Friday, June 29, 2012

Ornament #1

We were asked to create a photo wreath ornament for the first week of the Advent calendar.  I decided to make a wreath out of paper.  The black outline is a paper cutout that I have adapted from a greeting card that I designed before.  After cutting out the outline, I cut a border around the wreath. I cut two of these border pieces.  On the first border piece, I cut out the circle for the photo. After centering the photo, I glued the top piece to the second border piece.

Unfortately, I didn't have any pictures to put in my ornament so I found a birthday card that a buddy sent me and used the sock monkey from the card.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beginning Boxes

So, I decided to start making boxes for the advent calendar challenge this morning--at 3:30 AM because I couldn't sleep. As I started to begin in the studio (the second bedroom of my apartment), I realized that I didn't have all of the materials that I needed to start. There is nothing more frustrating to me than having the desire to start a project and then spend time prepping materials that should have already been made.  First, I had to make some Methyl Cellulose (MC).  This is a paste product--think glue stick in liquid form. I mix the MC with PolyVinyl Accetate (PVA), aka industrial white glue, so that the drying time is increased. Using straight PVA dries too quickly when working with paper so you need some MC to extend the time before it dries.  This is equivalent to extender used in acrylic paints. This is really important right now because it is so hot in NYC that glue dries even faster.

Picture one shows MC thickening in the kitchen. It is best to let the mixture thicken overnight. Usually, you make two different versions--a thin version and a thick version depending on how your PVA is acting.  If your PVA is too thick, then you add the thin version. If the PVA is too thin, you add more PVA or the thick version of MC.  To make matters worse, sometimes you use straight PVA, as opposed to the mixture--called MIX, when working with boards. In other words, there are a lot of labelled pickle jars with white and liquid stuff in them. Thank goodness I like pickles.

The second order of business was a stylistic one.  I know that I want to make boxes based on a 2 inch cube. In other words, the single box will be a 2 by 2 inch box. The double box will be a 2 by 4 inch box and so on.  Because the boxes are doing to either be small or narrow, I need to cover the inside surfaces of the boxes before they are assembled. Therefore, I have to take binder's board and cover it on one side with the paper that I want to appear on the inside of the box. After looking at my stash of paper, I decided to use a Uhuru mulberry style paper in white (picture 2)

Unfortunately in box making and bookbinding, what happens on one side has to happen on the other.  In other words, since I would not be making the boxes tonight, I needed to compensate for the moisture that was added to the one side of the binder's board. If left alone, the board would warp as the paper started to shrink while drying. Like a math equation on opposite sides of the equal sign (what you do to one side, you have to do to the other), to compensate and counteract the warping, you have add paper on the reverse side. This side has been glued with waste paper (newsprint) (picture 3). Since there was moisture introduced to both sides of the board, theoretically it should dry flat.  When making boxes, it is always a good habit to start with straight boards or your corners will never be square.

Several hours later, I will try and go to sleep before I have to wake up to go to work.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Advent Calendar

Susi and Kat over at Just Crafty Enough have posted an Advent Calendar Project that parallels the concept of the Iron Craft Challenges. While the Iron Craft Challenges are every two weeks, the Advent Calendar Project occurs every week. Each week until December 1, we will be making the pockets for an advent calendar and a corresponding ornament to place in the pocket. I will be hosted three of the ornament challenges during which we will be making paper ornaments.

To get started, I decided that I wanted to make a collection of 24 boxes rather then the 24 pockets of the advent calendar. To make it even more difficult for myself, I will be making boxes of various sizes to accommodate a variety of small gifts, which is the tradition of the Advent Calendar. The size of the boxes will vary from a single box, to a quadruple box (four times the size of the single box).  I also had to try and figure out the layout of the boxes so that it would fit in a square. I finally calculated that I would need 7 quadruple boxes, 6 triple boxes, 7 double boxes, and 4 single boxes. I then took graph paper and played Tetris on paper to make them all fit. I wanted a collection of vertical boxes and horizontal boxes to make it appealing to the eye.  Here is the final diagram of what will be the finished project.

I decided to number the boxes from the beginning so I can make some design decisions while creating the individual boxes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Iron Craft Challenge 12

This week we were asked to do something with photographs.  There were many options that I considered. I don't have very many pictures so I decided to use a birthday card that I received from a good friend.  I thought about making a book or a picture cube but I decided to make a homemade picture frame that I can put on the refrigerator.

The picture is a standard four by six picture.  The frame itself is five by seven.  The frame is cut out of Davey board and is wrapped in hand marbled paper.  I wanted to use a muted palette since there was so much color in the picture.

The picture is protected by a piece of mylar/transparency.

The back of the frame is covered by matte board that has been hinged so that you can have easy access to the picture should you want to change it. The magnets are attached to the matte board so it can be used on the refrigerator.

The matte board also covers all of the mechanical elements of the frame.  Here is the inside of the frame.  The picture is taped for easy access. The acetate is taped in using double sided tape.  The matte board is hinged on the opposite side of the tape for the picture.

This is an easy project with very few materials.  All in all, it took me 25 minutes to complete. Now that all of the materials have been measured, I can probably complete these in about 10 minutes.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Iron Craft Challenge 9

I wanted to start making boxes for a project that I will be exhibiting in Japan for the 2012-2013 season. The goal of my project is to make a collection of boxes that holds individual pieces of candy. In order to prepare, I decided to make mock-ups using a larger item and then "shrink" it to the size of candy.  In this case, I decided to make a box to hold macaroons--which seem all the craze in Manhattan.

Here is the top view of the box. There are obviously four compartments each with its own lid. The lid is recessed into the box so that the top is flush with the walls of the box. This was what took me so long to calculate and manufacture. What I ended up constructing was a box with dividers that held four individual boxes. The individual boxes were one board's thickness small that the the outside box so that the lid could recess into the divided box.

Here is the side view of the box. The outer box is covered with book cloth and I used a strip of the decorative paper as an accent on the outside of the box. The Japanese always like a blast of color on an otherwise blank surface. This is traditionally done in Japanese box making.

Here is a top view of the box with one of the lids open. Each box is lined with white crane paper. There is a removal liner in the bottom of each individual box so that the macaroons don't soil or discolor the box. I have found that macaroons should be eaten within two or three days of manufacture. Because most macaroons are filled with some type of liquid, I decided to have a removable liner so the recipient can use the box after the macaroons are eaten. (I apologize for the fuzzy picture--I don't know why it came out that way).

 I don't know why the New Blogger rotates my pictures. It really is an annoyance and wish that I could have the older Blogger back.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Iron Craft Challenge 11

As mentioned yesterday, we were asked to combine text or typography into our Iron Craft Challenges. I decided to do a paper cut for this challenge and I had so many alphabets to choose from.

After looking in several of my reference books, I chose the letter R from an early 19th century French alphabet that I found in the book, Fancy Alphabets by the Pepin Press.

There were so many options from which to choose but this really stood out for me because of the overly Romantic nature of the alphabet. I cut out the letter first and then cut a background. I have always enjoyed the purple and black combination.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Practicing for Iron Craft Challenge 11

For Challenge 11, we were asked to feature typography. For those who have been following along know that I have always loved typography and have always enjoyed combining paper cutting and typography. These are two letters dedicated to the organizers of Iron Craft challenges--Kat and Susi.

This alphabet was designed in France around 1870. I cut out the original letter and then cut out a border in the opposite color. These actually aren't my contributions for this week. Instead, I did a letter R from a classic French silhouette alphabet from the 19th century.

I can't decide if I like the red on black or the black on red.