Wednesday, April 24, 2013

8 Days to go! Blocks ready to be chopped into smithereens

Only 8 days to funding day!

Eight more days until the Fantastic Garden's official funding period ends. Please send this to a friend, we can still make the stretch goal and reward everyone with a shower of garden-sy gifts!

Also, as soon as the project funding ends, I will immediately send a survey to all participants and backers requesting mailing information. Don't send me your address before because Kickstarter makes a nice spreadsheet with all the information so I don't have to manually enter anything.
Here is the deal for participants, the faster you respond, the faster you get your block! Which brings me to...

Blocks are ready to be cut!

Permanent marker over the charcoal lines
I've been busy and today I put the final touches on the drawings on the big wood blocks. I had to make a few adjustments to accommodate all the participants (translation: I miscounted ;-) and finalize the drawing with permanent marker. I used marker because after the drawing was complete it has to withstand preparation and cutting; the blocks have to be treated as follows.


The charcoal dust, eraser goobers and general moving around in the studio tends to make the wood not so smooth so I corrected by giving them a healthy sanding with 320, then 400 grit sandpaper to make them luxuriously smooth. After the dust settles (literally!) I use soft towels to remove the dry dust residue and then follow with a lightly dampened soft towel to remove every dust particle. Incidentally, they say if you aren't
2 Blocks done making sure the lines flow from block to block
allergic to cherry wood when you begin working with it, you will be after a while. I wear a dust mask, er, most of the time.

Walnut Ink

After the sanding and cleaning, the blocks get a bath of sorts. To aid in cutting I darken my blocks with walnut ink. If everyone did that with their individual blocks after they are cut I would get back a bunch of tiny bowed blocks. But if the entire block, before cutting, gets treated with a nice coating of walnut ink, then the wood dries properly and there is much less chance an individual block will warp.

Since last project some people protested that their block was too dark and gloomy, this time I thinned the
Walnut ink "bath" front and back
ink a bit to make it more warm and welcoming. Both front and back of each block get a very light coating of thinned walnut ink to distribute the dampness. Here in the desert they dry within minutes and that is good because the wood doesn't even have time to think warping.

In order to get both front and back covered at the same time, I use tiny blocks of wood to prop up the block. I cover the back with ink, turn the block over onto the tiny blocks and then cover the front. I use a large sponge brush to get a very light coat over the entire block very quickly.

And the Map

For those of you who will "try this at home", that is, engage in directing your own puzzle print project, at this point it is a good idea to make a map of the design. This crucial organization tool will later make easier the task of matching participants to blocks.
My own procedure goes something like this:

  • Take a digital picture of the final drawing on the blocks prior to cutting
  • Import into Photoshop, eliminate color and lighten so the background is about white
  • Print out map for each large block and number the pieces
  • As I cut out each puzzle piece, I write down the piece number on the back of the puzzle piece
  • Later when I mail, I write down the puzzle piece number by each participant's name on the spreadsheet
In this case I named each large block FA (Fluttering Above), TB (Tree and a Bee), AP (About the Pond) and UC (Under the Canopy). Then I just number the puzzle pieces left to right or whatever 1-23. So the puzzle pieces will get named FA-1, FA-2, FA-3 and so on. Last time I used roman numerals for the large block but I like this better.

Did I mention ONLY 8 days to go until I can mail these tiny jewels out? YAY!!!

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

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