Friday, April 29, 2011

I bought this bracelet, yesterday in a 10-peso store in a supermarket in Las PiƱas. I actually bought two and put them together to fit me.

I really like objects that show the natural beauty of the material such as this bracelet made of some kind of polished nut. It's so ethnic, so bohemian - so me. ^_^

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Art of Zac Freeman

I came across this interesting portrait made of found objects. This is a 26.5 x 33 inch artwork by Zac Freeman made of assembled small pieces of junk mounted on a wooden board with a glue gun.


If you look closely you will find buttons, computer keypad parts, Lego and other small toys, containers caps, a remote control pad and a lot of other stuff that you would toss in the junk box.

Really, I find his works quite elusive. How does he make them to look so cool? Naturally, for you to make something like this you would have to segregate each object not by their color but by tone. And you would probably have to stand back from time to time check if you got all the different tones in the right places.

Anyways, click on the image to see more of his amazing works. ^_^

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bjork - All is Full of Love

This is a favorite music video by one of my favorite music artist. I love Bjork, I love electronic music and sci-fi themes. So this video is a real treat.



The video, released in 1999, was directed by Chris Cunningham (the same guy who directed Madonna's "Frozen" video - also a favorite of mine). The video won several awards, like Best Special Effects and also Breakthrough Video in the MTV Music Awards.

Remember the film "I, Robot" starring Will Smith (2004)? Many thought that the robot design was inspired by this music video. But Cunningham made no comment about it. I think he Bjork robot looks more interesting. I like the white glossy surface. Unlike the "I, Robot" robots that have a somewhat translucent skin.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Old Works:
The Gothic Cathedral Birdcage

I was surprised to see this birdcage (the one with rust-colored spires), that I designed for an exporting company back in 1999, in the August 2010 issue of Real Living, a home interior magazine. I found the magazine in my brother's house.


I shouldn't feel too honored because the article is about the flea markets in Dapitan. A sample like that birdcage, made ten years ago, would most likely end up in such places. I remembered when I used to work in that exporting company, there was this truck that came and the crew collected all the old samples, over-runs and rejected items. The old handicraft items are bought for like P10 to P50 each (sometimes by the kilo). When they get to Dapitan they are sold for double up to 10 times the price, but that would still be cheap compared to mall prices.

They say its fun to buy from flea markets because you can find treasures, that you can decorate your home with, for a very low price. I hope someone thought of that old birdcage as treasure and gave it a new home.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Egg Hunting

Happy Easter! While kids went hunting for Easter eggs, I did some hunting of my own. I searched for the best egg art on the web and I found these by Frank Grom.

Frank uses an electric drill and a whole lot of patience and carefulness when he works on his delicate pieces. Usually he places thousands of holes in one egg to create traditional Slovenian patterns.Cool huh? I would probably crush the egg before I could even complete one design. =P

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Favorite Bible Passage

It's Good Friday. The day the Christians world commemorate the passion and death of Jesus Christ. I was born in a Catholic family but we are not devout (I embarrassingly confess). My parents, through the years, have turned into slack Catholics preoccupied with the concerns of daily life. They don't hear mass every Sunday anymore but I know that my folks find the time to pray, briefly and discreetly for the family, between everyday tasks.

Typically on Maundy Thursday til Easter Sunday we just stay at home. Sometimes I read the entire Gospel on Good Friday to remember the teachings of Christ. My favorite Bible passage is of Mathew 6:25-34. I usually worry myself about the concerns of this physical world and when that happens I simply remember His beautiful words:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Visit to the
53rd Manila F.A.M.E. Trade Fair

I went to SMX at Mall of Asia to check out the Manila F.A.M.E International Trade Fair. It has been so long since I last visited this twice-a-year event. Manila F.A.M.E. happens every April and October. Attending is a must, in those years when I worked for exporting companies designing housewares and decor - that's way back in the late 90's. Two companies that I worked for participated in this event by CITEM (Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions). This is a place where manufacturers, from all over the Philippines, showcase their products and meet new foreign buyers.




For designers like me it is a place for inspiration - for ideas that you can juxtapose into something new. It is a place where you can find interesting shapes, colors, textures and material combinations. A place where you can see how innovative Filipinos are when it comes to design.

The pictures I've taken are of featured items. There are even more astounding items inside the booths of participating companies and they do not allow those items to be photographed. They have to protect their designs, you know.The trade fair is a 4-day event where the first day is exclusive to the exhibitors and buyers. It becomes open to the public on the third day. Some companies sell some of the items on the last day. I came on the last day and I almost missed it. I came at 5:45 PM and I didn't know the event closes at 6:00 PM. But the people at the registration booth was kind enough to let me in for free. Since there's only 15 minutes left, lugi nga naman ako if I still paid the P200 entrance fee. So there's a tipid tip for you haha. Dumating kayo pag malapit na magsara para libre! haha.


Too bad I didn't get to see hall-2 where the fashion accessories and holiday decors are but that's alright. I really came for the items at Hall-1 where the furniture, housewares and decors are, because I will be designing stuff like that if the business with my friend Raul pushes through. I've collect some business cards from companies who can manufacture for us.


I've noticed that it seems that there are a few exhibitors this year as compared to like, year 2000. I recall that they use to hold the trade fair in more than 3 buildings (there were even air-conditioned tents). Hmm is this the effect of the global economic crisis? Or maybe SMX is big enough to accommodate all of the exhibitors?

Anyways, I hope to attend the Manila F.A.M.E. on October. I won't be late again. ^_^

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Old Works:
The Bodhisattva Mask

This is the mask than goes with the Chinese Goddess costume that I made.

It is made of epoxy and finished with faux gold leaf. I made it too thick so it's kinda heavy.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Update on The Pinoy Blogger Shirts

Good news! Fitz sold more than half of the stocks in the Blogger's Fest.


Not only did Fitz collect some cash but also some valuable feedback from the bloggers. We've learned about other colors they also like, sizes that are more in demand, and a whole lot of interesting suggestions.

On the next blogger event we'll give the bloggers something to be excited about. ^_^

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Art of Quilling

I saw this when I googled for "paper strips". Lovely, isn't it? Festive!

The craft is called Quilling. Strips of paper are wound around a quill (originally), to create beautiful filigree-like patterns. I've read that this craft has been around since the Renaissance period.

Rolling paper may sound easy but I think the challenge is in keeping each piece of paper in position while you assemble the design and glue them together. Maybe quillers use pins and a cork board. I should try this sometime.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Snapshots:
Cables

This utility post is at arm's reach from our balcony. It's one of the things you will see from the window of my room. It is such an eyesore. Buti nalang may kurtina.


I wonder, if each telephone and cable TV lines are color coded, would these tangled-up wires would look more interesting?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Old Works:
Chinese Goddess Costume

I just thought of showing some old creations of mine, starting with this one. I began making this costume in January 2009 and it was completed after a year. It took that long because of delays due to some materials are not always available. It was intended to be used for busking (by me). You know, for street performance, like what mimes do.

It's a full 18-piece costume that includes inner and outer robes, trousers, a pair of leg warmers, two ribbon belts, and a long gold umm... scarf(?). Plus a pair of canvas shoes, a long wig, headdress, faux coral bead necklace, and the mask made of epoxy (that I made myself.) It also include a pair of gold fans, a red parasol, and a straight edge sword that I used in my wu-shu classes four years ago.

I never get to use this costume for it's main purpose. The mall that I hope would allow me to go busking on the 2010 Chinese New Year didn't grant my request. But this mall had been occasionally letting a group of buskers, posing as living brass statues, collect donations for more than 2 years.

Anyway, that didn't bring me down because I know other places where I could go busking. I kept it in the closet and waited for the next Chinese New Year. It had it's first public appearance in a drag beauty pageant last year in September. It served as national costume of course for Miss China.

Then came the Year of the Rabbit last February and I forgot about it. Hehe. Was a bit busy then. Oh well...



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Screen Printing Start-up :
The Afterword

This post serves as the afterword of my experience in learning the basic process of screen printing. I still have so much to learn. Screen printing really is more of a technical skill than it is an art. I am yet to try 2-color prints, and to do that with precision depends on the registration of my printing board.

I got my sort of improvised printing board from a one-on-one tutorial in 2009. It came with a light box and some materials used in the demo (a framed screen, a container of emulsion, ink, hardener, a small squeegee, and a plain shirt) for P8,300. It seemed to be a fair price for the entire package. I didn't have much of a choice - there are not so many tutorials available and I have only the internet to look for them. Type the words, "screen printing, tutorials, philippines" on google and you will be led to ads on sulit.com and olx.com. There is none in my city (Muntinlupa) and the one I took is in Pasig.
Unless you personally know someone who has the time to teach you how it's done, getting a tutorial package is the quickest way to learn the basic screen printing proces. But if you have plenty of time to do research, you can watch the many screen printing tutorials on youtube where all of them are made by Americans who would naturally recomend brands and equipment that are not available here. Anyway, there's also t-shirtforums.com/asia, where majority of the thread starters are Pinoys. It has been there for quite some time, some information are easy to find while others you have to dig for among off-topic posts. You can browze the forums even if you are not registered (I couln't register because apparently their anti spam robot device is faulty).

If you are persevering enough, you will find even more information on the internet than what you get from a paid tutor. You could even learn to make your own improvised printing board and light box and that could save you a lot of money. I chose the easy and costly way (that was a time when there is less time and more money) and the easy way is not always the best way. Mistakes I've done in screen printing was due to the information that was not given to me in the tutorials. Like the fact that diazo emulsions expire and must be kept in cool temperatures. I learned about other emulsions through research. There's an emulsion called aquasol which has a shelf life of 2 years and can be kept in room temperature, and it made me wonder why my tutor did not use that type of emulsion instead. Well the reason is probably because of cost. Diazo is cheaper. Cost is probably also the reason why they did not include a scoop coater in the package and instead they showed me how to apply emulsion on a screen with an old bank card.

But in fairness, through my tutorial I've learned about the best screen printing supply brands and stores such as MultiPrint and TULCO. When I visited the TULCO store I've acquired even more information about emulsions, inks and tools. I've also learn that they conduct their own tutorials. Basic and advanced tutorials for only P1,000. Though their tutorials do not happen regularly, they can notify you of their next classes if you requested for it. Ironic, isn't it? I've paid P8,300 for a tutorial that led me to a brand that conducts cheaper tutorials.

I realized that one can learn the basic process of screen printing, as well as gather all the needed materials and equipment for a lesser cost than what you pay for a tutorial package. You only need the right diskarte or strategy. And so I came up with this money-saving tip.

My art blog is becoming too technical so this is my last post about my experience on learning screen printing. But I'll post updates on the Pinoy Blogger shirts, and in the near future will show some shirt designs that I've made.

Screenprinting Start-up :
The Thrifty Way
To Learn Screen Printing

So if you are totally clueless about screen printing, here's a tipid way to learn:

  1. Watch a video tutorial on youtube. Find one that tells you all the required materials and equipment, and explains the entire process of screen printing. A synopsis video would do. I recommend the one by Catspit Productions. Make a list of the materials and equipment that you will need and watch separate videos about these materials. (i.e., how to stretch a screen on a wood frame).
  2. Buy materials such as emulsion, scoop coater, screen mesh, and ink from a store that specializes on screen printing products. They can answer most of your questions regarding their products. If you buy from National Bookstore, don't expect that the saleslady can recommend the right mesh number for your design. I suggest that you buy from TULCO, located along Aurora Blvd (across SM Sta. Mesa). The sales personnel are helpful. Some labels on their product containers include short instructions. You will also discover useful inexpensive tools that they sell there.
  3. For bigger equipment, like a printing table and a light box, of course you don't have to buy those professional types just like what you've seen on youtube or brochures (at least, not just yet). After all you are just trying out this process. You can improvise. Search the web on how to make your own equipment. Understand its function and you will be able to devise a printing board with wood and hinges. You can even make a light box out of a glass top coffee table with some light bulbs and a thick piece of fabric. Remember to do a step test on your improvised light box so you will not make wasteful errors about the correct exposure time.
  4. If don't want to improvise or spend for professional equipment, contact any of those who offer tutorial packages that include these equipment. Since you already know the process by this time, just buy the equipment without the added cost of the tutorial and the smaller materials.
  5. For tips and special techniques, search for them on the web. youtube and t-shirtforums.com. If you wish, you can have a tutorial about advanced screen printing from TULCO for only P500. Contact them and ask for their next schedule.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Screenprinting Start-up :
Last Batch of 1st Production

I was back at my printing this morning for the last batch of the Pinoy Blogger shirts. It was a hot day and yet I've encountered no clogs on my screen. I'm becoming more inclined to think that the clogs and the tough stains are caused by the old black ink that I used on the first batch. I also remember that I've used new white ink on the same stencil to print the sample shirt that I gave to Fitz and had no problems with cleaning.


Anyways, the 74 shirts are done (exluding the one reject. I'll think of something to do with). I've ironed and individually packed each shirt (we got the plastic bags at the One Stop Shirthouse in Binondo). Fitz will pick them up soon and he will sell them at the Blogger's Fest on April 16 at Thunderbirds Resort in Binangonan, Rizal. I hope the bloggers will like them. ^_^

Monday, April 11, 2011

Inspiration:
Sketch Prints on White Shirts


I am very much inspired by these shirts I found on the web. They are really simple with just black ink on white shirts yet they are very artistic and stylish. I would like to come up with a series of sketch designs too.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sceen Printing Start-up :
2nd Batch of 1st Production

I did the 2nd batch of shirts today, this time on blue shirts. I had a very interesting observation. The stencil didn't get clogged and had minimal stains - ink easily washes off. My washing time was reduced and so I was able to finish 25 shirts less that 4 hours.

The reason for the ease in washing could be any of the following: 1) The weather. It was cloudy today and cooler temperatures does not dry the paint quickly to clog the screen; 2) The new ink. On the first batch of printing I used ink that I kept for a year. Maybe old inks, even if not opened, produce very small hardened clumps inside the container; 3) The lacquer thinner. When I did a thorough cleaning of the stencil maybe the thinner gave the screen some kind of protective coat.

Well I'll have another batch to print on Monday. It's the last batch of my first production and I hope by then I could narrow down to the real reason behind the easy washing.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Screenprinting Start-up :
An Effective Way to Remove Clogs
form Screens

I was supposed to do the next batch of printing this afternoon. But seeing that my stencil is all stained and clogged up, I decided to clean it with lacquer thinner (I don't have a screen opener yet) and risk damaging it. My deadline's on April 15 anyway so that gives me enough time to make a new stencil.

I once damaged a perfectly good stencil because of thinner (I tried to declog it with an old toothbrush), but that stencil was not applied with hardener. I thought maybe this new stencil with hardener could withstand the bond-breaking powers of lacquer thinner.

First I tried using cotton buds dipped on thinner and carefully rubbed it on clogged corners. It did loosen up the dried ink. But the thing about lacquer thinner is that it evaporates quickly. So if you didn't pick up the loosened ink fast enough it will just harden again in another area, and cotton buds are too small for this job.

Then I tried using cloth - rubbed both sides of the stencil at the same time with thinner. This only loosened and spread the ink, creating a very thin coat of dried ink on the stencil openings. The same thing happened when I used paper towels.

Lastly, before giving up, I used pieces of cotton. Again rubbed both sides at the same time. Well it worked! No more clogs and stains, and most importantly, no wiped-off emulsion. I should have thought of it before. Cotton is highly absorbent - it holds the thinner longer and absorbs the loosened ink, and it is not abrasive, thus does not damage emulsions treated with hardener. Hooray for cotton!

But this discovery took most of my printing time. So I spent the rest of the day doing other chores.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Screen Printing Start-up :
1st Batch of 1st Production

Before I started to print I decided to put hardener on my single stencil. Even if it would make it less easy to decoat, I thought that I rather have a durable stencil, because I will be scrubbing off the ink from it many times later.

I started printing at 1:30 in the afternoon and was able to print 25 shirts by 5:30 (I stopped printing because it was getting dark). So with me doing all the work (wearing the shirt on 7 pallets, printing one coat of ink per shirt, washing the stencil, hanging the shirts, then start again) I make 6 shirts in an hour. Not bad. I can probably make 50 one-color print shirts in one working day.

I actually had fun printing. Of course I've learned many things in my first day of production. I realized that my design, even if it looked simple (a single colored print of small words and phrases within a big phrase), was sensitive to print. To much pressure on the squeegee expands the black areas, affecting the thickness of the small text, and less pressure on the other hand, accuratley prints the small text but leave some black areas less solid. I pull the squeegee twice. I put moderate pressure on the first pull and much less on the second. That kinda worked for this design.

Also, I had glog problems. Pressured water or scrubbing with a soaped sponge didn't work (I was afraid to try a brush). I don't have a spray-on screen opener. I forgot to ask MultiPrint if they have anything like it. I've heard that screen openers are quite pricey.

So as a result, as I continue printing, some sharp corners became blunt, some small holes began to disappear, some smooth edges became a bit rough. But somehow, it seemed okay. The originally crisp n' clean design changed into worn n' weathered.

When I'm done with this job I'll stay away from designing crisp n' clean prints. I'm concentrating on rough, weathered and distressed designs - the rustic or vintage look (that I've always find interesting). Well, at least until I find an effective and affordable way to quickly declog screens.

I had one reject shirt today. Lesson learned: Once you remove the shirt from the printer don't put it back and try to print over the previous print, most especially if the registration is unreliable. =/

It's Thursday. I'm gonna hang-out with some friends tonight. I'll just cure the prints with a flat iron in the morning.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Screen Printing Start-up :
Setting Up The Workspace

Went out this morning to buy stuff for my production. I bought some laundry clips and rope to hang my printed shirts on. Also a spray bottle with measurements for the screen decoater (which I will use some other time).

I had been deciding where to set up my workplace - upstairs in my room and hang the shirts at the deck OR everything in the garage. One thing to consider is a water source, because I will have to wash the screen after a number of prints to prevent a lot of clogs. Both places have faucets but I chose to use the garage because the faucet at the deck is not shaded (that will be uncomfortable under the afternoon sun) and besides the wind is too strong up there - the kind that rolls up your shirt on the rope.

So I placed in the garage a long plastic table for printing and a smaller table for the shirt preparation. I also have my 20-meter rope tied up there. I'm all set for printing tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Screen Printing Start-up :
Buying the Shirts

It was another trip to Quezon City and Manila today with my friends Fitz, Don and Cesar. We bought 75 plain round-necked shirts in 3 colors for the Pinoy Blogger design. We got white, cashmere gray, and light blue from our chosen supplier (we decided to do the design in black ink on light colored shirts - it's cheaper). Actually the shirt stores along Juan Luna Avenue usually carry common brands of shirts like Whistler, Softext, and Crown, to name a few. These brands seem to have the same palette of colors (27 hues) and the difference in price is just a peso or two.


We bought Softext shirts except for the whites. Their fabric is not thick enough to produce a very opaque white. So we searched the busy avenue for another brand. Fitz found this brand, Winner, and it's a real winner because not only does it have better whites - the brand has more available colors (32 hues). But the price is P10 more than the common brands. So I guess we'll order this brand for whites and colors that are not available from the common brands.

Screen Printing Start-up :
A Visit to the MultiPrint Store

After buying the shirts we headed for Araneta Avenue in Quezon City to visit the MultiPrint store to buy reclaiming powder (I have 7 screens to reclaim!) and to check out the place.

When I got inside, my attention was immediately caught by the sample prints that are displayed on the wall. They are really amazing! 3-dimensional prints! One print is beveled (like 1/4" in height), one is embossed with felt-like texture (they call it flocking), and one has a grid of tiny bristles. They also have foils that produce shinny metallic prints, and also designs with rhinestones and small cabochons.

I had to put my admiration aside for a moment and ask for what I came for. Their screen reclaimer, in powder form, is available in 10g and 1kg. The 10g pack is P55 each. They gave me a print-out about the product. It says, for normal decoating mix 10g with 1 liter of water; and for old stencils, including those applied with hardener, mix 10g with 500ml of water. The instruction sheet also includes probable causes if the screen does not decoat properly. The decoating solution should not be used on underexposed emulsions. It should be allowed to soak the screen long enough for it to do its job but should not be left to dry on the emulsion. Otherwise it will only make the emulsion tougher to remove.

Before we left I asked about how the awesome prints on display are done. The very helpful personnel ( I failed to ask his name) said that they are all done using plastisol inks. Making the print with bevels required a thicker stencil and they have special emulsion that produces that. One cool thing about plastisol ink is that they don't dry up on your screen. I asked, with all that advantage of plastisol, why do people still use water-based inks. He said, besides that plastisol inks cost more, you would need a power blow dryer or a heat press to cure the print. The cheapest heat press I've on the web is around P10,000. Hmmm I think I'll stick with water-based inks for now heehee.

Afterwards we went to TULCO and I bought more black ink, a meter of 120 screen mesh, and 2 scoop coaters (14" & 4" long). These items are also available in MultiPrint but I found that items at TULCO are cheaper.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Autumn Story by The Firekites

I enjoyed watching this music video of The Firekites' Autumn Story. I love the chalk animation. I love the music too of course!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Screen Printing Start-up :
Good Response on my 1st Shirt

Fitz liked the shirt despite the "minimal" issues that I pointed to him. Well it's just a sample anyway. I will make sure the ones we're gonna sell will have quality prints.


He messaged me on facebook about the positive feedback that the shirt is getting in the summit. From his friends alone he got around 15 orders. We're gonna talk more about our next step. ^_^

Here Comes April

It has been a month since I've left the family business. March was entirely spent on learning screen printing and maintaining this blog.

No source of income yet, so I've been trying to be frugal with my savings as much as I can. I'm glad my mom gives me some money for phone and internet load, and for some little stuff for my screen printing project. Being 36 years old and still receiving allowance form your parents sounds uncool. Others may think that I'm lucky. Nonetheless I'm thankful.

I've also been trying to be optimistic while taking this new path towards self-employment. The uncertainty that lies ahead worries me a bit. But I believe that opportunities are heading my way. Opportunities in fact are here now. They are everywhere and I just have to grab one or two, try them out and see if it works for me.

It's kinda nakakapanibago or should I say disorienting, this new routine. No more waking up early to go to work, I wake up between 10 to 11 AM almost every day because I have been sleeping late, like 2 AM when I get carried away by a creative task. I am left all alone here at home during the daytime except Sundays. When you stay at home most days of the week you really tend to spend less (on fare or gas and food). Even you're laundry load is lessened.

But of course I hope this will change in the coming months. I'd like to go out more and do legwork. Like meeting clients, sourcing and purchasing materials, collecting payments. ^_^

Friday, April 1, 2011

Screen Printing Start-up :
The First Shirt I Ever Printed

This morning I did test prints of the Pinoy Blogger label cloud designs. I've used TULCO's high opaque white rubberized textile ink. I've read on the label that 2 to 3 coats are needed and that made me a bit worried because I'm not confident about my printing table's registration. So after the first coat of ink I raised the screen and let the shirt stay on the printing table to dry. After 10 minutes I applied the second coat even if the first coat has not completely dried - I was worried that the ink would start to harden and clog the screen before I could even do a second coat.


My first print on a shirt isn't a perfect one. Perhaps a third coat would have made the print more solid white. Also there were issues at the bottom of the design - uneven depositing of ink. Some areas had less ink, and the lower left corner had too much ink that it kinda blotted out a few details. I need to practice how I pull down the squeegee.

Anyways, I'll just iron this shirt and hand it to Fitz later. He's gonna give this shirt a debut on the blogger summit tomorrow.