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Blog

Where does the time go??

Rhian Mclaren

So the summer has run away with me a little and I haven't written a blog post in far too long, and have a few little updates for you!

Top Drawer

I was very pleased to be invited back to participate in Spotted at Top Drawer this September, as part of Spotted Plus. I had such a great few days there in January and met some great people, some of whom I will see there again, so I'm really looking forward. The show will be in Olympia from the 14th - 16th September so if you're planning a visit, please do stop by and say hello!

Blog and Buy Sale Summer Wish List

The Blog&Buy Sale Summer Wish List was also announced recently, and I was really chuffed to have one of my new zip pouches accepted - in Eden Mustard.

There are so very many talented people out there, and it's amazing to see so many in one place. Here's a few of my favourites...

FOX IN THE WOODS, MOUNTED GICLÉE PRINT – FIINK DESIGN

FOX IN THE WOODS, MOUNTED GICLÉE PRINT – FIINK DESIGN

CHAI CUPS TEA TOWEL – PICCADELHI

CHAI CUPS TEA TOWEL – PICCADELHI

VESPA MUG – LILY & MAE

VESPA MUG – LILY & MAE

PEACE LILY SCREEN PRINT – HANNAH JOSEY

PEACE LILY SCREEN PRINT – HANNAH JOSEY

WONDERCOOK TEA TOWEL – SAM OSBORNE

WONDERCOOK TEA TOWEL – SAM OSBORNE

Whosit & Whatsit

I will shortly be selling my cushions in the soon to be opening Whosit & Whatsit shop in Newcastle. The company is all about celebrating the 'who' behind the 'what' which is something really important to small businesses like myself, as the story and process behind what we do is often such an important part of the things we create.

I was very excited when I was asked if I wanted to be a part of their project, and was lucky enough to have my very first interview with them a couple of weeks ago, which you can read here.

The shop is hoping to launch in September/October, and I can't wait to pay them a visit when it does - great excuse for a trip up north!

RENIQLO

Talking of Newcastle, my friend from university Lucy Blagdon who is based in the North East, has recently launched her business creating lovely wears that you can buy, along with creating and writing great step by step DIY projects led by fashion, traditional crafts and so much more.

She also knows how to bake a very good cake, so has some amazing recipes to try out on her site too!

Click here to visit her website. 

Crafty Fox Market & New Products!

Rhian Mclaren

I was recently very excited to find out that I have a place in the Uncovered section of Crafty Fox Market on Sunday 27th April in Brixton, and since then have been busy working on some new products to sell.

I hate waste, and I’m very aware that not everyone is on the lookout for a cushion, or perhaps have the money to spend on one, so I have decided to do a small run of little bags with the spare fabric I have.

I’ve started with small purses, which are lined, with a contrasting zip, perfect for little bits and bobs, and I will also be creating some larger bags, ideal for makeup, stationary and so on…

So, if you are in or around Brixton that weekend, why not stop by and say hello. There will be so many talented designer makers there with an array of items on sale - not to be missed!

Top Drawer - Spotted

Rhian Mclaren

It's been a while since my last post, having had my busiest few months yet, finally launching my first range. After taking part in the Renegade Craft Fair at the start of November, I went on to take part in 'A Makers Dozen' pop up shop at Craft Central just before Christmas. Had such a great time at both events, with lots of positive feedback, which was lovely.

Shortly after the pop up shop I was very excited to receive an email from Charlotte Abrahams, who curates the Spotted stand at Top Drawer, inviting me to take part. As a new business, in it's early stages, a trade show seemed a little out my reach, but Spotted was established for this very reason - to give new businesses an entry point into the trade show at affordable rates. It was a wonderful experience, and although a little daunting to begin with, I felt quickly reassured after meeting the other Spotted exhibitors who were such a lovely crowd of people.

Like many designers, I am a little shy when it comes to talking about what I do, so taking part in Spotted has been great for my confidence. Chatting with buyers, press and other trades people, I soon felt relaxed and was able to really enjoy the experience.

Here's my stand all set up...

photo 2(2).JPG
photo 1(2).JPG

And here's some photo's of the other Spotted exhibitor stands, and all the lovely work that was on show.

Up and coming events

Rhian Mclaren

SFSA Open Studio's - Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th November (11am - 6pm)

Second Floor Studios & Arts bi-annual open studios. Come and visit a community of over 300 artists, printmakers, craft makers, fashion designers and designer makers in their workspaces.

SFSA, Mellish Industrial Estate, Harrington Way, Woolwich, SE18 5NR

A Makers Dozen Christmas Pop-up Shop

A one-week only Christmas boutique brought to you by London’s largest affordable artist studio provider Second Floor Studios & Arts (SFSA) in collaboration with Craft Central.

The Pop-Up shop in The Craft Central Gallery, Clerkenwell will feature handmade items by thirteen talented designer-makers from SFSA, Woolwich. Pieces for sale include artwork, prints, fine jewellery, accessories, furniture, decorations, stocking fillers and greeting cards. Join us on launch night (Tuesday 3rd December 5pm-9pm) for first pick and free entry into our raffle to win a £40 voucher to spend in store.

2nd-8th December 10am-9pm (8th 10am-5pm)
33-35 St. John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London, EC1M 4DS
http://www.secondfloor.co.uk/makersdozen
Twitter @2ndfloorstudios #amakersdozen

Latest news...

Rhian Mclaren

Very excited to have been selected to show at the Renegade Craft Fair in November - it'll be my first event and I'm really looking forward to being involved. I've been paired up to share my stand with Made by Me Me Me who's products are made by hand with love and care, using fine quality porcelain. I think our products will sit really nicely together, so am looking forward to seeing the stand set up!

I've been busy making some hand made cards for the event, using print outs of my patterns and coloured card - not sure I'll ever grow out of cutting and pasting! I've also been arranging for my new collection of prints to be made up into a selection of cushions - this time in a variety of sizes for mixing and matching. 

photo_cards.JPG

Renegade showcase the brightest talents in contemporary craft and design, and there will be a huge variety of things to see, so if you're nearby that weekend, come by and say hello!

A long time coming!

Rhian Mclaren

Welcome to my new blog. It has as my title says, been a long time coming. As well as keeping you posted on my latest news, I'll be sharing nice things I find, photographs of things and places that inspire me and whatever comes up in between!

For my first post I thought I'd share with you a little insight into the world of screen printing. Screen printing plays as big roll in what I do as a designer maker. It's a wonderful process which is unfortunately being overtaken by digital printing. 

It does of course require a lot more graft, and things won't always go the way you want them - but this is far outweighed by the beautiful results you can achieve and the satisfaction of knowing you have produced something by hand. 

For me, screen printing lets me take a very graphic design and soften it, producing geometric prints with a less clinical feel. 

Ever wondered what's involved? Here are some photo's I took whilst printing my latest collection, showing the process...

 

Colour separations printed onto acetates in preperation for exposing onto the screens. Screens are coated with a light sensitive emulsion and once dry are placed in a UV exposure until with the acetates underneath. The light fixes the emulsion to the screen, except where the black of the acetates block it out. 

Colour separations printed onto acetates in preperation for exposing onto the screens.

Screens are coated with a light sensitive emulsion and once dry are placed in a UV exposure until with the acetates underneath. The light fixes the emulsion to the screen, except where the black of the acetates block it out. 

The screen is then washed, removing the emulsion that hasn't been fixed, revealing the design - similar to a stencil. 

The screen is then washed, removing the emulsion that hasn't been fixed, revealing the design - similar to a stencil. 

Gum tape is used to ensure there are no gaps between the emulsion and screen frame, and screws are attached in readiness for aligning the screen.

Gum tape is used to ensure there are no gaps between the emulsion and screen frame, and screws are attached in readiness for aligning the screen.

A registration bar is fixed and will be used to align the screen before each print. The repeat is measured by placing the screen alongside the acetates, which tells us the distance required between each stopper. The registration bar will then be used to line up with the stoppers as it is moved along the table.

A registration bar is fixed and will be used to align the screen before each print.

The repeat is measured by placing the screen alongside the acetates, which tells us the distance required between each stopper. The registration bar will then be used to line up with the stoppers as it is moved along the table.

My fabrics are printed using Procion Dyes, which penetrate the fibers of the fabric.  Small amounts of powder are weighed using scales, before being mixed with Manutex paste.

My fabrics are printed using Procion Dyes, which penetrate the fibers of the fabric.  Small amounts of powder are weighed using scales, before being mixed with Manutex paste.

Achieving the desired colour can take time, as the printed colour must be steamed and washed before the true colour is revealed.   

Achieving the desired colour can take time, as the printed colour must be steamed and washed before the true colour is revealed. 

 

Once dry the test sample can then be steamed and washed.  The results then form the basis of your next batch of tests, and so on...for this collection I spent 2 days testing colours! 

Once dry the test sample can then be steamed and washed. 

The results then form the basis of your next batch of tests, and so on...for this collection I spent 2 days testing colours! 

One colour is printed at a time, alternating along the table, allowing the colour to dry before printing the panels in between.

One colour is printed at a time, alternating along the table, allowing the colour to dry before printing the panels in between.

Multiple colourways can be printed along the same length of fabric for minimal waste.

Multiple colourways can be printed along the same length of fabric for minimal waste.

Once dry, the fabric is then enveloped in a clean sheet in preparation for steaming.  It is important to protect the fabric from any possible drops of water, as until it has been set by the steam, the print will run. 

Once dry, the fabric is then enveloped in a clean sheet in preparation for steaming. 

It is important to protect the fabric from any possible drops of water, as until it has been set by the steam, the print will run. 

The fabric is then hung from the steam carousel, with the print facing inwards.

The fabric is then hung from the steam carousel, with the print facing inwards.

The fabric is steamed for 30 minutes, and then washed to ensure any excess dye is removed.  

The fabric is steamed for 30 minutes, and then washed to ensure any excess dye is removed.  

Printed, steamed, washed and good to go! 

Printed, steamed, washed and good to go!