Sunday, 18 May 2014

Work Placement Mini-Blog: Episode 5: Days Six And Seven

The last two days of my internship at Nelly's Treasures! It's taken me a while to write these up as real life jobs / DJing / beach partying took over a little bit, but here we go:
I did a lot of screenprinting on day 6, and although it started out well (with a lot of help from Nelly herself), towards the end of the day my technique started to suffer a bit and prints weren't fully coming out, or were flopping off the edge of the fabric. I could try and blame tiredness or distraction but I think it's a case of not being fully practised in the art of screenprint. It truly is a skill that I imagine most people don't fully appreciate, and I have utmost respect for Helen and anyone else for mastering it! Anyway I couldn't figure out why I could make clean prints in uni, with not-as-good equipment and a lot less space and why I couldn't do it at The PrintHaus, and I psyched myself out and never fully recovered. Helen even gave me a step to stand on, but it didn't make a lot of difference. So that was a self-inflicted low end to my day. I also did some seam trimming and interface ironing earlier on in the day which I did rather well at so it wasn't all bad!

Day 7 was the last day! A sad day indeed! First of all I cut out some swing tags into heart shapes; branding and packaging are very important for a professional finish. After that it was time to do some dyeing! Since we were at The Nelly Studio HQ and the weather was nice, this took place outside. I helped by tying up t-shirts into weird fish shapes, which were then soaked in bleach. Helen also did some tote bags and t-shirts in other colours of dye and they turned out really cool. She printed them a couple of days later:
Dip-dyed Woodland Aminal Totes by Nelly's Treasures!
Tie-dyed UFO T-shirts by Nelly's Treasures!
They all look really cool, such pretty colours, but I looooove the UFO shirts the most! Dyeing is another skill on my list to master and is one of the tougher ones as it's fairly unpredictable, so it's always really fun to see the results, especially when they turn out this lovely! Keep an eye on the Nelly's Treasures Etsy site as I'm sure they'll be up on there soon enough!
The other big job of the day was finishing off these cushions:
'You Are My Sunshine' Cushions by Nelly's Treasures!
They turned out so cute too! All the vintage fabrics are so beautiful, I really have to start hunting more regularly to stock up my own hoard. That's really about it, and I also did mini jobs like cutting fabrics and making tea and things of course.
I must say [another] big thanks to Nelly Herself for having me, being very patient and lovely and also to Jude from The PrintHaus for her help and loveliness; I had so much fun on my placement and learnt a lot of things (and also made a few minor mistakes!), plus I got to meet some cool new people - always a bonus!
My next placement will be at Hand & Lock in December... very exciting! I also know that Nelly's Treasures will have a stall at the Art Car Bootique in Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff next weekend, so head down to that if you're around!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Work Placement Mini-Blog: Episode 4: Day Five

Today was day 5 of my work placement with Nelly's Treasures and it was mostly spent finishing off these babies:
Which I'm super proud of because I kind of saw them grow from little fabric eggs into fully rounded heart plushy cushions! They look so cute and fun, I can't decide which is my favourite! It's really exciting to see the journey of a product from start to finish and I'm glad that I'm getting to be a big hands-on part of it during my placement.
I don't have much more to say about today except that time seemed to go very quickly whilst I was lost in a haze of lovely vintage fabric cushions and suddenly it was home time... boooooo!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Work Placement Mini-Blog: Episode 3: Day Four / Darlunio Illustrate 2014 Exhibition

Friday was day 4 of my internship for Nelly's Treasures. I did a lot more screenprinting onto vintage fabrics which are destined to be squishy cushions and then the lovely Jude from the PrintHaus showed me how to match colours exactly using the Pantone system. Very tricky and skilled!
After that I cut out the 'Happily Ever After' prints I'd done the previous day into heart shapes for more squishy cushions and then, very unexpectedly I got to do a little 'modelling':
Yesss, that's me again! Showing off my guns and gazing dreamily at nothing in particular... oh and Nelly's ace cheeky toucan top of course!!! Available on Etsy NOW!
Theeen Helen let me use her Amaaaazing with a capital A sewing machine, this one:
Which is so smooth and easy to use I can see why her work is sooo well made! I have big machine envy!
That was about it, another great day in all!

Today I adventured over to Penarth to check out the Darlunio Illustrate 2014 Exhibition which my friend Colin has some work in, as well as a lot of other very talented and inspiring people... it's open until 29th May and is free to get in so if you're in the Cardiff / Penarth area this month I'd highly recommend going along.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Work Placement Mini-Blog: Episode 2: Days Two And Three

Still on my work placement with the fabul-oh-so Nelly's Treasures in Cardiff!
Yesterday (day two) was a Disaster Day for me; almost everything I touched seemed to go a bit wrong! The day started off well with some bonding over music tastes*, Photoshop work and paper cutting, which working as a team we did in no time at all. After we exposed some screens to print later on in the day, I was set a sewing task and couldn't seem to get the darned thing right! I blame the unfamiliar machine of course; it's like driving someone else's car, or playing their guitar. It goes but... not in the same way! Anyway I did a pretty good job overall in the end, due to my 'tenacious attitude' (my uni tutor's words, not mine).
Later, I did a little bit of printing and although I have always been good at it in uni I managed to mess one up and 'flood under' the design, making the print all blobby. So I didn't feel very good about that at all! After that I mainly helped out by gathering and cleaning equipment, which I was happy to do since it's pretty hard to mess that up!

Today was day three and it was much more successful and even more fun. First of all Helen worked on the artworks to make into screens and we talked about admin things like how to price works; this can be difficult as most people don't realise the effort and skill involved in hand-made, unique goods!
After this I coated the screens with emulsion ready to be exposed with imagery. This was quite exciting for me as I don't to do this part in uni, so that's a new skill which I've learnt. Then I cut and ironed the vintage fabrics ready for printing - such beautiful 60s flowery prints, right up my street! I prepared the screens and then printed the designs all by myself. The equipment at The PrintHaus is much more hi-tech and fancy than the stuff we use at uni which made the printing process really easy... although I still messed the first one up! Probably out of nerves... the rest came out beautifully though, observe:
Happily Ever After by Nelly's Treasures
Please ignore the excitedly goofy faces I am pulling... but yes that is me! Today! Loving it!

One thing that is great about working in The PrintHaus is that there are always lots of interesting and friendly people around to talk to (or help if you get stuck) and you can see what other people are up to and one person I've seen a lot of is Katy Webster of Miri Studio. Her work is soooo cute and lovely, I must urge you to go and look at it!

To keep up to date with Nelly's Treasures, follow on Instagram, I can tell you that there's lots of exciting things coming up because I have seen them with my eyes!

*We like Courtney Barnett, The Growlers, Temples and I loooove Wooden Shjips!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Work Placement Mini-Blog: Episode 1: Day One

As part of my uni course I have to complete a work placement within the textiles industry and write a 2000 word report about my experiences; this will conclude my first year of university! Which scares the bejeezers out of me!
I'm lucky enough to be doing my placement with my great friend Helen at Nelly's Treasures and today was my first day. I'm doing a mini blog-within-blog about my experiences both to help with my report and so that others might know what to expect from a placement.

Today we were based at The PrintHaus, where Helen does her printing. There is a really nice community kind of atmosphere there and they run workshops and things at certain times so that everyone can have a go. Also they run Snapped Up Market, where I shared a stall with Helen once and started out my crafting life many moons ago, so I can testify that that is very exciting indeed!

The PrintHaus, Cardiff
We started off with health and safety briefings of course, fire exits and poop facilities and so on, and then did some screenprinting. These were multi-layered colour prints, which I'd never done before and all fancy equipment so that was new for me. Helen showed me how she lines it all up to work and she let me have a go at the first colour (which was yellow) and all the prints came out well. Helen is very efficient at screenprinting, I think I'll learn some neat tricks from her before my time is up!

Then I did a bit of observing Helen doing some more printing (red this time) and then I did a bit of ironing. And I thought I was rubbish at ironing but I'm not at all.

After lunch I had to work by myself a bit, firstly cutting out imagery with little scissors to be made into brooches, which was a bit fiddly but looked really good and then threading drawstrings into drawstring bags. And that was about it for the first day! What was also really great was that we listened to Radio 6 Music, which I'd never heard before and I thought that was pretty darned good.
These are the prints I helped with today (above), which I know Helen will be selling at the Art Car Bootique in Chapter Arts Centre on May 25th! So pretty!