Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wedding plates

Today's tip: if you're going to get plates made by an unfamiliar supplier at the last minute, at least make sure to check that it's the kind of plate you're after.

A few days ago I finished designing the Order of Service booklet cover, table menus, name place cards, symbol cards, and table numbers for our wedding. I made a trip out to Hume yesterday to pick up the film for the plates. After sending a bad PDF to Joe which resulted in an unclear film, I had to go home and re-PDF the artwork, then go pick it up again. I took the good film to A&S Printers but after a couple of minutes there, realised that their normal plates are metal-backed polymers. That would've normally been fine, except I'd laid the designs on the film so close together that I wouldn't have been able to cut them up successfully. So after a bit of running around to find alternatives, A&S offered to order in the film-backed plates for me. They should arrive on Friday morning, and I'll be in to pick up the final plates on Friday afternoon. It's a long weekend this week, so any delay would mean losing 3 days of printing time, which, considering the wedding is 9 days away, is too big a risk.

Tonight I'm cutting up some of the paper, ready for printing tomorrow night (I still don't have a guillotine so this is quite painful).

Of course, I've made a lot of our wedding plans as complicated as humanly possible, but it'll be worth it, right?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Reaching new heights

Because the Collie is on a palette now, it's much higher than it used to be. A short step would've been helpful for a person of average height to stand on while working the press before, but now it's even more necessary. And I'm only short. I've had a temporary step to stand on since it arrived, but my handyman fiancee has made me not only a big platform to stand on (much safer than a wobbly step) but it also doubles as a storage box. I'm very impressed. I get to paint it tomorrow.

Today I registered my new ABN (Australian Business Number) and looked into the legal side of things. I also got the urge to clean the press up, as it had a fair bit of dirt and grease on the frame, so now it's as close to clean as it'll get. Tomorrow I'll buy new oil for it, and hopefully find all the oiling spots using this guide.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Alternate supplier

Well, after a day of phonecalls, I've found a place that says that can produce my plates for me, so I'll work away at the final designs this weekend and have them ready to go to film on Monday morning. So hopefully I won't have to get the remaining letterpress stationery digitally printed.

Tonight I'm working on Poppy plans and more designs for my portfolio. Busy bee.

The "Left-handed person's" cards are posted (except for Shelley's...). Big hi to Tanya, Kim, Kelly, Edwina and Sabine!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Retail therapy

Well I've had a most exciting letterpress day today. It started off with lots of lovely comments and emails regarding my previous post. Thankyou to all who have shown an interest in my cards so far. They will all be posted tomorrow. After lunch I decided to spend the gift voucher for my favourite store that my adorable bridesmaid gave me a couple of months ago. The store specialises in specialty papers, greeting cards, albums, and the like. It was a place I found solace in during my work lunches, and where I discovered letterpress for the first time. I fell in love with the mix of Aussie and imported letterpressed cards, and soon started a collection. Today I added 4 more cards to the collection.

While I was there, I got to talking to the employees about presenting my designs to the owner of the store. It's been my goal since buying the Adana. Unfortunately, I've only just started producing work that I'd feel comfortable presenting to a retail store, so I've only got a couple of designs. But I showed my two recent cards to the manager, and she's encouraged me to work on some more to present as part of a portfolio. So, here's what I need to do in the next few days before I buy him a coffee:
  1. Produce a few more designs, probably using my existing plates, as I don't have the time now to get new ones made. Greeting cards, swing tags and small cards.
  2. Create a dozen or so vector artworks for future cards and materials, to give an indication of what I intend to produce in the future.
  3. Ring the owner and book a meeting.

Scary, but very exciting. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing your dreams start to come true. So watch this space, I should have new designs up soon.

My bad news for today is my lack of planning and forethought regarding my remaining wedding stationery (menu, order of service, place cards, petal scoops). A certain little Duck helps me out with my photopolymer plates, but I haven't allowed enough time to get them made well in advance, and she's now on holidays. I need to find an alternative supplier for my photopolymer plates. Do any Aussies out there have any suggestions? I'm in dire straits if I can't print these materials...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

First cards

Front and back.
Front and back.

I wrote a long post in the first couple of days that I had the press, but that still needs work, so for now... here's what I've been up to!

Two card designs are printed. The first uses versions of the floral plate that I used on my wedding invites, in both blind deboss and teal. The second is one of my fiancee's designs, printed in a luminous lime green (looks more yellow here).
I'm blown away by the difference in quality to the Adana. And it's so much easier. And cleanup time is still 10-15 minutes. I get even impression every time, and each print looks just like the one before. No test prints necessary, just ink up and print away! Getting Collie was the best decision I made in '07.

I was so excited to print the yellow flower dude, that I didn't realise I printed the cards backwards - opening from left to right. My fiancee calls this the left-handed person's greeting card! So although I'm happy with the quality, I'm not happy to sell these as they are. I'll do a proper run for my etsy shop, which I plan to open in the coming weeks.

So, I have a few copies of the yellow flower dude card to give away! If you're interested in a free card, let me know in the comments. Because I'm not sure how to receive international payments for postage costs at this stage, I'll be shipping these free of charge. Free free free.

So the etsy shop is in the works, but in the meantime, if you see any designs on my blog that you'd like to purchase, shoot me a comment and I'll see what I can do.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Collie is here!

It's arrived! My Collie's Paragon (aka Collie) got here safetly early this afternoon. Not without a drama though:
  • Couldn't back the 4 tonne truck up the driveway straight to the garage door, as it would crack the concrete. Driver had to park it on the road and wheel the press up the driveway with the pallet jack.
  • Couldn't wheel the press up the driveway with just one man (and I'm no help) because the driveway has just the slightest incline where it meets the road.
  • Called our Best Man for help. He came over as soon as he could and he and I pushed the press while the driver pulled it up the incline. From there it was smooth sailing.
I didn't get many photos of it all because I was trying to help.

Here's the before and after of our garage, which we're still cleaning out to convert to the new studio space:

Ken had labelled all of the pieces with their number and "LOUISE CANBERRA" which I thought was funny, because he didn't know my last name.

10" x 15" chases:
And here's Taylor checking out the press motor:

Monday, January 7, 2008

On it's way!

The press was picked up this afternoon without any drama. Ken's going to send me photos of the process later, but he said they did most of the moving by putting it on a pallet jack and onto the hydrolic lift on the back of the truck. From there, it goes to a depot to move onto another truck, then to Sydney to go on ANOTHER truck, and then finally to me. Should be here Wednesday.

So tomorrow I'll finish cleaning up the garage (or at least clearing enough space for the press) and getting organised.


Update: These photos from Ken just now

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Only 3 days until the press arrives! I'm excited, but a little nervous about how the transport will go. It gets picked up tomorrow morning from QLD. Eep.

I was honoured yesterday to be on the current WINKS list on the Desire to Inspire blog. Make sure you check out their blog, it's amazing. So much inspiration in so little space! Really wishing I owned rather than rented right now.

Also listed on the WINKS list is the Canberra's Got Style blog. Great to see someone promoting the more creative and curious side of our city. I'm envious of our Melbourne friends who have artsy markets and such. We've got the Old Bus Depot Markets, but they're not focussed solely on arts and handmade crafts. There's the Gorman House Markets, which sadly I've never visited. That's now on the to-do list. Still, if I get my things in order, I could try a stall one weekend to sell some greeting cards....

Friday, January 4, 2008

Transporting the press

Hi everyone, I hope you had a great holiday break and are feeling all fresh and ready for the new year.

I've little to report on today, as far as progress. I've been working on designs for the remaining wedding pieces - table menus, placecards, order of service, etc. as well as all of the final wedding plans that need to be organised. Combined with holidays, it's left little time for printing.

However, I do have an update on the transport of the Collie's Paragon. The transport company went on holidays before giving me a quote (grr), but they did manage to do an inspection of the press to get a better idea of what they're dealing with. When the holidays were over, my quote seemed to be 'lost'. So after a phonecall explaining my disappointment, the quote arrived in my inbox yesterday morning. For the company (SEND Australia Pty Ltd) to transport the press from Brisbane to Canberra, it will cost me $1000, which I am more than happy to pay. I'm just thankful that I won't have to fly up and hire all the equipment and try to move it myself.

The press gets picked up on Monday, and will be here on Wednesday - 5 days to go!

In the meantime, my fiancee and I have hired a big skip and thrown out a lot of rubbish in the garage in order to make room for the new press. We've installed new shelves and lighting, and now I've got a bit more tidying to go before it's ready.

4 weeks till the wedding :)