do gravestone rubbing, but it is important to obtain permission from the cemetery or grave owner before doing so. Some cemeteries may have specific rules or regulations regarding gravestone rubbing, so it is important to check with them before starting the rubbing. Additionally, it is important to be respectful of the graveyard and the deceased while doing the rubbing.
Q: Can gravestone rub damage the gravestone?
A: If done correctly, gravestone rubbing should not damage the gravestone. It is important to use light pressure and to work slowly, as too much pressure can damage the gravestone. Additionally, it is important to use the appropriate materials, such as acid-free paper, to ensure that the rubbing does not damage the gravestone over time.
Q: Can I sell gravestone rubbings?
A: It depends on the specific laws and regulations of your area, but in general, it is not legal to sell gravestone rubbings without permission from the cemetery or grave owner. Additionally, it is important to be respectful of the deceased and their families when considering whether or not to sell a gravestone rubbing.
Q: Is gravestone rubbing only for genealogists and historians?
A: No, gravestone rubbing can be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in history, art, or genealogy. Many artists also use gravestone rubbing as a source of inspiration for their own work.
Q: Is there a right or wrong way to do gravestone rubbing?
A: There is no right or wrong way to do gravestone rubbing, as long as it is done respectfully and with permission. Different people may have their own personal preferences or techniques, but as long as the rubbing is accurate and respects the gravestone and the deceased, it is considered the right way.
Gravestone rubbing is an interesting and rewarding activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It is a great way to pay respect to the deceased while also learning more about the history and culture of the area. The materials needed for gravestone rubbing are relatively simple and inexpensive, and the process itself is easy to learn. By following the steps outlined above, anyone can create a beautiful and accurate replica of a grave marker or headstone. Additionally, as a reminder, it is important to always obtain permission before any rubbing on grave markers and to be respectful of the graveyard and the deceased.