Busy, busy being creative..!

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Day 15 - Bags, bags, bags and thermofax printing

Been very productive the last few days after being disappointed with myself for not achieving more last week (and achieving my reward of a Thali from The Thali Cafe..;-(. So on with the microblocking and I’m making progress.  

Heard back from Tim too and he thinks the blocks he’s making won’t work that well, I’d like to try them anyway but knew I needed an alternative solution…so…

I’ve been looking into Thermofax screens after a fellow 30DC-er suggested them to me when I asked for some help.  Found this very helpful detailed description from a lady that uses them:

Checking the scale (back of bag)
Designing my screen
“A thermofax is a thermal copier, which used to be used to create a master for duplicating copies, before we all became lazy and used to the wonders of the photocopy. Anyone who was a teacher in the 60s will remember typing on a skin for a Gestetner machine so that copies for children to work on could be produced in numbers. Then came the photocopier and the machines gradually faded out of use. 

Now, these machines have begun to be used to create wonderfully detailed screens for printing on textiles and paper, if you are lucky enough to be able to track one down. They are also used by tattoo artists to create stencils for their particular form of art. 

The screen material is made of a polyester fabric. Bonded to plastic. This material is placed in a carrier, along with a photocopy from a machine, which uses toner, and passed through the Thermofax machine. The film on the screen material burns off as the carrier is passed through a quartz light inside the machine, creating an image on your screen. 

These are the technical details, but they cannot begin to describe the delight at seeing your image in great detail after seconds, without any of the mess or difficult attached to any other method of creating a screen. 

Photographic screens will give good detail, but they are difficult to prepare and not always successful, depending on the image with which you started. Paper cut -out screens are crude and cannot be used for any great length of time before they disintegrate. Screen filler and drawing fluid is laborious and needs huge amounts of patience 

Not only can the Thermofax method deal with photocopies, which are carbon based, but direct methods such as drawing with carbon based Indian inks, black crayons and even newspaper images can be used to create the original, from which the screen will be produced.

Checking scale - front of bag
I also watched some videos on YouTube and contacted http://www.thermofaxscreens.co.uk/ about my design. They were really helpful and after some thought decided I’d order on and see how effective it is.

I had to change the design as I couldn’t for the life of me remember what font I’d created the original design in and after a few hrs searching online decide to widen my font choice.  As a result I’m much happier with my design now.  

As I’m using a screen now I’ve more flexibility so wanted to find something a bit different. And yep I found it. A really cool font from http://www.dafont.com/.  

As this project isn’t for money – i.e I’m not selling the bags, I can use the font for free.
Thinking it looks quite funky. 

Played around with the sizes and have ordered a medium sized screen - 24cm x 17cm for £16, a medium a lightweight squeegee, and some textile paint in Carmine. Total cost of order £28.00 (includes P+P at £5.00) so fingers crossed I’ll get it by the end of the week! Then the printing can commence. Yippee!
One bag of many - each will be unique

I also got an email from Maria at Spike Print Studio – who said they thought my project was great! (Yeah - happy dance) but that time was an issue. As was finding someone that could help me, and the cost of using the equipment. So as much as I would love to have gone into a studio, I think the thermofax is the best option for this project now.

I did have an idea of how this could work next year though as a bigger project. It could be something like this:

Called: Bags of Love for Bristol – is advertised that people can take part and make a bag out of ‘scrap’ fabric and decorate it with positive messages, so lots of people/kids are making bags. Then on a chosen day – people go out and leave them around Bristol – and with the picnic meet up at the end of the month. (Bringing lots of people together) 

So it could be an annual event that grows each year. This time it’s me doing it – but next year there could be lots of people/schools/charities etc involved. Ooh that’s really exciting…! So now I feel better about it being small at the moment – as it feels like the start of something bigger! ;-0

Right off to cut up some more shirts ready for the printing phase...Can't wait for that bit!

Different designs - bunting effect for Queens Jubilee!

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