October 2008

Calculated Risk

light it up!

One of the things I’ve really been wanting to try is discharge printing. Screen printers that I’ve dealt with don’t do it, but some of the results look very interesting. In simplest terms, it’s almost like printing with a type of bleaching agent. The color of the shirt is stripped away where the chemical is printed, and it is printed in the usual method of screen printing. It’s the subtractive method to screen printing’s usual additive method of just adding ink to the shirt. Neat stuff.

One of the things about it that fascinates me, is that you can add color to the discharge agent. This is neat: you’re stripping away color with the chemical, and replacing it with a different color at exactly the same time. And, from the documentation that I’ve read, the ‘hand’ of these garments are incredible, and there is no stiffness due to an opaque layer of ink (or many layers) on the shirt.

Unfortunately, the documentation also says the following regarding the chemical agent:

Deluge with water to extinguish this material as it has its own oxygen supply, thus making dry chemicals or carbon dioxide ineffective.

Nice. This shit brings its own oxygen supply to the table. Bad. Ass.

I think, at this point in reading, fine. Have water on hand, don’t set it on fire to begin with. Trying to be thorough, I read onward and see more information such as the following:

Discharge Agent has an unpleasant odor and should be handled carefully in its crystal form then blended into the ink by a properly trained employee. Always blend the ZFS slowly until it is well mixed in the ink to prevent dust, ZFS is relatively safe once in solution.

Hm. “Properly trained.”

And also, my favorite from this one: relatively safe once in solution.

You know, I love making stuff, and I love trying things others won’t, trying things I know nothing about, but I’m thinking maybe, just maybe, this time I should back off. How about more batik, I ponder. All the sewing had made me miss it a little.

And with batik all I have to worry about are toxic wax fumes. And setting the wax on fire. Oh, and the dye is kinda cancerous in powder form.


Toast Patrol Continues

action shot!

Last week I sent out an email to the beloved purchasers of the toast effort. I lamented my inability up to that point to produce a product worthy of their admiration and monies. I asked them if they desired me to return those monies to them, or if they were willing to wait and see if a gambit I wanted to try would work. And it seemed like the longest shot to me. A simple needle substitution, I was told, would make all the difference in the stitching of the metallic cinnamon swirl.

The needle was procured. Tests commenced. And it worked.

It also did a better job with the glow-in-the-dark thread, whom has also been pretty ‘snappy’ recently. And I’m not calling it well dressed or punctual or anything quite so pleasant. Indeed, quite the opposite. This combined with a slower stitch speed seems to have done the trick. So production has moved forward, I did say slower stitch speed, but we’re now seeing some of the fruits of such a maddening array of options and color combinations.

But all this is secondary to the responses I received from these patient toast purchasers. They ranged from saying simply “I have faith in you,” to “if you can find a way to make this happen I can wait
your design is great so take your time,” and “i want you to take my toast money and go buy yourself a drink and something nice to eat.”

I never imagined that I would still be managing this crazy shirt venture, much less this long, and I never imagined that so many amazing people I’ve never even met would be interested in my wares, and grant me so much of their faith. This fills me with a multi-dimensional feeling of kick ass.

Go Go Go Go

crazy combo platter

I’ve received a few emails regarding embroidered toast orders, and I gotta say, I’m trying, my friends.

I have all the intention in the world but none of the…universal justice? For instance, this last Sunday the lock to my studio was broken and I couldn’t get in. Tonight I spent my energy bringing my setup back home so I can just hammer out the last of them to try to put orders in the hands of those awesome enough to fork over hard earned dollars in the thinnest of economic vapors.

I’m sending this post out to anyone who hasn’t emailed to let you all know that if you’re tired of waiting, let me know and I will refund your monies. I have Saturday as my shipping deadline for all the remaining toast shirts.

Hold on, dearests, toast is coming.

Glowing Skull, Thoughts…

woooo....glowing slightly blurry skull...

1) I’ve taken this ‘simulated glow’ photo. I used blacklight, as my camera doesn’t do low light images worth a hoot. Actual glow will be more of a green, not blue-ish.

2) The original ‘cut out and stitch back in’ idea that the skull replaced was simply too complex for my level of skill at the moment. Maybe someday. It was an octopus

3) Regarding the artist upgrades, I’ve had a taker! Oh yes. And he actually overpaid for the shirt itself (whoops, button code error!). When I asked if he would like the $5 back, or would rather have an addition level of upgrade, he said: go for it.

Man, now I’m really going to have fun.

Which made me realize that the way the buttons are configured someone could add any amount of upgrades as they wish. Wooo, that could push things to new and interesting places, now couldn’t it? Can’t wait to do the double-level shirt already ordered. We’ll see what the rest of the week holds.