Saturday, January 28, 2012

From my computer to paper to metal to paper

Look at this print! I've finally gotten the hang of transferring designs from my computer to metal, using this tutorial for the laster printer transfer process and the Edinburgh etching method. (The image I used for this example comes from Wikimedia Commons.)

Just being able to replicate computer designs nearly exactly on copper or brass is pretty exciting on its own. But using my trusty pasta machine as a printing press worked just as well as I'd been hoping. So neat!

You might wonder what the point is of printing a design on a laser printer only to transfer it to metal and then print it by hand. Well, I'm a process junkie, so my first answer is "It's just fun, OK?!"

But there are some other reasons. The texture of this kind of print is just different--the metal bites into the paper a bit. There are opportunities to incorporate artsy layering of printed textures by etching a combination of computer designs and designs carved by hand. And if I wanted to, I could use fluorescent inks, glitter-laden inks, or play with inking with multiple colors for a handmade, one-of-a-kind print. All things you can't get from a standard laser printer. Then, when I'm done playing with printmaking, I could turn the copper into some sort of jewelry!

I feel like I suddenly have a whole new world of design and illustration at my disposal. Right now I'm wondering how to combine public domain medieval woodblocks with fractals and abstract shapes. What do you want to see me etch?

Thursday, January 05, 2012


You guys know I knit, right?

I'm currently in the middle of two enormous purple shawls. (One's supposed to be easy and one's supposed to be complicated, but they keep surprising me by being sneakily challenging and simple in unexpected ways.)

I'm not going to post pictures of those, because I have a thing about jinxing projects in progress. But a couple of weeks ago, I snuck a third project in: a snuggly winter cowl.
Finished cowl project

I improvised the pattern, using a couple of cable motifs from a stitch dictionary along with some quick back-of-the-envelope math to figure out how to put everything together. That kind of crafty engineering is so satisfying for me--there's something deeply rewarding about taking some pretty materials and ideas and convincing them to become a Nifty Thing. And on top of that, I'm really happy with how it turned out. Winter's taken ages to get here, but it's finally reliably below freezing, and the extra warmth around the collar of my coat is definitely welcome.