Thursday, August 28, 2014

Unique LA Summer Show Booth Build

Let's face it, I'm playing catch up with the whole blog I just finished Unique USA Summer Edition so there's a whole lot of pics to post. I must resolve to download my iphone pics on a more regular basis and not when it says I'm out of memory as it's taken me at least an hour to sort 1,000 photos into some semblance of order but it means lots more blogs for the immediate future.

 I began this project with three sorry looking canvas frames that had about 1000 staples that had to be removed. I went to Home Depot and had them cut 3 boards to fit the stretchers, hammered those on. Bought a gallon of paint and painted them with a roller before adding the laser cut shelves which had to be glued together, then painted. (Gorilla Glue is AMAZING!)
 This is me in 80 degree heat trying out configurations in a 5ft x 3ft space with furniture I own. Conclusion not enough room so it didn't make it into the booth.
There were 6 shelves added to these two panels.

Love a bit of teal

Cocktails are essential when gluing en masse.

 I had painted these planks of wood grey and used them to create a table top with the wooden boxes as the base which worked out quite well.
Almost forgot my sign.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Unique LA Booth Build (Spring Edition)

This is slightly late but in the interests of documenting this arduous process for posterity, here goes. The space allotted to us was a 10 x 10 acrylic wall corner booth with only two walls. Here is how it went from drab to fab IMHO. Enjoy !!
Lumber shopping

Walls minus paint.

Tada painted, one sore arm later.
These never made it into the booth.

These shelves also never made it, you win some you change your mind some.
Visual merching anthro style.

Yeah, you need a truck for this kind of shenanigans.

Almost there.

Really, this the best picture you got ? Sorry .....

Look at all the people !!

Close up of shelves and goods.

and there you have it !!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Prepping for UNIQUE LA and new stuff

It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks which included a 2 week vacation to visit the family in London and then playing catch up ever since. Unique LA is in a week's time from now May 3 & 4, arggghhhh! I am so fortunate to be sharing a booth with the Uber skilled Kevin from Silicate Studio a man with a wood shop, great vision and a lot of tools.
This is part of the signage, I must draw will be the main header.

I finished signage last night, laser cut of course and will do a whole post on the build. Product wise, a new card line on white, more hand lettered than my usual cheeky pun offerings. Having switched from the mighty ink pen to a brush of late, I've naturally made this transition and I'm excited.

New woodland creatures will be making their debut at Unique along with some new card designs and possibly some mobiles but why don't I just post some pictures already !

From sketch to Product

New Bunny - I'm a magnet

Medals for Mother's and Father's Day

Hand lettered, I'll probably print a colored version on white.

Friday, February 21, 2014

DIY Laser Cutting for Illustrators

I stumbled upon this local DIY laser cut business by pure chance and my brain immediately went into overdrive with the possibilities of this new medium. There was a 2hr intro to laser cutting course which I was a little apprehensive about but in all honestly it's just slightly more complicated than a photocopier, a few more buttons and fans to turn on. (Trying to fax something with the old work copier was far more difficult!!)
As many of you know, I find it difficult to focus on one thing for any length of time. Drawing for me is the consistent and whether its drawing on ceramics, illustrating a card, or sewing a design for me it's all essentially drawing. Like a kid in a candy store I put together about 20 different designs to put the laser cutter through its paces and see what the potential could be. There are a lot of materials that can be cut ranging from paper, leather, wood, glass to anodized metal but the machine also engraves.
I wasn't interested in putting a photo image on wood more exciting for me was the potential of hand drawn illustrations being converted into 3D objects. I was fortunate in day 1 that I had a lot of successes but also I learnt how long things take to engrave, sure its way quicker than doing it by hand but for an 18 x 24 sheet covered in designs, that could easily take well over an hour to cut and engrave.
I scaled back in terms of size for my second go and tested lots of different woods. Some it wouldn't cut through, if the wood is not totally flat that can be an issue, also if it's plywood there may be a thick lump of glue that it can't get past, these were new challenges but for the most part on day 2 more good things. For someone that does handmade I do like a good machine !!!
Here are a few examples of some products that I made.

The bear illustration you might recognize from one of my cards, he turned out really well if a little grumpy.
I did some artwork for my husband's band Special Blend, what started as a screenprint t-shirt design translated beautifully into a wood keychain. I didn't think it would capture all the details so cleanly.
 My new business card.
A new product line which I'm really excited about, working on the packaging right now.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

DIY Product Photos

For those of you lovely people that read my blog you may have noticed some changes of late, namely everything's gone a bit whiter. Like the studio clear out I felt it was time to clean up. Now that my focus has shifted more towards the illustration side of things, I needed to place the emphasis more on that side of my output. As part of this overhaul I knew my product photos needed help, previously lack of time was my excuse but no longer. I like taking photos (of people/dogs) and once upon a time I did a photography course in a proper studio and learnt about aperture and shutter speed etc, my issue is I get bored. I did some visual research and made notes on what caught my eye and sketched out some composition ideas. I didn't want to go the all white backdrop route, can't tell you why exactly.

I needed props, or so I thought... I know I'll tie in the subject of the card I'm shooting with an appropriate prop. Organisational disorder ensued, as those familiar with my output know my cards range from food puns to animals, that's a lot of props everything from a microphone to potatoes!

After an hour or so I was back to a simple backdrop and shooting different angles. What I learned from this is you have to take risks and even if something looks great on a tiny screen it doesn't always translate and vice versa. Below are all unedited photos, no cropping or whitening....yet.

All were taken using my Canon 60D and natural daylight only, (read I hate flash) and without a tripod (yes I have one but I'm lazy and the dogs were in the way.)

So after I downloaded my morning's efforts and I really didn't mind some of the prop shots after all.  I think the ones that work have enough visual interest to look editorial. There were some that were overboard but I was trying to do to much, less is more. Still got about another 60 cards to shoot but it's a start, just going to need to make sure they are all cohesive. Feel free to comment below.
Card on a plate, through the viewfinder the white contrast looked good

A lot of wood !
The idea of the card being on display
Shells tie in with the fish theme could be repeated for Crab, again did not think this would work.
Going for the hand sketched angle, hated it at the time but now really like it.
Simple clothes line set up using natural light
A little dull but works.

My not so helpful helpers, bless.

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Year, New Workspace.

First doodle in the new room.
I spent the weeks leading up to Jan 1st frantically organizing my workspace ready for a fresh tidier 2014. It could get bad in there so much so that I would work elsewhere rather than face the mess. It took a while, time when I could have been creating but it was long overdue. I went through all my supplies, donated things I wasn't going to use and organized everything else. Extraneous furniture, big pictures were all creating clutter so out they went. The transformation was low budget, I found some wooden shelves while walking the dogs and an hour later got them home. They had been painted black but nothing that a bit of sanding couldn't cure. Other shelves from Ikea had been languishing in a closet as I waited for the right spot to put them up. My main eye opener was the fact that I had a million containers everywhere and they were all full of junk, so one by one I dumped them out and put everything in its place, needles, pin backs , small bits of fabric etc.

BEFORE: Sometimes during a busy spell it could get like this !!

BEFORE: Too much stuff not enough storage.

So the comfy chair was a good idea in theory, but just took up to much room. Out with the chair and in with the new/old shelf to form a wall and also a nook for hiding stuff from view (occasionally.) What isn't visible is the amount of stuff under the tables. The sewing machine is now stored below and comes out when its needed. Similarly the cutting mats are on hand but not on permanent display. A large walk in closet holds about 2 years worth of accumulated wool and fabric. There are also 12 clear plastic draws which also store supplies and packaging. I have not bought any fabric since the clearout as I have so much. It took a day to go through and sort the chest of draws so everything has a home.

Supplies which are used frequently are close at hand. Since this shot was taken a magnetic strip has gone up, a place to pin inspiring things as well as some pictures.

I got some colored cotton for Christmas and then added more in the sale, now I have a pretty decent set.

The guitar isn't part of my decor ! but its a small compromise in a room which is otherwise full of my stuff.

Added: Magnetic strip for inspiration and scissors.
I glove you clean workspace

Card packaging zone.
A handy thrift store find, filing cabinet on wheels stores all my patterns with a handy draw below for my sewing box. The wall decor is a work in progress.
Supplies and stock shelf

From yucky black wood shelves to very useful white ones, great free find, also acts as a wall and backdrop for photos on the wood side. Metal paper tray keeps loose papers at bay till they get filed.

Taken today as proof that it is still tidy 19 days into the new year.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Time Misteltoe and Wine.....

The busiest time of the year was upon me and I've been hard at it creating and making (and clearly not blogging!). I read somewhere that now is NOT the time to make completely new products but where's the fun in that ?
So alongside the classics I've been able to experiment in ceramics at least and hopefully make some new classics!

A few of the tree ornaments.
Porcelain, glaze and oxide.
Hoping to establish a Ceramic line and here are some bowls.
This Special bowl has a new home already.
Here's a photo from Maker's Marketplace at Creative Outlet Studios.
A new House pillow inspired by a ceramic ornament I made.
There is more to come but wanted to get at least one blog in before the new year!