The Rycraft Storyw/3 links @ bottom

The Rycraft Story

Creating Sweet Memories & Family Traditions

We always like to tell the story of our family business in order to let you know what is behind the tradition that we are carrying on today. The memories we treasure the most are those we have of our family and friends - of baking cookies together on special occasions and holidays. The Rycraft family tradition was, and still is, to present beautiful hand-crafted cookie stamps and other high quality American-made products for you, your friends and your family to enjoy. We hope that by creating delicious treats, handmade gifts, and decorative accessories for your home, you - our family of friends and Rycraft collectors - will also be creating your own sweet memories and family traditions to be cherished for many generations to come.
Cookie Stamp and Shortbread Cookie

Below on this page
(scroll down or click on a link below):

Handmade in America
The Rycraft Family Farm – Corvallis, Oregon
The Rycraft Story – told by Robin Rycraft
Eleanor & Carroll: 1967–1973
Eleanor & Family: 1973–1988
Robin: 1961–1988
Robin: 1988–1992
Robin & Carol: 1993 to 2015
David & Maggie: 2004 to 2005
Peggy Luckwald: 2015 to Present

Handmade in America

Eleanor Rycraft and her husband, Carroll, started Rycraft's in 1968. As far as we know, Eleanor Rycraft was the first American artist to introduce finely-detailed, handmade-in-America terra cotta cookie stamps. Originally, Eleanor patterned her unique ceramic cookie stamps (pictured right) in the manner of the antique wooden Scandinavian stamps which have been handed down through generations. In her rustic workshop on the family farm in Corvallis, Oregon, she created over 250 designs in a diversity which appeals to all peoples. Most of Eleanor and Carroll's original designs have been retired now and the tradition of handcarving new designs was taken up by their son, Robin Rycraft, in the 1980's. 

The Rycraft Cookie Stamp Collector's Handbook (pictured right), published in 1998, is a history and guide to Rycraft cookie stamps with pictures of each Rycraft stamp design, who carved it, the date introduced, the original price, and the date retired. To view the revised version of this book on our website, click here.

The more than 350 current designs in the Heirloom Collection are available in a wide variety of ceramic products. Not only has each beautiful and unique design been carved by hand, but each individual cookie stamp, craft stamp, Keep It Soft, and Christmas ornament has been cut out, imprinted and glazed by hand using the traditional production process which began 42 years ago.

Today, Rycraft products can be found in finer gift and gourmet shops and craft stores around the world, as well as many websites and collectibles trading sites such as Ebay.


Click here to see how cookie stamps are made.

Carroll and Eleanor Rycraft

Collector's Handbook sample page 
The Rycraft 
Collector's Handbook

The Rycraft Family Farm
– Corvallis, Oregon

A 100-acre parcel of fertile Oregon farmland is the original home of Rycraft Cookie Stamps. For nearly 50 years Robin Rycraft lived on the Rycraft family farm where his parents' cookie stamp business began over 40 years ago. Rycraft Cookie Stamps are still being made by hand in the same tradition but in a new location in Arizona, while Robin's sister Judy and her husband Jim still live on the farm with their family. 

Eleanor's ceramic studio is located next to the original 1880's two-story farmhouse where Robin spent his childhood. A wood stove in the center of the workshop added to the rustic atmosphere where Rycraft employees, at one time numbering 30 people, made each ceramic product by hand. They enjoyed peaceful vistas of farmlands and fruit trees, majestic views of Mary's Peak and sunsets, and a pond which hosts the resident wild geese and blue herons that inhabit the farm. Robin's brother Lon and his wife Christine have recently returned to the farm to remodel the shop building (the old ceramic studio and workshop) into their apartment and new studio. Lon currently pastors a church in Seattle, Washington, near their younger sister, Erin and her family.
Rycraft Farmhouse on Family Farm in Corvallis
The Rycraft family farmhouse
in Corvallis, Oregon.
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The Rycraft Story
– told by Robin Rycraft

Eleanor & Carroll: 1967-1973

It was in 1967 that my mother, Eleanor Rycraft, made her first cookie stamps to sell at the Corvallis Art Center Christmas sale. She started making cookie stamps to earn a little extra money. The idea came to her after seeing pictures of wooden stamps made in Scandinavia and the Eastern Pennsylvania Dutch area of the United States (click here and scroll down to the 3/20/10 email to Peter in Germany re: Eleanor's first cookie stamps). Mom was always amazed at how many people loved her stamps. They became so popular at the Art Center that she and Dad set up a booth at the Junction City Scandinavian Festival the following summer. While Mom only thought of the cookie stamps as a way to make a little extra money at Christmas, my dad, Carroll Rycraft, thought making cookie stamps could be built into a business.

Mom carved each stamp individually in the beginning, but when Dad became involved, he carved wooden tools which pressed the designs into the clay stamp, simplifying the carving process for Mom. Most of the early geometric designs were made this way (see top photo at right from our Collector's Handbook online - the middle photo at right shows our first recipe booklet). Dad designed many of these first stamps offered for sale. 

As an artist and ceramicist, Mom did many other things: she painted china cups and saucers for the PEO. She designed and painted tiles picturing cooking herbs for a friend’s kitchen. She braided beautiful wool rugs for our home. She always had something going on at the dining room table. Mom had also studied landscape design, so when we purchased our farm in 1952, she turned the horse pasture that surrounded the farmhouse into a wonderfully landscaped garden. Together with my dad, she hosted many ceramic workshops at our farm’s riverside campground where a large updraft bank kiln was built and fired with wood.

My dad was more of an inventor and folk artist. He didn’t talk too much about what he did, he just did it. He made simple things beautiful. He made arrows for me each Christmas when I was young. One Christmas he cut a maple tree with lots of moss into firewood size logs, put on big red bows and gave them to all our family friends. He got together with Hap Gathercoal one year and made about a dozen fireplace bellows; they hammered sheets of copper with woodsy designs and the family surnames, and attached them to each side of the bellows. I purchased one of these at a flea market some 35 years later for $20. It was the same bellows made for the Bethel Vernon family in Alsea, Oregon.

Eleanor & Family: 1973-1988

When Dad passed away in the fall of 1973, we had three people working for us. Mom wasn’t sure what we were going to do. I had been attending California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland and Portland State University studying ceramics and calligraphy. In 1976 I returned to the farm to help Mom manage the cookie stamp business, where we began working together to develop new glazes. Over the next few years the whole family helped out in one way or another. Lon, my younger brother, my younger sister, Erin, and Judy, my older sister, were involved directly in the early years, a family of artists, all on a different track.

By 1979, twenty-five people were working full time. The popularity of Mom’s cookie stamps soon extended far beyond the borders of Oregon, especially into many Scandinavian and Pennsylvania Dutch communities across America where decorating cookies with beautiful designs has been a tradition for generations. Mom passed away on October 15, 1995. Like Dad, she is really missed. Both of them were an encouragement to all of us in so many different ways.

Today our Heirloom Collection Cookie Stamps are still handmade with the same tradition in mind. After growing to a company with over 30 employees in 1996, we have recently downsized and relocated to Prescott Valley, Arizona where we are a Mom & Pop company once again. Our goal has not changed: to offer quality handmade products which will help you create sweet memories and family traditions.

Robin S. Rycraft


Oldest Rycraft Cookie StampsShown above are examples of Eleanor's early stamp

Cookie Stamps with Recipe Booklets
Shown above is the first Rycraft recipe booklet.

Cookie Stamps with Recipe Booklets
A Santa face painted by Eleanor,
just found recently for sale on Ebay.

Robin Carving
Robin Rycraft demonstrates carving a master.


Shown above are some of the tools
Robin and his dad, Carroll Rycraft,
designed to press designs into the clay.
Click here to see more photos
from a newspaper article on Robin.

Click here and scroll down to the 3/20/10 email to Peter in Germany re: the first tools Carroll carved.

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Robin: 1961-1988

After graduating from Corvallis High School in 1961, Robin attended Oregon State University where he studied art, jewelry and ceramics. During the summers he worked construction jobs in order to save up the tuition to attend the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, where he studied design as well as jewelry and ceramics.

In 1967 he returned to Oregon and attended Portland State University where he studied calligraphy and then became interested in bookbinding and making marbled papers. This led to Robin’s ongoing interest in the art of making handmade paper.

In 1970 Robin and his first wife, now Peggy Skycraft, opened a studio at Hillside Center in Portland where they earned their living selling handmade books and marbled paper. During his years in Portland, Robin was part of a group that put together a recipe booklet Twenty Scandinavian Cookies printed in 1971, copyrighted and sold by Rycraft, Inc., and then reprinted in 1976.

After his dad passed away in 1973, Robin returned to the family farm in Corvallis to help run the cookie stamp business with his family. Robin also taught bookbinding at the University of Oregon as a visiting artist
from 1979 through 1981. During the years that the Rycraft family worked together to build up the business on the farm, Robin learned the art of relief carving designs in clay.

Robin: 1988-1992

When Eleanor's health began to decline, the family decided to close the business for a season, after which Robin reopened Rycraft's in the summer of 1988 as the only one of the Rycraft family still working in the business. He did all of the carving, with only a handful of part-time, seasonal employees to help with office work and production. By 1990, Robin had retired the majority of the old cookie stamp designs and replaced them with new designs reflecting his own tastes and distinctive style of carving.

Robin & Carol: 1993 to 2015

Robin married Carol May in 1993, and a year later they introduced their 2 1/2" craft stamps and their first book The Art of Paper Casting. In 1994 the couple began exhibiting Rycraft Cookie Stamps at national trade shows such as The Gourmet Products Show and The Hobby Industry Association show. Buyers for America's finest gift and gourmet shops were charmed by these delightful collectibles, and Rycraft earned a reputation for beautifully-detailed designs and high-quality craftsmanship.


Robin and Carol at the 1994
SFO Gourmet Products Show.

In 1997 Rycraft developed its website at www.rycraft.com. Since then, Rycraft cookie stamps have been featured in a variety of national magazines (see our Publicity Photo Album) as well as on television and cable network shows, among them Martha Stewart's Living, the Home Shopping Network, the Family Channel's Home & Family Show, and Aleene's Creative Living. Robin and Carol now work together, using requests and suggestions from their customers, to choose the new designs which they introduce each year.


Robin and Carol 2011.

Click here for the Rycrafts'
CHRISTMAS 2011 NEWSLETTER


Click here for the Rycraft's
LAKE ALMANOR Page

Click on images below
for larger view.



Egg tempura copy of Blake
painting (done in 1964).


Example of gothic calligraphy
by Robin Rycraft (1969)



Robin and friends wrote this
recipe booklet in 1971.



Leather quarter binding
with marbled paper
by Robin Rycraft (1976)






Above and below: Papercuts
of old-growth fir trees and stars
(Mary's Peak, Corvallis, OR 1976).




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David & Maggie:
2004 to 2005

In 2004 David and Maggie Montgomery joined Rycraft, Inc. as the new graphic arts/photography team. Rycraft's 2005 catalog was their magnificent creation, with Maggie making every single craft project and decorated cookie pictured, choosing all the props, and designing the layouts for the photo shoot, while David got the lighting just right and took all of the photos. In addition David did the pre-press graphics and photo editing to produce the catalog.

David and Maggie also happen to be Carol and Robin's "kids" (Dave is Carol's son), so it was great to have them working at Rycraft's while they were living nearby for a year or so. Robin and Carol are very proud of the work they did for Rycraft's (and have done a lot of bragging about them, too).

The Montgomerys now reside in Sacramento, California where Maggie manages the home front, cares for the Rycrafts' grandson, Gavin, and runs a home-based business, while David works as the Promotion Manager at a local news station.


August 2002: Robin, Maggie,
Makenzie, David, and Carol.



David at work at WPTV in Florida
before the move to CA in 2011.


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Peggy Luckwald –
New owner of CookieStamp.com:
2015 to Present


We are so pleased to have one of Rycraft's long-time customers take over for us when we retire in December 2015. Peggy Luckwald has purchased the entire Rycraft inventory of products and will be continuing to provide you with Rycraft Import Collection cookie stamps and home displays, recipe booklets, the Collector's Book, Rycraft's 2 craft books as well as all our supplies for paper and clay casting with Rycraft cookie stamps.

For a limited time after 11/30/15, Peggy will be offering for sale the last of Robin's Heirloom Collection products (which will be leftover after we close our doors 11/30)... so be sure to get them while they last. 

Peggy describes herself:

"I live in a beautiful, wooded area in Grand Rapids, Michigan and still enjoy a quiet, snowy day. I have a wonderful son, Chris, who is a digital artist with an MFA in 3D modeling. I'm retired after working 33 years for UPS in several locations around the country.

I love cooking, art and photography. I do mediocre paintings and pretty good portraits in pencil and charcoal, but I make great cookies!

I have a collection of over 100 cookie stamps and molds, which I love using on a regular basis. I love tweaking recipes to find just the right combination of flavors and textures, and hearing what other people are cooking up!

I am a Midwesterner born and bred, with an appreciation of the beauty of the land and the bounty it provides, and love putting all that bounty to good use in the kitchen!"

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We hope you will continue to visit CookieStamp.com to discover which stamps Peggy has on sale each month and which craft projects she has posted to inspire you to new levels of creativity. . .  she will probably be posting some new recipes, as well. Have fun!

Robin and Carol Rycraft

P.S. To contact us in retirement, we will keep our website up at www.rycraft.com, and try to keep you posted on our doings... plus you can email us at info@rycraft.com and we'll get back to you.

Photo of Peggy coming soon!

Peggy has over 100
cookie stamps and molds!




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Click here to go to:

Rycraft Cookie Stamps - Historical Overview

Click here to go to the main page for:

The Rycraft Cookie Stamp Collector's Online Handbook of Retired Designs


Click here to see how a cookie stamp is made STEP BY STEP:

HANDMADE IN THE USA

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