I’ve been offered an exhibition at Slate in Leytonstone, a display venue for local artists using the windows of the closed council offices on the corner of Church Lane and Leytonstone High Road. That starts on December 17th and runs for six weeks, and I’ll be showing some of everything!
Since I haven’t posted recently about what I’ve been making, here’s some relevant picspam. These all involve photography & quite a lot of obsessive vector art. As always, click through to Flickr for the full-size versions.
This is a sign I made for craft fairs—it’s a nice heavy block of reclaimed hardwood, thick enough to stand up on its own, and it proved very eye-catching indeed. Commercial laser-cutting is very expensive (I’ve been quoted £1 a minute) but London Hackspace own their own laser-cutter, and £3 an hour covers maintenance, electricity, and replacement laser tubes. I shaped the wooden block by hand, squaring it off with a chisel and smoothing it with a knife & sandpaper. The text is all digital; the font is True Golden from Scriptorium Fontworks, based on William Morris’s Golden Type, while the E is done in Roughwork, reverse engineered from True Golden capitals to show construction lines. Since I’m a big William Morris fan, these are perfect for my purposes… and if only True Golden had proper double-quotes, it would be wonderful overall, but the left double quote is backwards. (This doesn’t match Kelmscott Press originals; I went to check specially. It’s entirely inexplicable.) I did all the designs in Inkscape (free open source vector graphics programme, much recommended) and from there they load straight into the computer which controls the laser cutter.
I’ve been making jewellery blanks with a scalpel so far, but that means I can’t do curves or complex shapes with small cutouts reliably. The laser cutter, on the other hand, can cut anything it likes quickly and precisely. These shapes are done in MDF, which lacks the romance of paper but was sitting right there in the offcut bin. Since the offcut bin also had a nice chunk of 10mm perspex in, I decided to try re-running a couple of the text designs on that for comparison. As you can see, they all turned out perfectly readable, though with the perspex of course it depends on the light and the viewing angle. I’m looking forward to experimenting with painting all these blanks—part of the reason for this experiment was to see if I could engrave text that would still be legible once painted. Given the shallowness of the engraving (sort of necessary on this scale, if I wasn’t to set the whole thing on fire) I’m a little dubious, but we can see.
I’ve added some new jewellery to my Etsy shop. This set are double-layered artist’s mountboard, cross-grained for strength & stiffness, and reinforced with a total of five or six layers of paint & varnish. I’ll put them up for strength against most metal jewellery, and I inadvertently managed to prove that they’re waterproof by leaving one in the pocket of my jeans before laundry day.
Because I’m nice, and because it’s quite thoroughly springtime (as opposed to the freak mini-summer we had last week) the code SUNSHINE will get you free shipping for a week or two.
Like every other printmaker out there, I get misprints of different degrees of horrendousness whenever I try and do something. I’m lucky; I get more good prints than misprints. But that doesn’t mean I like waste, so I’ve been looking for things to do with the discards instead.
Since I discovered that Mod Podge works really well as a sealant for water-soluble printing ink, without picking it up and smearing it around, I’ve been trying out a few things, and this is one of the results.
As I posted about before, they’re lacquered and laminated paper, strong & flexible, with ribbons to tie at the back. You can find the Etsy listing here.
This has now found its proper home, and the lucky winner has very kindly given me a photo to post.
Sounds like a silly idea, but it’s actually a really good material—tough, lightweight, and durable. That black & silver choker is made from Fabriano Tiziano pastel paper, folded & laminated, and then very thoroughly varnished. It ends up very like thin leather, but it’s entirely vegan. (Not all papers are; most art paper uses animal gelatin for sizing. Fabriano use acrylic sizing, though.)
I’d made a couple of these already, without having had the time, or a model, to show them off properly, but these two were done (and put into my intermittent prototype giveaway bonanza) as an experiment to see whether I could attach a D-ring to the underside in a secure and decorative fashion. The answer, it turns out, is “yes”—the knot at the back isn’t going to be proof against a hard tug, if any of my customers were prone to do such things, but even if I’d put a buckle in the D-ring and strap would still be quite strong enough.
I’ve also been making more of these pendants—they’re artist’s mountboard with a ribbon loop, very light (barely a gram each) and rather tough. The design is Roberson liquid metal ink, done with a No. 6 italic nib.
Permanent acrylic, works well with a dip pen. Much less flow than Daler-Rowney FW, so I can get much thinner, closer lines, and doesn’t separate out—the pigment loading on the paper is much better. This is their dark silver, on DR Murano Holly paper.
Here’s the first of the pieces of epoxy jewellery I posted about recently, modelled by its happy new owner. The image links to a larger closeup view. When I’ve passed over the other two to their final destinations, I’ll see if I can get pictures of those to show off too.
Here are three of the pieces I was experimenting with at the beginning of February – I’ve been working on them on and off, coat after coat of paint and then varnish, and now they’re sitting on my desk waiting to go to their new owners. They’re all prototypes – I’m happy with the look of each of them, but there are lessons to be learned from them all too.
Pendant, 45x65mm, weighs 21g. Ultramarine swirled panel in an epoxy setting, with an antiqued bronze finish. One of the advantages of using two-part epoxy over polymer clay is that it cures at room temperature, rather than having to be heated in the oven, so I can use acrylic paints and (as here) inset rectangles of artist’s mountboard, without worrying about what that sort of heat will do to it. Next time I do one of these, I’ll drill a larger hole (or two holes) to loop cord through directly, rather than trying to bend a jump ring threaded through that thickness of solid material.
Brown & gold choker slide, 35mm square, weighs 8g. Sits a bit lower on the ribbon than it does in the picture – next time, I’ll centre the slide on the back a bit more. I actually made three others using the same paper, but didn’t clean the work area quite thoroughly enough and got flecks of epoxy on the front surface. So that’s another area to be careful with.
Aventurine & bronze choker slide, 20x30mm, weighs around 12g. Aventurine cabochon stone in an epoxy setting, with an antiqued bronze finish. I need to be a bit more careful about moulding the epoxy around the slide – this one ended up weighing a bit more than it had to, and I had to clear the slide holes with a scalpel after it had finished curing.