24 Apr 2012

Vinyl cut screen printing

Since for the time being the majority of our screen printing gear is out of commission (we've no where to wash screens out yet) I thought I'd drop a quick post about using a vinyl plotter to make a silkscreen stencil.

Len blogged the whole process in detail hither, but I thought I would just touch on it briefly. We really tried to push the detail to the max on this one just to try and find the limits of the vinyl plotter, but since it cut everything out no bother we're a little baffled!

Once you've done a spot of weeding (pulled all the crap out you don't want) you're pretty much ready to go. Slap a massive piece of masking tape over the top of it..

..and transfer it from the backing paper onto your screen with worrying about the image being distorted or falling to bits. Then it's just pretty much as per usual!

It's certainly a simpler way of doing things, and cuts out a canny chunk of prep time IF you already work from illustrator, but on the other hand it has it's limitations depending on the image you're printing. Since I personally work mostly by hand I doubt I'll have much use for it, but I guess it's pretty situational.

If you like the look of Len's print you should check out his Etsy store for more goodies!

Keep those fingers inky,

Experimentation in woodcut

The first thing I wanted to try in the new space is the woodcut press, it's something I've wanted to dabble with for quite a while but never quite found the time for while I was at university. I'm not sure how, it's not as if I was very busy while I was there.

The nice thing about woodcut in the super easy learning curve, I knocked my first one up in a couple of hours using my dremel multitool thing (thanks Dad). There's a couple of things so consider such as the use of black and white (especially if you're trying to make an image with proper lighting) and working backwards, but if you've any printmaking experience it's relatively simple to get your head around.

The thing is just to spend a little time sketching it out and considering how to separate the image; when you only have one colour, no gradients, and next to no detail things can get tricky, but not impossible. I've been a little obsessed with the PS3 game Journey lately (apologies if I have talked at you about it) so couldn't resist making a bit of tribute art, the medium just felt right for this one, and printing onto leather is oh-so satisfying.

Just to push myself a bit I decided to complicate matters threefold by A) using text and B) making it a two colour print. Registration on woodcut is a nightmare but I think I just about got my head around it (if you have any tips let me know!)

Over all, a resounding success! I think I'll be putting these up online sometime soon, the simpler ones will be unlimited editions, but the more difficult ones with have to be limited runs. Should make nice little table fillers at markets as well I reckon.

Get carving!

p.s. apologies for the super crappy photos, a half decent camera is top of my wish list

The big move

So as mentioned before I'm no longer working from that super cold basement in Gateshead (cheers all round!), instead I've moved into a rather swanky studio right in the centre of Newcastle. We have a concierge and everything; it's a helluva upgrade!

As you can see, there's a bit more equipment than in the old space, I'll be sharing it with my old partner in crime Len Allwood as well as my ex-tutor from Newcastle college David Hails and his partner Sarah Jane Clayton. We all shifted our collective gear in so there's a whole host of new toys to play with: heat press, vinyl plotter, etching/woodcut press, and of course my screen printing vacuum bed press.
For now we're operating under the collective name One Thousand Eyes, there's a website on the way and we're aiming for a debut exhibition in about 3 months time, so keep your ears peeled.

Let the playtime commence!

Playtime at Life

A while ago I was approached by the Centre for Life here in Newcastle to do a workshop/communal build project as part of their Make-It festival. They'd seen some pictures of my cardboard totem pole (shown below) when I'd applied for the resident maker position, so they wanted something in a similar vein but much larger scale.


We ended up going for a life-size garden made entirely out of cardboard, with me tackling the larger or more complex builds while Life's science explainers led the younger contributors in making things to populate the space. You can see the full build on Life's flickr feed here, but here's a few of my favourites from the weekend:

Keep crafty,

First things first..

It's official, as of February I am totally, for realz, self employed.
Scary stuff.

So first up, big props to the lovely folks over at PNE Enterprise for helping me get on my feet, I couldn't recommend them enough to anyone thinking about going self employed and based in the North East.

Secondly, branding... I'm operating under the business name Dabble Dabble, but for the time being I'll be sticking with my current branding with as few changes as possible. It's more than likely I'll be switching out the title of the blog as I'm no longer operating from a cold basement (horray! more on that later) so Down Below doesn't really seem quite appropriate. So far as logos etc go, I'll be sticking with my little chief for now until I'm really satisfied with something new, but colour schemes, typefaces and layout will stay the same.
I've just realised there is no image of my little chief anywhere on here, but he's what I use on my business cards/twitter pic and all that jazz, so here's a picture of him for your viewing pleasure:

Keep it unreal,

A long time coming

I dare say calling this post a little over-due is the understatement of my year so far, especially after setting myself the resolution of one post per week. Ah well, better three months late than never..

To be frank, so much has happened since my last post I considered starting from scratch, but rather than being a total et blanket I'm gonna pull my socks up and get crackin'!

So without further ado, here's what the hell I've been getting up to in my absence.


25 Jan 2012

What's yer preference?

Just to let you know, you can now find me on etsy here as well as my big cartell store. I'll be leaving the shop link on the right linking to the latter for the sake of ease, but I would be interested to know the preferences of readers when it comes to these two stores. I realise they aren't the only options out there, but they certainly seem like the most viable for the time being.

signing off..