Friday, March 22, 2013

Flag Progress:From paper to fabric in one easy motion -

If anyone out there knows of a better way to do this - please! Speak up! Share your knowledge.  Meanwhile, I continue to stumble down the Flag Road left to my own devices.  Since the intended design involves two blocks there is a little matter of registration.  The problem has been how to get the fabric down onto the registration jig in the right place since it is floppy, you know.  So, I went back to when I was doing the large hanga prints and managed to get the floppy paper down by using a carrier sheet.  But, how to get the fabric onto the block with a carrier sheet.  My solution is to use an easy tack adhesive, intended for moving paste-ups and such around.  I sprayed the carrier sheet with the Easy Tack:

So far, so good.  I can flip this over and the fabric doesn't flop to the counter top.  I was able to get it down on the jig in good form.

And, even through the press, using the wonderful little rubber blanket which the PIP printers gave to me.  If you are in the market, I'm sure any printer would be happy to donate a sheet or two.  I just wish PIP used bigger blankets.  A splurge to buy one may be in my future.  We'll see....

I'm pleased!  None of the actual flags will be on purple fabric and this piece is all wonky-wishy.  It is a remnant I found in the bottom of the left-overs box and was a solid color so it was immediately drafted into service.

The fabric ink I had ordered does not roll on and print satisfactorily.  Nor does it paint onto the block and print satisfactorily, therefore I am back to good old oil based etching ink.  It does not stiffen the fabric one iota and should be tough enough to withstand the elements.  I will be trying these out in various parts of the country - if you would like to be a tryer-outer, let me know.  So far, I have one desert dweller and one Northwestern gardner (me).  They will be subjected to blazing hot sun and horrendous hot winds on one side and deluges of water, algae and moss on the other end.  Should they survive one season of this menu I will consider marketing them - otherwise, it is just a fun project and I want them for my garden, anyway.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Great Border Debate

No, not the Northern border, although we do have to watch for those Canadians, and not the Southern border either - but the prayer flag border.  That is the problem.  One should never mess around printing anything more than one way.  It almost always leads to distraction not to mention being stalled on top dead center not knowing which way to go now.

It greatly surprised me that I was drawn to the gold border.  It had looked way to anemic on its own, but add the mum and somehow - the wonder of color theory, I suspect - the central image pops forth, where as in the black/gold border the central image is being controlled.  So now, do I want to pop or stay within bounds.  That is the question.  All opinions will be gratefully accepted.  Please.

Unfortunately, this is a rather poor gold proof, but it was what I had left, having screwed up one way or another on the other 3 or 4 I had ready to go.  I had a devil of a time getting the press set to the correct pressure.  My planets must be whirling around every which way because they are definitely not lined-up properly.  By the time I solved the problem of the press, and the problem of the brayer that was not inking in the middle, I was too spent to print more gold borders.  Bear with me, this may take a while.

However, I did knock 'em dead at luminosity this afternoon when I took a break.  I was a lot younger then.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mum Proof

Today was proofing day on the mum segment of the flag project - here's a sample of the days product:

 I'm happy - there's minimal clean up -

But, then I messed about with the border, thinking I wanted something gold-ish.  The first is black with gold:

And the next is just the gold alone:

I thought I would want the gold alone, but now I'm not sure.  The black with the gold looks pretty rich.  Tomorrow, time allowing, I'll put them together and see which is better.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mum's The Word

It was an all around successful day in the studio.  The Blossom Race was a runaway win with the old fashioned, albeit perennial favorite, Chrysanthemum as the undisputed winner.  Truthfully, there was never any doubt about who the winner would be - friendship had to be in the mix.  The drawing went well and I may have uncovered the secret to getting that transfer paper to do a better job of its intended purpose.  First, the image needs to be 300 dpi.  Second, the paper setting should be on plain white paper.  Third, the ink should be set to black or grayscale.  Fourth, use a baren to burnish the image to the block.  So, there you go - all secrets have been bared for all to see.

The only addition I could ask for would be some Artificial Intelligence that would automatically know not to transfer the lines I decided not to use....   Maybe in a parallel universe.

Meanwhile, tomorrow morning the carving will begin.  Can't wait to get started.  Being a printmaker  is so much like being a kid playing with favorite toys.  Think of the studio as a playpen although  I don't know that parents use those anymore.  I guess kids go to daycare instead.  Well, think of the studio as my daycare without a supervising know-it-all adult.  (Although, at times I could use one....)

The Rose Marches On

A memory must be a wonderful thing to have.  I wish I could remember when I had mine.  There should be a course, somewhere in the academic career of each individual, which would require that all students be mandated to cherish their memories because they will be bound to screw up at some time in their life.  Apparently, that day has arrived, once again, in mine.  Maybe it was wishful thinking, but I could have sworn that the rose was the final prayer flag image.  Alas, it is only the penultimate.  Nevertheless, this is what has happened since the previous post.  At least, this is my memory of it.

The block is carved and ready to proof:

And the proof:

There are a few little spots to clean up, but not too bad for a person with no memory.

So now, as they say, it is back to the drawing board for the final image.  Which one will it be? I had several tied for last place when I thought the rose had won.  It would appear that I need to revert to a previous post to see what the heck those were.  Stay tuned.  Providing I remember to post again the secret will be revealed.

BTW - have I mentioned that I've been doing the brain exercises?  It may not be believable, but I have been very good at doing these 5 days a week.  They are guaranteed to improve ones memory. Hmmmmm. Maybe I should see about a refund.  If I can remember.....