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Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 roundup.

What a year!
Heaps of momentum and many letterpress highlights!
With the arrival of the Admiral, it took me some time to get him commissioned and set up. Mainly because I was busy with everything else but also I admit to being a bit scared! Thanks to the help of dad, and husband he is on his way - motorized and all!

  • The ETSY WA Street team was started, of which I am a team captain, we held our first ETSY conference
  • I was published in Bespoke magazine, a printed version of Tickle the Imagination, the West Australian Newspaper Habitat Magzine, in Shop till you drop - the ETSY lift out
  • I was part of  Yes Dear's give and take - a wonderful handmade initiative
  • I joined Montage and was in my first retail shop - run by a group of like mined talented crafters and designers
  • I had so much fun at several markets throughout the year.
  • I traveled to Hong Kong and visited the Wai Che printing company
Thank you to everyone that supported me and let me know they loved my products by buying or commissioning me to produce them!

Watch this space! That huge fly wheel has some power and is not stopping after 120years of operation!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Christmas letterpress goodies!

Introcducing our 2012 Christmas range!
Christmas bauble Coasters (also can be 'converted' into tags)

Christmas bauble card

Kookaburra in a gum tree card

Joy to the world - julehjerte card

Christmas quiz coasters

Season's greetings, Willie Wagtail notelets

Christmas Cheer card

Monday, October 8, 2012

Why Thank you!

You may remember (well of course you do... right..) a few months back I was lucky to be published in Bespoke magazine. I wrote an article about the 'Growing pains of an adolescent business'. I was very pleased to recieve heaps of great feedback from lovely readers but one gorgeous lady wrote me this very special email.
"Your article in the current Bespoke zine is EXACTLY!!! spot on how I feel and think about my little art & craft thing, (too special to call a hobby, too young and green to call a business... yet). I am just at the stage where my stockpile is growing and will soon be ready to hold a stall at my local market. I am busy Mum of two, assistant karate instructor and administrator of my husband's Dojo, so it is very difficult trying to get my routine down pat and then stick to it. Any time management advice would be so welcome.
 The marketing article by Nikky Starrett suggests trawling the endless web of online craft info, blogs and creators to really make sure we are unique and get a good perspective of the craft world and where we fit in. Which is fantastic advice and I need to do more of it. But it literally means hours and hours in front of the screen, does it not?
I am a little relieved to have vented on you, so sorry and thank you. I don't have anyone close at hand who understands the difficulties of a creator/crafter/artist whatever I am. LOL! Rockhampton QLD is the beef capital not exactly the creative capital.
So it is an exciting concept moving from "at home" to getting myself and my wares "out there" but also a scary one.   
Your article made me laugh out loud and cry too, just a bit.  
I love what I do and that's why I do it and the rest is a bonus. thanks for reminding me of that.
Cheers, Leah
No - thank you Leigh!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Craft makes a comeback

Original article taken from <,craft-makes-a-comeback.aspx>

Craft makes a comeback

16 Jul 2012 | Nolan Giles

The traditional process is undergoing a resurgence as designers spurn digital for print with the human touch

Where does letterpress technology fits in today’s industry? For decades, the answer would have been: in the office reception, beside the sign-in book, in front of a wall of framed awards. But ageing platens and presses are once again proving they deserve a spot on the pressroom floor.

Yes, the machines are temperamental antiques. Sure, the makeready process is excruciatingly slow. Of course the wastage is monumental. But at a time when late-model Speedmasters can be spending too much time sitting idle at some commercial print shops, many an ancient Heidelberg Windmill is whirring away somewhere, churning out lucrative work.

Many view digital printing as the future for any products that aren’t replaced by electronic communications. That’s a sound argument, but for some projects, people want print that looks and feels like print.

Not convinced? Sales of conventional presses are at an all-time low. The worst hit are the used machinery dealers. But when ProPrint spoke to a range of secondhand specialists late last year, Allied Machinery’s Craig Huckstep saw a silver lining.

“There are fewer customers around, but if we buy the right stock there is still always someone for it. Mind you, we’ve sold more old letterpress machines and Heidelberg platens in the past few months than we’ve sold in the last 10 years.”

There’s a letterpress revival going on.

Soul searching

Watermarx Graphics, based in Sydney suburb of Brookvale, views this resurgence as both a boost for speciality printers and a wake-up call for commercial printers that focus on price over quality. The eight-year-old business has watched printing in Australia limp haphazardly into the digital age. Today, while the general commercial print sector undergoes some deep soul searching, speciality printing, particularly letterpress, is flourishing.

“Letterpress provides that tactile point of difference,” says Watermarx Graphics co-owner Angela O’Dea.

“I think the letterpress resurgence is very much driven by success stories in the US, and now Aussies want a piece of the pie. Our print shop might look a museum to some of the big guys out there, but when we produce a beautifully embossed or letterpress invite, we are producing something the client truly values.”

Commercial printers need only ask their older pressmen why potential clients are suddenly asking for jobs produced on out-of-production presses from the ’50s.

“It’s the smell that gets them,” says Sydney letterpress printer Nathan Leong, who was championed by ProPrint in last June’s Young People in Print supplement.

Leong is the owner of The Distillery, a start-up print business that has, in one short year, increased floor-space tenfold and tripled its staff roster to keep up with rocketing demand. How many other printers can say that in this market?

There’s emotion in play at The Distillery, says Leong. “We get a lot of older printers in here and their faces just light up when they walk into the space and take in the sights, sounds and smells from the print floors of yesteryear.”

The Australian letterpress resurgence is much more than nostalgia. The love and respect veteran printers have for this technique is clearly contagious. Design agencies are flocking to letterpress establishments to pay top dollar for handcrafted printed pieces. They are willing – eager – to pay for work that would once have been considered sub-par.

Watermarx co-owner Alan Fawcett’s letterpress pedigree dates back to his trade education. His was one of the last years to include letterpress techniques as part of the curriculum.

He reckons he’d be “rapped over the knuckles” for the type of output currently being produced at Watermarx. But far from being shoddy work, this is what clients are demanding: letterpress that looks like letterpress, with deboss and all.

Whether offset or digital, print-outs are still called ‘impressions’, but it is in letterpress that this truly makes sense – and makes money. A one-colour job printed on a triplex 600gsm cotton stock with a deep impression might seem ludicrous to some printers, but it is in demand among big agencies. Some graphic designers are just plain bored with modern ink-on-paper techniques.

“Both young designers and older printers see that the future of ‘commercial’ printing is basically just giant laser printers,” adds Leong

“They are much more interested in an obscure piece of letterpress machinery, like our Ludlow Typograph, used to print Polish newspapers in the ’50s.”

The presses may be outdated, but they have stories and soul, which helps build relationships with their users and customers. The letterpress resurgence is representative of the ‘maker’ movement – restoring belief in the age-old rudimentary relationship between man and machine

Wayne Davis could be Australia’s foremost contemporary letterpress printer; his 19-year-old niche printery Artisan Press is certainly one of the country’s most established. He splits letterpress printing into two broad categories – modern and original. In his 40 years in the industry,
he has mastered both.

“The process – as in the original letterpress printing process – was only really meant to leave a kiss print where ink would just touch paper and leave a mark. In the heyday of letterpress printing, jobs were often printed on 100gsm paper stock, and your boss would give you a kick up the arse if the impression went through the paper.”

“With modern letterpress, it is often about achieving that same print impression, which shows through the stock and is actually a lot easier than a kiss print,” adds Davis.

Step up to the plate

The other noticeable difference, between modern and classic letterpress printing has been the introduction of photo-polymer plates in the printing process. Davis notes that the makeready involved in producing a photopolymer plate isn’t quite as involved as setting up wooden
and lead blocks, and is the most viable and flexible option for a commercial letterpress printer.

Davis is proud to have done his printing apprenticeship at Nosek & Co in Waterloo in Sydney in the ’60s. The business, which went bust after the rise of the compact disc, was revered for the high-quality vinyl sleeves its compositors and pressmen would produce for clientele that included Sony and EMI.

“The time we spend on makeready at Artisan Press is the difference between our work and other peoples work. That time and care taken in the makeready was drummed into me when I used to print record covers at Nosek & Co, because each cover had to be perfect,” says Davis.

He describes the time of his apprenticeship as the transition point between letterpress and offset, and also the time when the trade moved away from being about the relationship between man and press.

“Letterpress printing varies with every job. There is no golden rule from a pressman’s point of view,” says Davis.

“When a printer just does the same thing every day he might as well be a process worker. In digital, there is no real makeready and I think a print job is most rewarding when you can look back at the finished product and see why the pre-press procedures you carefully undertook made it print perfectly.

“There’s not much involved with being a compositor these days.”

Premium label

Melbourne-based Chapel Press began eight years ago, printing invitations for brides-to-be on a 1920s Chandler & Price hand-fed platen press. The business now runs a fleet of letterpress machinery, printing for premium clients such as fashion house Tom Ford, HP and ANZ.

While clearly a savvy businessman, Chapel Press owner Russell Fray discusses his machinery with all the enthusiasm of a true hobbyist.

“We have a lot of great machines sitting on our floor – short-run jobs are handled on our two hand-fed presses,” he says.

“We try and run most of our work on the automatic machines as hand-feeding paper into a printing press is a pretty big workplace health and safety issue. We have four standard-size Heidelberg platens and a couple of Heidelberg GTOs, which are A3 size.”

It is typical for Fray to be asked to print a swing tag or business card job in the tens of thousands on his platens. The price tag on these costly runs easily dwarves his $500 minimum job limit.

“We might do a 30,000 swing tag run that has a lot of mounting and a lot of hand-work involved in conjunction with the printing. While the price tag can be large, people have a real appreciation for the finished result and they understand what it is worth and don’t mind paying
a lot of money for it.”

Fray admits there are flaws in the letterpress business model and fixing an antique machine isn’t quite a simple as dialling up a Heidelberg technician. But as the machines can quite often be picked up for a very reasonable price tag, Fray keeps an arsenal of parts machines as back-up.

In comparison with commercial printing, the overheads for a letterpress business are often fairly low, and the focus is more on employing skilled staff than investing in expensive technology.

Creative Emporium owner Neisha Phillips packed in a successful career as a paper representative for KW Doggett to establish her letterpress and graphic design studio in Brisbane. While she describes herself as a ‘hobbyist printer,’ she has invested significant time and energy into her new profession as she sees it as a genuinely positive business model.

“You just have to look at the United States, there is a huge number of successful letterpress businesses operating over there now,” she explains.

“When I started here in Australia, there was quite a strong niche market that needed to be serviced.”

“The reason why Creative Emporium is doing this is because there weren’t many printers that were offering this service to the commercial design market and there was quite a big call for it.”

Having a Rolodex filled with design agencies has obviously worked in Phillips’ favour, but she admits letterpress isn’t a particularly hard sell anyway.

“Before we even win a job, say, if somebody has asked me for a quote, I will invite them in to have a look and see how it works,” she says.

“People want to see the process. They love the final result, but they want to see how it is done, and I think that is what differentiates me from some other studios out there. I’ll invite my clients in to do a press check where they can check that their colours are spot on and that they are happy with the level of impression.

“Sometimes they spend an hour in here, sometimes they will spend a whole day. They just love letterpress and I love showing it to people.”

Silver screen

Bob Read has been a printing machinist for 63 years. He runs The Village Print Shop at the Caboolture Heritage Village in Queensland with compositor Ken New-love. The charismatic duo are the focus of an upcoming letterpress documentary Bronzed Blue, partially produced by Bris-bane’s Design College of Australia (DCA).

Read admits that the letterpress techniques he learned as a 16-year-old printing apprentice in 1949 are long gone, but he is excited by the innovative direction the trade is heading.

“The reason I am still printing at age 79 and the reason I do all of this work at the village is pretty simple really – there are not many of us left,” he says.

“When a young person who is interested in letterpress comes to me for advice I figure that it doesn’t cost me anything to share it with them. I want to leave a legacy in printing.”

DCA is a huge advocate of letterpress education in Australia and will open the Brisbane Museum of Print later this year.

There is an emotional bond between Read and DCA owner Clint Harvey, who believes letterpress in Australia has been reinvigorated thanks to his mentor.

“I look at a guy like Bob and say ‘wow’. He is directly responsible for the education of Simon and Jenna who run The Hungry Workshop letterpress printery, Brisbane greeting card printers Bespoke, and myself and the letterpress education at the college here,” says Harvey.

“Read and Newlove did their trade in letterpress 40 or 50 years ago and they are inspiring all these new innovators to take the trade in new directions.”

Harvey has been salvaging letterpress machinery, type draws, furniture, casing, wooden type, lead type, printed pieces and anything else mildly related to the trade for the last four years.

Learning by doing

Harvey’s goal isn’t to output commercial work, but rather to establish an institution for letterpress printing in Australia, and inspire both designers and printers to think about the fundamental concepts involved in their profession.

“For modern printers and graphic designers, learning the fundamentals of letterpress is a great way of getting them to slow down and think and work out a job before they jump on the computer and put everything together,” he explains.

“It is a much subtler process. There isn’t as much planning done in contemporary design, particularly with type composition, because you can just fix it up afterwards.”

“When you do a makeready, you have to work out your line length, how your body copy is going to sit in, because if you don’t work it out and you build it and then want to change it, you are looking at about three hours work to put it back together again.”

Artisan Press’ Wayne Davis looks at things from a slightly more idiosyncratic viewpoint. He says is pleased to see letterpress establishments springing up across the country, but he notes the output in quality from some isn’t up-to-scratch. He spent half of his life paying his dues in a pressroom and wants this sense of dedication and care carried across to a new generation of letterpress operators.

“This might sound wanky, but I don’t think you can ever truly ‘learn’ letterpress,” he says.

“There isn’t a shortcut to doing it well. It is a time thing and a notes thing, you have to apply yourself to learning with each individual job.

“My advice for any young enthusiast opening a letterpress business is this – take notes and see where you can improve on it, be critical of your own work, eventually you will get better and better, but it takes a very long time.”

Letterpresses leaders

The Distillery Darlinghurst, NSW

Artisan Press Byron Bay, NSW

Watermarx Graphics Brookvale, NSW

Chapel Press Moorabbin, Vic

Creative Emporium Brisbane, Qld

The Hungry Workshop Northcote, Vic

Bespoke Press Brisbane, Qld

Fluid Ink Letterpress Perth, WA

Mitchell & Dent Perth, WA

This Feature appeared in the JULY 2012 issue of ProPrint Magazine

Monday, August 13, 2012

A glance at the processes behind letterpress - Quoting for letterpress - Episode 3

QUOTING at Fluid Ink is still done on an individual basis. As each job is completely different, The old pen, paper and calculator is the method I use. Although I am getting a lot faster now that I have a good idea of supplies and costs and can use past quotes as a start its not quite as laborious as it was when I first began!

I have found that many times, clients do not know or have any idea of the costs involved in letterpress. Ball park figures are still difficult to offer especially considering the may variants of a quote. And thats fine! Letterpress is something you fall in love with and I am always happy to work with clients and find solutions so that they can have their letterpress dreams within their budget!

Hopefully the following  bits of information will go some way to explain the process of what needs to be considered when quoting for letterpress.

So, in order to start a quote, I require the following information:
  1. Quantity
  2. Paper size
  3. Paper stock
  4. Number of colours
  5. Envelope requirement
  6. Location for postage
  7. Deadline
  8. Artwork - supplied or commissioned?
On average, around 70% of what we charge to create a letterpress piece is made up of the cost of the polymer plate and the ‘making ready’ setting up the press so that it imprints correctly and in the correct place (registration) the time it takes to hand feed each piece in and the cost of the paper, mixing ink, cutting paper etc, makes up the rest, so as you can imaging, the more prints that are made, the cheaper the cost per print will be.

In a  comparison of 2 jobs A & B where:
Job A= 3 colours, 35 prints
job B = 1 colour, 100 prints.
job B may work out to be cheaper over all even though you are getting more prints. The cost of the 3 individual plates (one per colour) and the time it takes to set up each plate into the chase and have it registered correctly far outweighs the cost of the paper and the time it takes to actually hand feed 100 pieces into the press.

Paper size.
Obviously the larger the paper, the more expensive the product right?... Most often yes but if you can be economical with paper sizes so that perhaps making the final paper size 1cm smaller allows 14 cuts per sheet where 1cm bigger may only allow 12 cuts per parent sheet, then savings may be made here.

Number of colours:
Each colour requires a separate plate and as discussed plates are one of the biggest expenses for a job.

You can choose from standard plain white budget envelopes, Cotton envelopes that match the paper, coloured envelopes that match text and then there is the endless selection of ‘pocket’ card envelopes that can hold all of your stationery together!

Deadlines need to be realistic. the design proof , correct process can take up to 10 working days, and then there is the print making process (another week) paper cutting, ink mixing printing and posting. Ideally, we would require a moth from start to finish for all bespoke invitation requests - that's not to say we can't rush a job and work under pressure!! Our presses work well under pressure! (get it?...;-)

If artwork is supplied, then artwork will need to be sighted before I can quote, just to ensure it is ‘doable’ see previous blog post on ‘Designing for letterpress’ found HERE

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Growing pains of an adolescent business

In issue 7 of Bespoke Zine, there was a nutty little piece of writing by yours truly - (re published below) This issue was full of great hints tips and general pick me up stories perfect for small business owners.

*bespoke* is a quarterly Australian Zine (with both print and digital versions available) made by the handmade community, for the handmade community.
It is full of stories, interviews, features, tutorials, recipes, and much more! Topics covered include craft/handmade, vintage, art, photography, and all things creative.

To purchase your very own copy head to the Bespoke Zine website.

Growing pains of an adolescent business

By Davina Farinola,
Owner Operator of micro businesses Fluid Ink Letterpress and Mini Ink baby photo cards

I have a meditation podcast that I use to turn my mind off from the day’s babble and allow me to sleep. Honestly, most of them are a little too much on the fruity side but they tend to do the trick never the less. One of them has a section asking you to define what you want out of life. It repeats ‘What do you want? in soft meditative tones. (Just so you know ‘Shut up brain I want to sleeeeep’ doesn’t work) As I ponder this, a good nights sleep is generally up there, but also, guidance, a sign I’m heading in the right direction, a lotto win, perhaps a non life threatening illness where the only cure is being fed through a drip, being quarantined and made to sleep, read trashy magazines and watch TV for 7days…
Running a micro business from home, raising 2 active young boys and participating in ‘growing pains’ with my letterpress hobby – is tough. My hobby is making that awkward transition into small business and like an acne infested 16yo boy with a breaking voice, it is stretching and squeaking, resisting then blooming and creating general chaos around our home. At times there will be a flash of maturity and success, but otherwise, its growth although unstoppable and necessary, is proving to be ungainly and exhausting.
On the difficult days I’m thinking that running small businesses isn’t for me. There’s just too much pressure, too many decisions and compromises. Working as a check out chick seems so much simpler. Its what I did at Uni, it was fun and at least I would be out of the house and the massive mound of ironing, breakfast dishes and scattered papers wouldn’t be giving me the hairy eyeball. I’d be permitted to come home and have a reason to be knackered. But alas, I’m a creator now, the supermarket monotony would do me in. To stave off boredom I’d probably re-arrange the check out chocolates by colour, size, or maybe even prettiness.
So what do I want?
Well.. to be recognized as a professional printer, for others to admire my work and to live off the earnings. But with success comes a whole bucket-load of things I don’t have or don’t like.
1.     Time & energy: Seriously, if there was just a way that I could go to sleep past midnight and be able to function properly before 10am, then I would be set. And would 3 extra hours each day be too much to ask?
2.     Accounting. When you are forced to ask your husband how to add 10% to a number for the 10th time, accounting is definitely not your thing and unfortunately unless you can live on ‘happy’, then its kind of necessary in business.
3.     Perfection: Since I am not ‘trained’ in letterpress, I have no printers certificate, I am self taught and no - I don’t now everything yet. I’m petrified that someone will find out that I’m perhaps not an expert, that there is more to learn and there are possibly others out there who know more, have been doing it longer and have the tools, equipment and finances to do it better.
4.     Confidence: I’m usually referred to as ‘quirky’ or ‘ a little bit out there’, and I like that! I’m quietly proud of thinking differently and I’m usually a pretty confident sort. However, try and make me admit my stuff could be pretty good; well I squirm like a nerd being chatted up by a buxom wench. And why? Because I believe– as many other crafters do - that until (insert famous Hollywood actor/starlet here) owns something that I have made, then its not quite fabulous yet!
5.     Doubt: What if I do this ‘for real’ make a go of it and subsequently don’t like it and get bored, fail, or disappoint? I have invested time and money, not to mention insisting my long suffering and patient husband sub let a portion of his (our) man cave (shed) out to me.
So what I do know?
Thankfully, these troubles are not unique. You are not alone. If you’re worried, have an issue or a question, or just want to know that someone else in the world is also puzzled by the chaos that is math, you should know, without a doubt, that someone else is in the same predicament. Thanks to the magnificent world of internet, forums, online teams social medias and such, there is always someone else sharing advice and offering assistance and venting their own frustrations.
Seek advice but listen to your heart – do not hesitate!
Be well read, but make sure you write your own book - you know more than you think!
Think about your lotto dream and what YOU want. If you did win lotto, would you still want to make and create? If so, you can’t possibly go wrong!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New 5x7 red tree of Love

I'm very excited to be bringing this to you all. I have had my requests for a frame-able version of this so here it is! You will be able to purchase it this weekend at the Made o the Left Markets here in Perth, or online (see out 'shop' page)
Its 5x7" printed onto 300gsm white Cranes Lettra 100% cotton paper in red ink. Print only - frame not included. Fits perfectly into any standard frame.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Find us this weekend

At the Made on the left markets, Sunday 29th July. 10am - 4pm State Theatre Centre Northbridge (Cnr William & Roe St).  Heaps of new products and designs available!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Exciting news!

Fluid Ink will be joining the Montage Collective. A pop up shop at 224a William street Northbridge WA, from Mon 6th Aug - Sun 2nd September. Whooooot!
Follow Montage on Facebook HERE
or check out the website HERE!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

More... I love you more

New to the range: I love you more than, coffee, alcohol and chocolate. 
I really like the way the colours of the envelopes make them pop!
I dare you to send your loved one all 3. You would have to be insane or really, really in love.

Watch this space for 5x7" poster prints of these pressed onto super thick luxury 600gsm Crane's Lettra. A frame-able nerdy and stylish addition to your home decor.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yes Dear, Yes Please!

Nothing is better than receiving goodies in the mail - not even shopping for it yourself and it's even better when the 'things' are a total surprise and EVEN BETTER STILL (if that's at all possible) when the 'stuff' you receive are just the perfect mix of awesomeness!

"Oh yes, I concur! How do I receive parcels of perfect loveliness in the mail too?" I hear you say, will have to wait until next time 'The Lady that blogs' AKA 'Yes Dear' organizes a 'gift swap'.

I was involved and it was a wonderful experience. Basically, you signed up with the lovely Angela from Yes Dear!: The Lady that Blogs, you are given the task to purchase for another lucky swapper with the following conditions.
  • Minimum spend $50 (including registered or express postage to ensure a tracking number), you can spend more if you wish but the tracking number is not negotiable.
  • Item(s) MUST be sourced from a handmade designer in Australia or New Zealand.
  • If you yourself are a handmade designer of course you are most welcome to include some of your wares BUT you will need to also purchase from another party.  This is about injecting some cash flow into, and creating some further exposure for, the local handmade community at large.
You fill in a quick survey asking what your fave colours are, a few fave designers and your 'style' so that the person buying for you has an idea on what you are about. 

I had the tremendous fortune of being gifted by Angela herself and whoa what a bounty! Ok I should have photographed the package all neatly wrapped up in the vintage dressmaking patten paper (tops idea - will use and make my own) but I was in a pressie frenzy and alas, it was too late... 

Included in my perfectly selected pack (photographed above) was:
B Broach from Return to sender
Infinity knit grey scarf (am wearing it now) from Burrowed
Earrings silver and mustard yellow from bellebird
Wooden car brooch by Naomi Murrell
Cute card from Nomuu
Check out the brilliant sketch of the bird - an original just for me from Angela!

Oh swooooooon

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I love you more...

New design. Plates were re-used from my 'pick your poison' coasters. This is the first of a series of I love you more... greeting cards. Printed on recycled Kraft card, size c6 (105x148mm) with Turquoise envelope.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A glance at the processes behind letterpress. - design to plates - Episode 2


The second installment of our 'how to letterpress' series (If you missed the first episode 'Mixing Ink', click HERE)
There are many considerations when designing for letterpress (for a detailed run down go HERE)

Since the polymer plates are quite an expense, I try to consider using my designs in several ways. Can the polymer plates be used as as a coaster, a card, gift tags, invitation etc? This gives me the opportunity to expand my range and re-use the plates over and over.
Once I have finalized a design on my computer, I email the file off site to have negatives or film made. Polymer plates are made from the negatives or film. Making the plates involves light, exposure, chemicals, wash off etc. Kind of - but not quite - like developing photographic film - old school!
Here is a fantastic video from the very successful team at Hello Lucky (my idols!)

Monday, April 30, 2012

NEW Doily cards

My doily plates have been given a new lease on life!
As polymer plates are quite an expense, I try to design so that the plates have multiple uses. These humble doily plates have been used for the 'Yellow and grey save the date cards', 'Christmas Peace Hope gift tags' and now, a super cute doily blank greeting card. I love these colours. they remind me of Fruit Tingles!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A glance at the processes behind letterpress. - Mixing Ink - Episode 1

Mixing and Making colours - Episode 1

There are numerous ways to mix inks. This is my humble version!

Choose a colour - I find colour combos I like on the web, from other print media, photographs anywhere! I  match the colour as close as I can using Pantone colour swatches. However, if I input the Pantone colours into my monitor chances are they will look vastly different on screen. Everyone's monitor has a different colour setting as well as different indoor lighting environments. Seeing a hard copy of the colour and matching it to a Pantone swatch is really the best way.

Letterpress inks are also greatly affected by paper stock. Even the slightest hint of cream or brown etc can change the colour tones of the ink.

HINT: I have found that swapping 50% of the transparent white in the mix with opaque white can help make the final ink colour more opaque and therefore brighter - but I have only just discovered this so more experimenting is required!

A Pantone formula tells you what percentage of each base colour you need to mix (I have 10 base colours but you can get by with less)  If you are mixing 100grams, and the Pantone formula is 50% transparent white, 10% black, 40% yellow, then you can change the percent measurements into grams. If you only need 50grams (usually my preferred quantity) then you halve the quantities when you are weighing them.

In the mix below, I set out to make a retro aqua (now called 'Valiant Aqua' after the colour of the car my Father in law owned!)
process blue, blue, green, transparent white & opaque white are required for this mix

I use a piece of scrap gloss card to mix upon. It lets me add straight onto the scales and as it makes for easy clean up.
This mix was for 50gms (yes I know, not entirely accurate, but close enough....)

Mix with spatula and Hey presto!
Vegimite jar and label
My storage of choice is the small Vegimite jars. they are the perfect size and have a nice wide opening, a great screw top lid and it reminds me to only put on the ink disk, the same amount of ink as you would Vegimite on a slice of toast..

Tune in next time for 'Design to Polymer Plates'

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring coasters

So we are in Autumn in here in Australia, but the weather in Perth is amazing at the moment. These cheerful coasters are the perfect colour combo for Mother's Day.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tickle your Imagination

Home sweet home issue. Meet Helen from Signature Prints, Justine from The Olive Tree Market, Laura from Love From Patt, and more! Inspiration pages for handmade interiors. Create a gorgeous reversible tote, a sweet Easter card, lovely mothers day and Easter printables, plus a fabric covered button tutorial.

Plus Fluid Ink in in there!

CLICK HERE Tickle the imagination

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Western Australian Makers - all in one place

I have a friend who shall remain anonymous (LISA Mac) who thinks that crafters and hand made makers are all about honkey-nut babies, pickled people and leather gum tree necklaces (if you were around in the 80's, then you'll know I'm showing my age) well my friends I'm here to let you know that is not the case!

Head on over to the WA street team a growing group of awesome talented Western Australian designers. Western Australian Etsy Sellers have united to bring you the best design the state has to offer of which I am proud and honored to be a part of!

WAstreet Team of ETSY!