Friday, September 29, 2006

Printing paper

Two posts in two days! I haven't done that in ages. Holiday mode has definately started early around here - I spent almost all of yesterday doing crafty stuff. I felt guilty to be doing it during "work hours", but really... if I plan to make a business out of selling jewellery etc then this IS work. It doesn't feel like it though!

Yesterday was spent printing one of my patterns onto sheets of A4 paper - using a repeating-pattern-tile Gocco screen. This screen turned out heaps better than my previous ones. I think because this time, after the flash went off, I remembered to keep holding down for 5 seconds. This lets the heat transfer a bit longer and burns a better screen.

Damn, that was a lot of work, but definately worth it! These sheets will become packaging for my earrings etc.

Oh, I also discovered something cool for any PG-11 owners out there. If you want to be able to stamp your design onto surfaces outside of the machine, you don't have to buy the Stamp Kit for Cloth (although I've ordered mine already, bugger). All you need to do is release the stamp pad from the machine - it has a simple spring release if you detach it from the right hand side first. Ink up your screen as usual, place it down onto whatever surface u want to print on, and then push down on it with the stamp pad. It's basically the same as printing inside the machine, just upside-down! You might be able to do this with the other Gocco models, i'm not sure.

Have a great weekend :)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sometimes you work on these really labour intensive projects that just don't end up working. Like these two prototypes below. I spent hours cutting little shapes out of poypropolyene, to find the end result just didn't make a good earring. Maybe the left hand one would work as a pendant with some darker coloured material.

The whole process can be pretty disappointing... but at least it's one step closer to finding an idea that works. If doing this stuff was super easy then I suppose more people would be doing it, and then it'd lose it's uniqueness and value. For that reason I kinda enjoy working on labour intensive stuff ... so long as I don't completely ruin my back working over the coffee table :)

Anyway there's lots of good to come with the bad. Firstly, the awesome Shannon has been helping me out heaps, suggesting I try to sell my patterns here and also offering to take some of my jewellery to sell at her sister's upcoming craft party. Thanks again Shannon!

Also I went on a bit of an impulse buying spree and bought these three prints from ashelyg's etsy shop:

Veeeeery much looking forward to receiving them in the post.
Aren't parcels great?

Meanwhile, I continued my purchasing spree by buying this design-nerdy hoodie from veer:

Ok, less spending and more doing - time to think up some new ideas that actually work this time. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Practical Purpose for Pattern-making

Hello, hope everyone had a good weekend! As usual Melbourne had some mad weather in store for us - warm & sunny one day, sideways-winds & buckets of rain the next.

Our weekend was good. Pete and I had some great success with one of his freelance clients - a natropath who is developing a range of herbal/organic body & health products. I've been helping him out by designing patterns for the labels, and all the while we've been keeping our fingers crossed that she'll actually LIKE them. Last time she came over the reaction was not so good: too 'cottagey', too 'old fashioned', 'looks like a doily'. So, we moved away from the classic/vintage feel and went for something a little more modern, which went down well:

It feels good to take my experiments with pattern design and put them to practical, commercial use.

Some progress was also made on the Etsy shop front. I stocked up on some more supplies at the bead shop and made some earrings, experimenting with some different designs and working with polypropylene. If only the stuff wasn't so damn hard to cut. And if only laser cutting wasn't so expensive - that would be so much fun to work with
. Oh well maybe one day!

The shop banner will look something like this :)

Thanks for reading/listening and for all the support and 'company'. Sometimes I think i'd go insane without this blog and wonder how I survived without it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ooh excitement - I just ordered a Gocco Stamp kit for cloth! I remember reading about this kit awhile back but completely dismissing it because I couldn't see how it could be useful. But now, now that I'm trying to tile my design across fabric and paper and using my no-so-good squegee method to make prints... I can see how being able to use the in-machine "stamp" method outside of the machine would be very handy indeed. It's discontinued stock (whyyyy???) but I managed to find one Australian place that sells them. My order isn't completely confirmed yet but fingers crossed nothing goes wrong!

I wish I had more crafty stuff to post, but as it often goes my 'real' work is taking priority. But holidays + birthday are coming up soon which should provide ample time to seriously knuckle down and get that etsy shop going.

Meanwhile, some earrings WIP. Just trying to figure out a construction method that lets the flowers dangle nicely, before I make the other one:

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I ♥ Melbourne

The new ad for Melbourne is finally on TV! Awhile back I stumbled across them filming part of it in Centre Place - there was an actress walking a giant red ball of string down the laneway! I was immediately captivated and curious as to what the end product would be like.

It's an awesome, beautiful piece of cinematography that really capures what I love about Melbourne. It's backed by Joanna Newsom, and you can watch it below:

I love my city, and I also love productive weekends, like the shopping expedition we had this Saturday. It included our first trip to the Rose Street Artist's Market. Pete and I parked our car in the back streets of Fitzroy, but on the way there we stumbled across a quintessential little haberdashery shop down a side street (how very Melbourne). It had a sign out the front advertising fabric coated button making services, so we popped in to have a look, and came out with some trim and some huuuge buttons that Pete picked out.

On to the market. It was everything and more than I expected. All the stalls were great. There was so much good stuff to buy but I held back in case Pete decides to buy something from there for my birthday. I gave him lots of hints :)

There was a lovely chick there called Carla, who designs really nice handbags under the label of Emotional Baggage. I happened to be wearing my blue dot necklace and she commented on it, and encouraged me to try selling them. That's the second complete stranger in two weeks to say that, which is very motivating. So... I'd best go get on to it!

Friday, September 08, 2006

It's friday night and i'm home being boring whilst Pete's out at a poker night with workmates. I feel kind of lame, like i _should_ be out, but it's cold and wet out and I don't much like poker. So it's soppy movies for me tonight.

On the fabric printing front, I exchanged a couple of emails with a screen printer who'd be interested in printing my patterns - yay! So I'll go down to his studio some time soon to discuss prices. I've been there once before, it's very cool. A massive messy/arty/painty warehouse space on Easey st in Collingwood which is shared by a range of different artists. Such a contrast to my little office.

Took the quite-night opportunity to finish off one of my pattern ideas. I'm glad it turned out alright. The colour choice was accidental but looks quite retro so I kept it like that.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend :)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Digital fabric printing update

Today is a better day - I had a client meeting that went really well. We went to the cafe 'Journal' at the City Library which I really like - it has large communal tables which are good for meetings with a laptop. I am starting to feel back on top of things, yay.

I got a reply from the digital fabric printing place. Lengths of 1-5 metres (140cm wide) costs $100 (AUD). Preedy expensive, but I was expecting that. So hmmm, what to do, what to do. I can't exactly sell yardage at prices like that, so maybe this would be a venture more suited to printing packaging for jewelry and what not. Or perhaps I need to investigate the screen printing option further... any thoughts/suggestions out there?

I couldn't very well make a post without including a picture. So here's a little diagram I made recently about how to make a pattern repeating tile in illustrator:

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Work hard play harder

Ohhh, I've been working way too hard this week. All my clients seem to want everything at the same time. Some of them have the weird notion that I should be working on their project and their project alone. It doesn't really work like that. And it also doesn't work in that if they take months to get back to me with content/feedback and are suddenly ready to go - I wont have been sitting around waiting for them with a nice big window of free time. But ahh well, i'll try my best to keep them happy :)


Anyway onto more happy things. I've been inspired by the very talented Kristen Doran to start getting some of my pattern designs out there onto *stuff*. Fabric hopefully, and maybe also gift wrap. Although with gift wrap, you really need to print sheets that are about A2 in size, which means they need to be offset printed, which isn't cost effective unless you get a large run done. Sooo, maybe I just need to prove to myself first that my stuff is saleable before embarking on that journey :)

Fabric printing however might prove to be a little more acessible. I've found a couple of places online who offer digital fabric printing services, and you can order as little as 1m for sampling! I'm just waiting to hear back on prices. Fingers crossed it's not too spenny and looks good.

It's mum's birthday coming up, so I've made her some earrings - some from scratch, the others from some old jewellery of Oma's. At the ripe age of 61 my mother has only just gotten her ears pierced. My brother brought a pair back for her from overseas not realising that she doesn't have pierced ears. Boys! So I took her to Hairhouse Warehouse to get them done :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

50 yellow canaries, hanging from strings

This weekend we wandered into the GPO* and this is what we saw - about 50 bright yellow canaries in cages hanging from strings in the central void. At first I couldn't decide if it was cute or cruel, but in the end decided 'cute' because they were so damn adorable and their little chirpings filled the whole space.

* For non-Melbourne people - the GPO is a fairly new (and very schmancy) shopping space in the middle of the CBD, built into the building that once housed our GPO.