The Great Catsby

Art Deco Cat Flap

Another personal project I’ve worked on during the 2020 pandemic has been an entirely useless Art Deco cat flap! It’s useless on two levels: firstly because I don’t have a cat to flap through it, and secondly because I don’t think it would hold up to a cat’s claws or the elements here in Blighty.

I’ve made another nice video about it, featuring the entire making process. It’s really real stained glass! It was a total push out of my making comfort zone, and I feel quite rewarded for it.

My Solar Robot

My solar robot, sitting on the windowsill, harvesting sunlite

If anybody else is still out there blogging in 2020, I’m sure the last thing anyone needs is a post about the impact of Coronavirus and the public lockdowns that have ensued. I have to acknowledge it though, and stress that I’m trying to not take for granted the fact that I’ve been doing quite well under the circumstances.

I told my dad on a phone call earlier this summer that it’s the introvert’s time to shine: working from home is how I’ve always done it, and doing things like trying to work out cycle routes where I would encounter as few other people as possible is exactly my kind of task.

I haven’t let my foot off the creative accelerator either. It’s physically small, but my biggest personal project this summer has been a robot I have made out of some tiny solar panels I ordered from China, a can of chickpeas, and a tiny little computer.

All he does is rotate his arms to collect power, so he can use that power to rotate his arms again the next day: a perfectly useless little machine!

The project took a couple of months of simmering, and I made a nice little video of the project. A few recent experiences have encouraged me to get over the hump of the sound of my own voice, so I have narrated this video, and I think I’ve done a nice job! I’m proud of the little robot, and proud of the video I’ve made, so I’d love for you to give a couple of minutes to watch it.

A simple message

I was thinking about how the abysmal state of some of my printing screens would yield some mega grunge. I put that thought to the test today in the form of a little hand-lettered design with a big message.

Peace signs

I really like how this mini-series turned out. Send me an email or an Instagram message if you’d like to buy one – I only did twelve of them! They’re printed on 28x38cm watercolour paper, so they’re a little smaller than A3. £15 including postage!

Picture of one of my peace screenprints in a frame on my wall

Chimney Christmas

While I understand the conventional wisdom that Christmas cards are a postal-service-propping hassle, my good lady Lilly and I do like the annual excuse to put our tiny letterpress through its paces.

Like every year, we try and make the card vaguely thematic to an event from our own past-twelve-months, and this year’s standout event was Lilly showing how excellently she does something when she turns her hand to it – she won the World Bread Award for her home-baked wild-yeast bread this autumn!

Alas, we don’t even have a garden for a wood-fired stove, but Santa’s affinity for chimneys made it a good way to link the season with the achievement. Like one of Lilly’s loaves, the card came out great!

Speakerbot III

Speakerbot III

This weekend’s project was an upgrade of sorts for Speakerbot, the little robot that lives beside my turntables.

He originally came to be because my speakers sat on different shelves that weren’t the same height in an old apartment. Of course the way to remedy that was to make a robot to bring one speaker up to the right height. Here was my original illustration of the idea:

120210 - Annoy

A couple of days later, he emerged from the cardboard

120211 - Speakerbot

Then he had a well-received lick of paint

120311 - Productive Day

About five years later, the cardboard was starting to get a little soft and wobbly, so this weekend I rebuilt him out of MDF. Who knew cardboard could be so human-like?

woodbot

An upgrade was done to his electricals, including some new switches on the light-matrix and a new meter that can just-about be hooked up to the music to display its current.

Press the button

He stands a lot firmer now, and will hopefully last longer than the cardboard incarnation did!

Christmas Cards 2015: The Santa Cruiser

card2015

I’m selling christmas cards again this year. Click here to buy some!

Last year was my first year selling my letterpressed christmas cards, and in hindsight, it was a bit ambitious to try and sell every single design I’ve done all at once when I was printing them on demand. To keep things simpler, particularly under the time constraints, I’m just going to be printing and selling the one design this year, which you should be seeing a mockup of above.

This year was the year of the bicycle for me – Lilly and I got bicycles for the first time since we were teenagers, and spent the summer cycling around Hertfordshire, so we decided to reflect that in this year’s design. In developing the illustration, I tried to put Santa on a variety of bicycles (he looked particularly ridiculous on a racer bike!) and found he fit best on a slightly beach-ish cruiser.

As ever, these cards are being hand-letterpressed onto high-quality 300gsm Somerset card stock, and they will come with appropriately-sized envelopes. This year the envelopes are made of recycled paper, which is a big look!

Cards will be pressed and sent out to you during the first week of December, so they arrive with you in good time to send out to your people. It’s a small selling window, so get yours now!

Would you like some to send to your nearest and dearest? Go and get some here!

New Jack Year

DSC_6864

Lilly's brother Michael decided he wanted to motivate his troops with a trophy that can be passed around his team whenever anyone does anything sufficiently awesome. He had the idea of a trophy jackalope. Despite this being America we're talking about, his colleagues were a bit squeamish about the idea of taxidermy, so he asked me if I had any ideas.

A plush jackalope seemed to be the logical solution, so while I was stateside this winter, I got to work. As accosting a sewing machine is much more my idea of fun than getting sloshed and/or cold, I spent my New Year's Eve wrangling with a handsome 1970s Kenmore:

DSC_6896 ...Well, you wouldn't want to be kenless, would you?

The antlers are the coolest thing about him - I stuffed each branch with pipe cleaner, so they can be bent into any shape and will stay there.

treehorn

He's hardly perfect - his head is too big, backside too small, and due to my low-rent sewing skillz, he is a bit twisted around, kind of reminiscent of the dramatic squirrel. I'm happy with him regardless, as he does actually look like a jackalope, and it always pleases me when the things I create end up looking like they're meant to!

I named him Treehorn, and got plenty of photos of him before I left Americaland, including a full 360° of him. Try dragging or doubleclicking the above photo to see!

 
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