Monday, April 30, 2012

Quick Update

Side Post: I just wanted to update you guys on the progress of my etsy shop! Now that school is done, I am in the process of shifting my attention to getting that fully up and going. I will admit I looked at etsy over the weekend and it might take a bit for me to get the hang of things but if you guys stick around I will be fully operational soon. I even just ordered business cards finally! I hope to get brand spankin' new fabulous pictures of everything for my shop, and am planning an awesome give-away to celebrate my opening. More details will be posted soon!

Life After School and Lino Printing!

So its over. I'm home from my last day of school in who knows how long. I know I've been complaining endless for the last year about how much I can't wait to get my free time back, but I'm going to miss it. I have a pretty good feeling that I'll be back eventually. Bye school, I'll miss you.

Oh and a recap to the reactions from my class on my hut project: I found it somewhat amusing that no one really got the concept I built my hut around. It was more interesting to see all the different reactions to it, one person said it reminded them of little forts they used to build as kids (me too!), and another said it really was a physical realization of the fear that many college students have graduating of ending up living in a cardboard box (or in this case a tent made of clothes) being unsuccessful at life. I love how it generated so many reactions.

Anyway, onto what I have been working on over the weekend, another TUTORIAL!! I've been meaning to do another one for a while, but wasn't sure what to do it on. But then it struck me, as I was trying to think of a neat print to make for some cards, duh, make a tute on some printmaking techniques that are awesome and easily done at home! So here it is guys. With LOTS of pictures.


Everything you'll need:
-your choice of linoleum
-sharpie and/or pencil
-water-based block printing ink
-plexiglass or other hard surface that is washable

First of all you need to pick out your material. There's so many under the sun to choose from but I pulled some out of my stash to share with you.


The one on the bottom is Golden Cut lino, which is pretty tough to carve. It's not impossible but nothing like the cut-through-like-butter lino you'd find in the typical craft store. It does have benefits like the ability to carve intricate textures that are more difficult to achieve on softer lino, but for at home purposes I probably wouldn't suggest it (I just pulled it out because that's what we used in my printmaking class and I had scraps left over).

The second type I have is Blue Easy-To-Cut Lino. It's actually a nice medium between the super soft speedy cut linos (pink and white/gray type) and the golden cut. It's a bit more plasticy in texture which makes it more resilient to careless carving. My only complaint with this one is it is rather thin, and as I tend to carve deeply I often cut right through the lino making holes. Not the end of the world but it's a bit of a hassel.

The last one I have in the picture is Speedy Carve pink lino which is my favorite lino to carve with at home. It is soft but still has a little bit of resilience to it. It kind of feels like you're carving rubber so as long as you take care not to go crazy fast with a cutting blade you have a fair amount of control with it, without having to kill you wrists carving. Now if you don't have any of these linos or don't want to shell out the money for them (some are more expensive than others) there are a lot of other materials that will give you a similar effect like erasers. I just prefer the lino because it gives you so much more room to work if you feel like working bigger =) Oh also as a side note: I'd be wary of the gray and/or white kinds. I've had ones that were similar to the speedy carve pink kind and were great, but more often than not they crumbled way to easily and didn't have the elasticity that speedy carve has - I wouldn't recommend it.

You will also need a cutter (sorry forgot to get a picture of that!). They come with a variety of different blade sizes and shapes which are handy depending on the type of carving and detail you are working on. Now to the actual carving! Here's our lino.


 I drew a fun little design in sharpie to guide my blade as I carve. Pencil also works too but I like the bold lines a sharpie gives. First step is to carve the outline of everything with the smallest cutter blade you have (#1 or Liner blade). For a simple design like this it doesn't take too long, but for something more complicated, you'll be using the smallest blade for a while to get all the little corners and angles cut out.


You can also see that I've filled in some of the leaves with more sharpie. It helps me to do that so when I'm doing the detailing of the leaves I can see the shapes I'm creating as I carve. Sometimes it helps to fill in areas with color so that you can better visualize the way it will print.


Next I took out my biggest, widest cutter (#5 or Large Gouge blade) and carved away all the "waste" area, or large areas that need to be carved away quickly. Take care to stay away from the detail work as the large blade can easily ruin it by accidentally slicing through it.


Next I used the second smallest blade (#2 or V-Gouge blade) to cut away the remaining lino. All done with carving! Now to print!


Squeeze out a little bit of the ink onto your plexiglass (or substitute) and roll it out so that you have fully coated your brayer.


Apply to the lino, making sure it is fully covered with ink.

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Press it face down onto your paper and use another brayer, a spoon, or your hands to apply pressure transferring the image to your paper.


You can gently pick up the lino to see how well the image has transferred - hold down the lino on one side so it doesn't move if you have to place it back down; if it hasn't make a clean print yet, keep rubbing! Here's our completed print! Maybe a little too much ink as it has a bit of a smooshed look to it, and not crisp lines, but not bad!


Here's some more pictures of another block I was working on to give you an idea.

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Happy printing!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Hobo Tent

Well, that's not what it is really. lol. Just my little nickname for it I guess. If you haven't already guessed I was inspired by nomadic shelters. Actually it began as a serious case of spring fever. When I get spring fever it just means I want to clean all my closets out and get rid off all the junk I never use and yet somehow accumulate to ridiculous proportions. Living in a small apartment just doesn't make that easy. (Side thought: I'm scared to see how much I could accumulate if I ever lived in a big house, yikes). To be fair, a lot of the clutter came from school projects and excess supplies, etc that just got tossed in a corner, and with the last weeks of school being so busy I never bothered to put anything away.

BUT ANYWAYS I ramble. Needless to say I needed to get rid of some stuff. And somehow this got me thinking about how ridiculous it is that I/We/generalized Western Culture have evolved to this point where so much pointless crap fills up our lives and to what purpose? None. Cue the several nights of research and googling of nomadic cultural habitations. I mean, these guys carried their lives on their backs (in some cases literally) and certainly didn't feel less fulfilled because they didn't have this or that. It just wasn't a concept to have anything that didn't serve a specific purpose to their lives and survival. Now I know that in many cases, different time, different place, different values, but its really the value of simplification that I find myself trying to instill in my life...sort of. To a certain extent....I do have a bit of weak spot when it comes to art supplies haha.

But anyway here's the concept: I wanted to make my own nomadic-style shelter using crap from my own apartment (more on this in a minute) that is totally non-essential to my life - sort of a juxtaposition of values, making something that would normally be an integral part of life (i.e. shelter) out of superficial unnecessary material (not that clothes are unncessary - I'm glad we have clothes, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable in a naked society...yeah not that evolved I guess) but the sheer amount of clothes that I have and then never wear is just stupid. .....well I thought so anyway, until I realized I didn't have enough clothes with which to actually make my shelter oops. Thankfully I have a lot of helpful friends/family/acquaintances who were more than willing to give me their unwanted clothes (so the concept is still solid!) and now I have this...


Here's it in a few building stages


The structure is made from pvc pipes that I drilled holes into and then wired together to make a rough lean-to sort of shape. Ideally I wanted it to be a bit more geometric but the math was confusing and I got headaches...yeah not good. Anyway simple is better. As you can see in the next picture it filled up my entire living room - a bit difficult to work on indoors unfortunately.


And a bunch more pictures of it from a few angles, and even inside ooooh though I'll say now the inside pictures don't do it justice. I filled it with all the leftover clothes so it felt a bit claustrophobic really giving a visceral feel to how much stuff we have in our lives that we don't need but the pictures don't convey it at all.

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 A big thanks to Geo, Stacy, Cyndy, Shannon, Jenn, Nicole and the random person from freecycle that gave me a bunch of jeans! You made it possible!!!

I fluctuate between thinking it really hits on what I felt when I came up with this idea and thinking it looks like a hobo tent....hopefully my classmates will think the former when I present it tomorrow! Last day of class! Crazy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A week and counting

One week til the end of my college career as it stands now. I'm down to one last project to complete for fibers and this is how my work area looks....


Yikes. I'll be spilling the beans on my secret installation project (for those who don't know yet) once I'm done and get some good pictures. Til then, it's back to slaving in front of the sewing machine.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Another show!

I got into another art show with my Valley print, this time The Print which is being held at the Ann Arbor Art Center! I'm really proud of this because it is a juried show open to any printmaking artist in Michigan. My print will be on sale too.....and I think if I did my math right after the entry fee and cost for supplies and framing, I'd earn a profit of about...uh...maybe $5. haha. But It's totally not about selling to me. I'm just stoked to be in the show!

Speaking of shows, here are some pictures taken by one of the ladies who ran the Women of Art show. It's kind of weird to see my stuff in a gallery setting but also very cool.





Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The biggest key of them all.

Just turned in my key project so I have a few pictures I can share. I didn't want to spoil the surprise before because it doesn't look super great until it was strung up and hung properly. Anyway it turned out ok in the end, even if it wasn't a super fun project to do.

In pieces strewn around my apartment.


Floppy unimpressive pose on the table


Hung up proper in class.


Now I wonder what lock it would open...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lists Lists Lists I love Lists

Working away on my projects. Key project is just shy of finished, though I need to do something about the structural integrity of it =/ Sculptural print project is in progress, I'm about ready to start assembling all the pieces so I'm excited to see how it's going to turn out! And pictures have been taken of some of the progress which I will share in a couple of big posts as to keep it all together and somewhat organized.

Here's my work area, completely cluttered up with random supplies from this and that


It's getting to the point where I'll have to clean it up just to continue functioning. I hate it when it's that messy.

And since I'm in the final weeks of my college experience, I thought I'd mark the countdown with a list of what I need to get accomplished before it's all done.

1. Assemble sculptural print (due this Thursday)

2. Make final tweaks to key project (due tomorrow)

3. Finish final intaglio print (due a week from Thursday) - this one I'm kind of dreading...the progress has gone a little...sideways. I'm crossing my fingers I can recover from any mistakes and make it awesome.

4. Start/Finish final installation project for fibers (due 4/23 two weeks from now eek) - I am so so so pysched for this one. And relieved that I have an awesome idea that I can put all my energy into. I won't say too much now but I'll leave you with these inspiration pictures to contemplate =D


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dreaming of future projects

I have been so busy with school stuff lately I barely have time to think. But in my snippets of free time I keep thinking of all the projects I can't wait to tackle.

Some alternative jewelry is a must. I learned about wrapping techniques in my fibers class and can't wait to play with it more on my own. These pieces are awesome, and I'll be trying to make my own soon.


I might try making some coiled bowls too. I'm still a little nervous to try the sewn type but I think I could make a pretty cool hand-coiled bowl.

Ok back to homework. I will have project updates soon!
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