Dinosaur Island Screenprint Stencil

Woah nelly, dinosaurs, again! I have been bitten by the prehistoric bug and it’s going to be a while before you see anything else but dinosaurs from me. If you ever wanted to try your hand at screen printing but can’t bear the thought of investing in emulsions and drawing fluids, you should give this a go! It’s a quick surefire way to get you addicted to your very own hand pulled art. I love doing what I call “cut and paste” art, where I use simple shapes to form funny scenes. It requires very little resources, all you need is a big imagination! Get your game face on and go get cracking!

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Materials

Plain Cotton Bag | Screen print Ink | Screen print A4 Mesh Board | Squeegee | Adhesive Paper

Download

Silkscreen Design

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1. Print out the silkscreen design onto a piece of adhesive paper and cut the shapes out.

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2. Arrange them according to your preference. Remove the backing and stick them on to the front side of the mesh board.

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3. Put a piece of cardboard inside the bag to prevent ink from seeping to the back. Flip the board over and place a good amount of ink at the top of the board. (Psst, I overloaded on mine, sorry!)

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4. Get someone to hold the side of the board for you. Using a squeegee or a piece of cardboard, pull the ink from the top down and then back up again.

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5. Gently remove the board from the fabric. Transfer any excess ink back into the tub or print on another bag if you wish too! Wash the screen as soon as possible.

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6. Leave the ink to dry completely. Once it’s dried, heat set the front and back with an iron for 10 mins. This will ensure you seal the ink onto the bag. Ta-dah! You got yourself a plesiosaurus dinosaur swimming around volcanoes!

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#jurassiczookeeper #dinosquad #prattkeeping (hehe, just kidding!)

Photos of me by my sidekick.

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DIY Dinosaur Placemats

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After watching Jurassic World a few weeks back, I was hit by a wave of childhood nostalgia and a teeny bit of dinosaur fever started creeping back up on me. The days where my brothers and I would collect Jurassic Park stickers, or the times I would watch The Land Before Time for the millionth time instead of doing my homework. The Land Before Time was probably one of my favourite movies as a kid, it was so sad but damn was it good.

After reminiscing about my time as an imaginary dinosaur keeper, I decided to come up with a handful of dino-inspired DIYs. To start the ball rolling, here is a relatively simple DIY tutorial (but might require you to have pretty confident sewing skills). This is very similar to my previous cloud mat tutorial, but let’s just say this is better.

Materials

Thick Vinyl | Leatherette | Stiff Felt | Glue | Teflon Footer

Download

Triceratops Pattern

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1. Cut the shapes of your Triceratops out following the pattern in the link above.

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2. Use fabric glue and piece the layers together. Allow to dry for 15 to 30 minutes.

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3. Once that’s dried, glue the entire piece onto a piece of stiff felt. Allow it to dry fully according to the instructions on your fabric glue bottle.

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4. Follow the shape of your dinosaur and cut the excess fabric off.

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5. Trace the shape of your dinosaur onto a piece of clear vinyl and cut that out. If you want to get rid of the black ink marks after, use some rubbing alcohol to wipe them off.

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6. Place the vinyl on top of the leatherette and secure them together using binder clips before sewing. This will ensure that the pieces do no move around during the stitching process.

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7. Sew everything up using a teflon footer. For heavy weight fabric, you should sew with a longer stitch length and a needle size of 16/100 or 18/110. Always test on scrap pieces before sewing the actual piece. You might also need to switch to using the hand wheel when you come across tricky areas.

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Go ahead and have a little party with your newly made dinosaur friends! Have a roaring good time!

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Brighter than Sunshine

I’m a big fan of quirky and vibrant designs that pack a punch! My 2015 go-to palette are definitely wild colour pairings and postmodern 80s memphis patterns. I have been lusting after these beautiful pieces for the longest time! Both labels have one of a kind pieces that are handcrafted and constructed using the simplest of materials. I must say that I’m terribly tempted to purchase them. My wardrobe really needs a burst of colour.

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Túworkshop is based in Shanghai/Hong Kong and everything is made to order. Their jewellery brings pom poms to a whole new level! You can finally wear pom poms around your neck without looking tacky! I love the way they see colour too, always choosing fun combinations that contrast seamlessly together.

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Check out their website & instagram and who knows, you might walk away with a little something.

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Equally talented, Tiff Manuell is one woman that has more affinity with colour than I will ever have in my entire life. I love how she fearlessly adds patterns and colours to a blank canvas. Her job might just be my dream job. Being able to completely immerse oneself everyday in art that not only makes you happy, but also sends good vibes to the receiver.

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Her goods really define the epitome of creativity. I think these would be perfect to bring out your larger than life personality! You can continue drooling over her works at her website and instagram.

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Working with Cyanotype Fabric

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Just last week, I wrapped up my last cyanotype workshop for the month and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get to continue on another similar project soon. It will make my year really special if it happens, but I’m not going to talk about it for fear of jinxing it! Anyway, a while back, I procured some washi tape when I popped by one of my old work places. We were just catching up and I can’t remember what transpired out of our many conversations, but we ended up wondering if the prints on washi tape could transfer successfully onto a cyanotype print. I gave the tapes a run for their money at one of my workshop classes and they came out beautifully. Spurred on by all the fun everyone was having, I made a mental note to make a blog post documenting the cyanotype process.

So, here it is!

Materials

Cyanotype Fabric | Plants | Acrylic Sheet | Chipboard | Binder Clips | Water | Hydrogen Peroxide | Almighty Sun

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Take a walk around your local park and find some interesting plants to work with. You need to press them in between heavy books for about a week to get rid of moisture and ensure they are completely flat.

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Arrange your plants on the pre-soaked cyanotype fabric. I cut mine in a circular fashion because I wanted to fit them onto an embroidery hoop. You have to work in a dimly lit room because the cyanotype fabric is light sensitive. It will start developing once it has been exposed to sunlight. Cyanotype fabric can be bought at Blueprints on Fabric or you can choose to get an Inkodye kit (not cyanotype, but it works in a similar way).

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I played around with layering in a constellation pattern I made and also created a washi tape sampler for future reference.

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Once you are done sandwiching your print in between the acrylic sheet and chipboard, clip them tightly together with binder clips. Choose a spot with the strongest sunlight and place your board right there. The above picture is obviously not being sunned in strong sunlight, it is in the shade because that makes a nicer picture. Time needed to sun: 10 minutes. If the sun decides to play hide and seek, leave it out for a longer period of time.

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Gently remove your plants after the time is up and quickly chuck them into a tub of water.

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You need to go through three washing stages. 1) Initial Water Bath consisting of only distilled water. 2) Hydrogen Peroxide Bath consisting of water plus a small cap full of hydrogen peroxide 3% solution. 3) Final Rinse Bath which is constant running water.

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Wash the fabric in plain distilled water for about 5 minutes. You can see the intensity of the blue is pretty meh here.

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After the first bath, get ready a fresh tub of water that has been filled with hydrogen peroxide and watch it magically darken to a lovely prussian blue! Once that finishes, prepare to wash it in another tub of constant running water for approximately 10 minutes.

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And voila! You are done! Hang your fabrics out in the sun to dry and iron it to get rid of the wrinkles.

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If you are feeling crafty, you can create mixed media artwork with your fabric pieces! Cut out little fishes and have them swim around your globe shaped aquarium. Or get out some embroidery threads and fill in the blank spaces.

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The embroidery stitches used here are the french knot and a ribbed spider web stitch. They make great imaginary dandelion plants. Once you are done, hang it on the wall and enjoy your new piece of art!

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Behind The Scenes: Log of Charlie Ming

Well, here it comes. Drum roll please. After 4 years of hibernating in storage, I’m finally showing some never before seen photos from the making of The Log of Charlie Ming! Why now, you might ask? Because last Wednesday, the hard disk that represents my life died on me (that ungrateful son of a byte). Did I ask for it? No. Was I asking for it? Yes. Next time when your hard disk is showing signs of ageing, please do not ignore it. Unless your brain is the size of a chickpea. What followed next was a string of profanities, getting my panties in a bunch and just sheer mad panic. I am inherently a worrywart and naturally this meant disaster to me. And boy, was I in for a rude awakening when I was quoted $2,000 to repair a motor that runs the read write head on my HDD. A hard disk recovery that costs more than my 5 days vacation to Bali? Oh hell no.

So I got out my ninja asian skills and went back in time through time machine on my old macbook that I stopped using, because it smoked on me last year. One of the many things that came to mind when I lost my hard disk was the end of the road for Charlie Ming. I prayed really hard to the computer gods that they would be kind to this chickpea brainiac and to please let me have my Charlie Ming back. My son that costs $5 from chinatown central ok! Let’s just say that I still lost important files but I’m glad to announce the return of my lost son.

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For posterity’s sake, I think it would be timely to show some BTS pictures of this old project and what truly goes on behind a staged photograph. The Log of Charlie Ming is my last photography project. If you are keen to understand the project, click on the link! My interest for building sets and dioramas have not waned, I simply do not have the capacity to work on another project for now. And in all honesty, diorama photography is the only style of photography that I will ever create. I really suck at other genres. Sadly, I do not like being around live beings in general. It’s awkward to me and I’m bad at making small talk. Better off with the inanimate, I say!

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All sets you see below were built from grey boards and props were either found in flea markets or created by hand. There is no special place to source for props, you have to be a hunter of trash (or treasure, your pick). Second hand shops, flea markets and hardware stores are going to be your best friends. Occasionally, eBay, if you want something very specific like a mini sewing machine. You can easily build tables, shelves and beds with basal wood and a handsaw and lots of glue, ain’t nobody gunna know. Old pocket watches can be clocks, a sponge can be a mattress, aluminium foil can be paint tubes, toothpicks can become window grills, you get the drift. You really have to push the limits to what ordinary objects can be or can look like. Once you get passed that creative mental block, everything you see that is miniature can become something realistic in your set.

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Before building the sets for a scene, I would often do a rough sketch on how I wanted them to look visually in a photograph. They were meant to be photographed only from one or two angles. This helps save time on the construction process and also helps to save money.

The Log of Charlie Ming

The Log of Charlie Ming

Most of my sets were shot in my shoebox size bedroom and on my bed. Thinking back, I really can’t help but wonder, how did I managed to sleep in this mess every night?!

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Putting my characters to the test and teaching them how to appear natural while doing everyday tasks was a bit of a challenge. This involves getting your real life boyfriend to take time off to come do awkward and mundane things like climbing out of bed a million times.

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The Log of Charlie Ming

The Log of Charlie Ming

Although, sometimes there are still limitations like when you cannot find the perfect toy hand to create the right action. In such situations, you just got to wing it. Some of Charlie Ming’s body parts were interchangeable. Once in a while, I had to soak his head in boiling water so I could pop it out and fit it onto another body.

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The Log of Charlie Ming

Making miniature food using sculpey clay and epoxy resin for the soup. My miniature food making skills are pretty bad, thankfully they only played a small part to the set.

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You can gauge the size of my sets from this furry visitor of mine. Fret not, no pets were harmed in the process.

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This is what an asian toy story would look like.

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The Log of Charlie Ming

Fun fact: I have never owned a barbie doll before. I actually had to go to the salvation army to buy some for this scene and as there are no jet black haired barbies, I ended up chopping off her locks and using a sharpie to dye it black.

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One of our many ‘calefares’ (extras) posing for a photo to be used within a photo.

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Some of these sets were built early on and did not make the cut because the craftsmanship was either too poor or it could not gel well with the other pictures or storyline. I struggled badly with this project at the beginning – everything from the concept to the storyline to the visual aesthetics. I only had a proper footing 5-6 months into the project. But, it proved to be worth all the sweat, blood and tears! It was the greatest learning experience and gave me the affirmation that I needed all along.

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I have always loved working and photographing miniatures, but I never felt that it was “textbook correct” in my school. A lot of opportunities were given to me after my graduation show and I will always be thankful to the people who gave them to me. Also, to the people who have bought my work even though I’m not famous (haha). I feel apologetic that I haven’t created any new diorama works. But, I can ensure you it’s always on my mind. One day! All of these experiences helped me realise what kind of artist I want to be and that it doesn’t matter if you cannot find the perfect “label” for yourself – whether you are a artist, a builder or a photographer. Cliche as it might sound, just be true to yourself. Do what you want to do and not what you think other people want you to do. As of now, I’m just gonna keep trucking along and be the creative explorer that I am!

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Artist Spotlight – Naoshi

Please excuse me while I clear the cobwebs off my almost defunct blog. To my horror, I haven’t updated since October last year and it even took me a while to figure out how to log back into wordpress. How embarrassing! Nonetheless, I come bearing gifts (of inspiration) today! I have quite a long list of artists, illustrators, craft makers and crazy geniuses on my “people I want be when i grow up” scroll. For today, I would like to introduce to you – the wonderful world of Naoshi!

NAOSHI-005Escape to Sunny-side up, 2011

Ever played with coloured sand art when you were a kid? My first and last attempt at sand art happened when I was still in primary school, I remember sitting at a small store with my aunt and younger brother pouring sand onto an adhesive sheet. I found it quite fun but my younger brother got bored mid-way and I believe I gleefully finished his piece for him. These days, they are still littered around shopping malls in Singapore but with rather unappealing illustrations. Naoshi’s artwork on the other hand, just blows you away. She is a Japanese artist that works with coloured sand (called Sunae in Japanese) to create surreal pieces of work that invite you into a playful and imaginative wonderland. Her work is so weird and strange in the most delightful way. Yes, she somehow manages to make weird and strange stinking cute!

NAOSHI-002Measuring Height, 2012

I am typically not a big fan of pop art-ish works or art pieces with too many girls in them. But I have succumb to her work! It might be because even though her characters are mostly female, yet they are child-like and not overly feminine. They mainly feed on donuts and cake, so it’s hard not to love as well. Her Thumbelina characters get into the oddest adventures and lead such otherworldly lives, that you feel deeply inclined to jump into one of those space flying donuts and wave goodbye to all your troubles.

NAOSHI-003Doughnut Pool, 2014

NAOSHI-004Toothpick Rain, 2012 & The Narcissus and Me, 2013 

It is not easy to use conventional mediums to carve out a niche art practice, but Naoshi does it effortlessly! To me, that and her whimsical sense of humour is the magic formula to her successful works. If you are curious, I’m guilty of owning Measuring Height & Toothpick Rain! You can easily get them from her Etsy store or visit her website for more.

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