Finally, the wait is over. Whilst feeling excited, I was also quite anxious about how my tribal mask design would print onto the t-shirt fabric.
What do you think? Would you buy a tee like this? Comments all welcome.
After learning a lot from my initial lino printing attempt, I decided to take it further with a more detailed print. Using one of my own images of a tribal mask, I spent an entire day creating the print.
Step 1 - Marking the design
I began by sketching rough shapes and outlines with a white pencil. Once the guidelines were down, I used a silver sharpie pen to add detail. This was the perfect choice as it stood out clearly against the black lino.
Step 2 - Cutting
As the title implies, the next step is to cut the lino. The main decision to make is whether to cut out the negative space (black around the sharpie) or the actual design (silver detail). The final design will vary depending on which choice you make. I chose to cut the black negative space, so my final print would be the mask itself.
Step 3 - Testing the print
It is always advisable to test the lino by printing onto paper. This shows where more refined cuts are needed to clean up the final print. I chose to roll a rough background of red paint before applying the lino in black.
My review - need to add more paint and press harder on a flat surface. This will hopefully make the black bolder and more visible.
After several hours hard graft, I managed to refine my lino blocks to the point where printing was possible. Having prewashed and ironed the shawl, I could now begin printing directly onto the fabric.
Take a peek at the results of this test below.
In a slight tangent from my usual digital photographic medium, I have been experimenting with the tangible world of lino printing. Not only do you get a tremendous sense of calm and focus when cutting, but you also experience a rush of excitement and anticipation when you finally get to print!
Here is my journey so far.... enjoy!
Step 1 - Choose an image to transfer onto lino
I chose one of my own photographs. My decision to go with this design was based on it's simplicity and bold shapes - far easier to practise with compared to more intricate designs.
Step 2 - Get cutting!
Using a range of cutting tools, I began cutting around the design. Remember, whatever you've drawn onto the lino will be revered when you print (luckily this design works either way around).
Tip - try to cut deep enough where you want to avoid paint transferring (shallow cuts may still print if paint gets into the gaps)
Step 3 - Testing the print
After cutting out both dove designs, I wanted to test the prints onto paper. I found this especially useful as a way of identifying areas where the cuts were too shallow (you'll be able to see flecks of paint where it should be blank).
I can then go back to refining the finish of each lino print before going onto the fabric.
Step 4 - Prepare the fabric
I bought a cheap pashmina style shawl to practise my first set of prints on. Before printing, I hand washed the shawl to ensure any excess colour washed away first. After drying and ironing, it is now ready for printing.
Step 5 - Time to print
This week, I'll be going into printing onto the fabric. Watch this space to see how it turns out!
Having some free time on my hands, I decided to set my self a challenge of upcycling boring, unloved everyday objects. After a short browse of the local charity shops, I stumbled across two interesting designs; a retro teapot and a plain but well kept wooden fruit bowl.
Imitating one of my favourite artists, Jackson Pollock, I began transforming these dull pieces into works of art. It's amazing how much fun you can have from flicking paint!
What next? Something larger and more challenging... maybe a chest of drawers or a coffee table?
Remember the 'olden days' when a 3D film at the cinema involved wearing naff red and green card glasses (found out they're called Anaglyph glasses)? Well, how about seeing 2D art come to life in the same manner?
In my experimenting times, I've been transforming my prints into red/cyan masterpieces.
After a month or so of getting my product out into the market place, I am beginning to tinker with new ideas. Like any Del Boy or dealer, a good businessman needs to continuously innovate and develop to meet customer needs. Here are my findings to date:
Bearing all these findings in mind, I have started to explore other ways to sell my art (outside of prints and cards). Having found a UK supplier that prints onto a wide range of products, I've decided to go with magnets and pocket mirrors. Both are great value, easy to carry and great presents!
What do you think?
0800: Arrive to a market full of traders, huddling in a crowd, awaiting the market manager. I managed to get a pitch near the centre of the market, in the middle of the hustle and bustle.
0930: Set up is exhausting! With a little help, we managed to get the stall looking enticing.
0950: Ten minutes before opening, an American tourist pops by to buy some souvenirs for taking back across the pond. Wow! what a start to sell before I've opened.
1000: Market opens - anticipating the mad rush...
1100: Mad rush still being eagerly anticipated...
1230: The wafting scents of tasty food floats across from the other end of the market. Mmmmm...
1400: Friends and family stop by for a morale boost
1530: Uplifted by a late sale. Positive feedback from visitors has given me hope that better trading days are to come.
1700: Time to pack up. According to fellow traders, today has been VERY slow. Whilst frustrating, this is a great relief to me as I look forward to busier days ahead!
Whilst selling at market is both tiring and requiring a vast amount of patience, I have to admit that it is one of the most exciting and inspiring things to do.
Bring on day 2...
The time has nearly arrived. Over the past few months, I've been making preparations for bringing my art work to market; specifically Greenwich market. Not only is this a great venue to showcase and sell my art, but it is one of my personal favourite places to browse on a sunny weekend.
In the build up to this point, I've had to get to grips with so many aspects of market trading. From insurance to lighting, stall design to pricing strategies, it's been a steep learning curve - but fun too!
Initially, I thought selling at market was as simple as creating art and selling it - how wrong I was! Trading to a wide range of customers, from eager tourists to browsing locals, is an artform in it's own right. This week, I'll find out just how much of a challenge I am taking on...
Keep up to date with my market escapades right here over the next few days...