Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Child free day!

My amazing friend gave me the luxury of 8 solid hours of child free bliss! I printed a few things, among which was this cloud scape that im trying to turn into a blanket or something and use as a backdrop for a display (if all goes as planned).  My print is randomly placed, three sizes of cloud and four colours. One stencil i flipped for the second colour. It measures about 120cm x 120cm. I have thought to get some cotton jersey to make baby blankets in the average 90 x 90cm. Could look nice with a contrast binding. Just need to save up for fabrics now.

New baby bags

Lots of my friends are popping out babies at the moment. I printed some fabric using the small cloud stencils from Neena's vest. Each bag is different, with different coloured clouds on each side. They came out well for an unplanned last minute idea.

Invitations posted

I was generally happy with my prints, though cropped a bit tight on the cards, ah well. Finally i have posted them.

Tidying up

Ive been doing a bit of my usual 'starting' and not 'finishing' in the past months. As light and warmth has returned to my house im slowly trying to wrap things up and clear my messy work space, the dining table. The over cushioned chair finally has its new cushion, made from my neighbours recycled wool pack.

Its not quite right but its much better than before and at least the cushion stays on the chair when you get up- unlike the nasty Ikea button print one. I think i need to research how to pattern cut to allow for button studding as it came out a bit tight with none of the nice folds. But the cheap piece of  Dandelion Clocks i won on e-bay is a welcome print in the house. When im less lazy i may even re-paint the chair.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Neena Neena Neena!

'Neena' is the current love of my daughters life. Marlo is actually in the dog house and been usurped by his own baby sister. The demure Neena was unwittingly subjected to my colour clash styling, when her mother presented me with some white vests on which to practice my new love for screen printing. I'm looking forward to seeing how Neena's new wardrobe breaks up the black and shakes up the streets of Stamford hill. Sorry Troutie but she will not be acceptable for a match make in these!

 Two packs of these turned into six of these.........

Ice cream top

While i was printing the invites i decided to test the print on clothing. I had a new top to hand so printed it in sequence as i printed the cards. My Permaset inks are really only for light and white fabrics. As i tend not to use so many dark fabrics i couldn't justify buying Supercover inks which are about twice the price of the ones i am using. Obviously the image is feint and not as bright as it should be but the results were better than i thought they would be.

Ice creams and Lollies

As part of the party preparations, i have invitations to design. I did some more of my great scribbling and came up with two more designs to print on to cards. Please bear in mind these are all hanging upside down as they dry on my newly erected, living room washing line.

Ice lollies in four colours using three screens. Ice creams in eight colours using five screens. (Thanks to my ingenious mini squeegees).  I liked these but felt they were a little abstract out of context so decided on the more obvious and elaborate ice cream, as the final invite design. Here is the construction of the ice cream print....

And finally i like to stand back and admire all my hard work! I printed about 30 of these, as that is all my line would take but of course i still have the stencils to use again. This is one over the top, slightly sickly looking ice cream. Though when i show it to my daughter she says 'Tasty ice keem' and seeing as its her party invite, I'm happy she likes it. Job done.

Party bag pieces

As a lot of people i know will be reading this, look away now if you will be joining us for the party or at least act surprised when you/ your child receives these things in their bag of fun! If i save it to blog after the event i will never get around to it and i prefer to keep things chronological, so I'm just going to have to ruin the surprise. I have been collecting things for months now, to go inside the bags. I've had to stop myself many times as i would go totally over board if allowed. Luckily my budget keeps me in check, relatively. But then we can easily live off porridge for a week, so that helps at times too. Anyway, here are some things i made .....

Temporary tattoo packs, for girls and boys.

A while back we bought some temporary tattoos from the local toy shop. I thought my daughter would like them as she keeps trying to get me to draw on her. They were a set of girly butterflies. She loved the 'futterdines' and kept showing everyone her wrists where she had them. She kept asking for more so i decided to plaster them all over her so she would stop asking. They all rubbed off long ago now but her friend keeps lifting up her top to see her butterflies! Ok, long story. So i searched high and low and found many companies selling individual designs. I was hoping for old school retro and sailing ones but there weren't enough good designs, so i mixed it up a bit. I made little packs for them to go in.

These are my some of my art packs. I sourced mini glue sticks and safety scissors and cut up tons of colourful papers to go inside. Armed with a 69p retractable craft knife it took many hours. Gone are the days of living at home and sneaking into my fathers study to use his guillotine. (Another item on my list for 'dream studio space').

Best present ever!

Last week i recieved the best birthday present ever. A tube arrived in the post, heavy and conspicuous. Fearing i'd ordered something i couldn't pay for  i hacked it open to find six tubs of screen printing ink and a note saying, bill to be sent to my mother's address. Ah haa, its a birthday present, oops i opened it a day early, tut tut. Having called my mother to express my gratitude and also amazement at her spot on present choice, (no prompting or help given), I set to work. This is what ive been up to over the last week.......

I drew some very scrappy ideas. I wanted a basic house image. Cute but not too kitsch. My drawings are childlike at best- i keep telling people but they dont believe me...here is proof of my inability to draw.

I drew the block shapes for my stencil before extracting the elements for colour seperation to make my bunch of stencils. I actually did five seperate stencils for this house design even though there are only four colours.

The body of the house. Pink for girls, orange for boys.....did i mention what these are for....doh, probably not. They are the party bags for my daughters party next month. I did a bit of a project last year and it was a lot of fun so decided to do it again. Some people think im a bit mad. It does take a lot of time, energy and money (which i save for, over a few months) but i love doing it.

At this point i took my Illustrator/textile artist friends advice and used spray mount to fix my stencil to the screen and that was revolutionary! The detail came out really well and no splurging ink, as with the last few stencils. So the complex roof design printed well, while the simple rectangles of the previous screens all bled! Typical but im glad i have the spray mount tip under my wing now.

My tiled roof prints, hanging above their inspiration below.

Clouds for the back of the bags. Two screens for this- one for the cloud and another for the raindrops.

I bought a few inches of squeegee rubber and cut it up to make perfect mini squeegees which would be useful to colour different element on the same screen. It saves time and the hassle of changing screens but the elements need to be spaced far apart enough for this to work.

My finished houses. Not as slic as i was expecting but i lined them up by eye so it was a bit tricky to get all screens to sit exactly in place. Working blind towards the end.

The houses and their corresponding clouds. I will make a few sample bags before i stitch them all up. One month to go, so plenty of time left.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Screen adventures

Quite a few months back, a friend of mine told me he'd found a bundle of screen printing stuff on the road side and did i want it. In my eager excitement i jumped at the offer because ive always longed to get back into printing and wanted to do it from home. Im not going to lie, the bundle of equipment lay outside my kitchen window for a good four months before i decided to do something with it. It consisted of one printing frame (screenless and coated in staples), one over sized squeegee which would not fit the wooden frame and a frame set/holder, with vacum application, for printing posters i think as you cant get fabric in there. I have no clue- will need to experiment. Anyway, one huge blister and a sliced hand later, the screen was ready for stretching. I used a 47T, as close to the 43T mesh advised, as i could get and it looked ok. Not great but useable. Thanks useless plastic staplegun!

I constructed a rather odd print bed from an offcut of a matress topper and some cotton. Looks a bit like an incontinence bed pad! Attaches to my tiny table with nice big bows.

Cut a stencil......yes, you guessed it, that blinkin' cloud again! Ignore the messy screen silk. Its fixed now.

Then got printing......and printng........

.....and printing, til it was 3am in the morning and i had no clue what i was going to do with hundreds of the same clouds on scrap fabric.

Then the next night i did the same til 3am but this time blocked the rain drops to print multicoloured later on. Basically the moral of this story is 'Screen printing is addictive'. You will end up with way too many prints unless you set rules. I need rules!

The same night i printed some envelopes but the design is too fine for a stencil, as it clogs and overflows. Lesson to self.

All im looking for now is a lamp, so i can photographically expose my screens for more complex and interesting designs......oh yeah and a ton more screen printing gear. Tonight I shall pray to the streets of Hackney for more treasure.

E - double G - S ......EGGS!

 My daughter lives for eggs so she was pretty excited about the return of our egg rolling competition. You may have already seen last years entries but this year we managed to get a few more contestants, (probably due to the fact there was a money prize!) and it was great fun. You can probably spot our nine eggs as i always whip my nail varnish out and tend to go for 'bold'. Munchkins efforts were pretty good though and almost indestructable. Probably those seven layers of PVA! My favourite was Marketa's beautiful Parsley egg in the middle.

Dandelion clocks

I decided it was time to have a new nappy bag, purely because i was desperate to use some of this coated Sanderson fabric. Im not the type of person to have a huge bag weighing down my pushchair. I have always had a rather understated little pouch which just fits a few nappies and wipes. As the child grew and the nappies got bigger i've had to supersize. Soon (fingers crossed) my daughter will be out of nappies and this can become a useful bag for something else. Many design faults and im still searching for the ever elusive teflon sewing machine foot......but hey, it does the job. Now i just need to finish my dandelion clocks chair cushion. Im so slow!