Vinyl Mask on Ceramics

I've been meaning to make this post for a while, but first I had to do the project. The creation of this particular vase thing has a few absurd twists and turns--one of the walls fell off for a while--but the monochromatic imagery on it gave it's an apartment building!
Vinyl mask glazing is just like using paper or masking tape cutouts, except the vinyl cutter can help you cut detailed shapes and pieces. Using Adobe Illustrator on your own computer or in the eStudio, you can trace and then expand your image so that there are vector lines telling the vinyl cutter where to cut.

Next, weed the vinyl, removing the areas where you want glaze to go- in this case, this the "positive" of your image.

Stick it on your bisqued piece...

Spray with glaze (tenmoku on this piece)

Peel the vinyl off, exposing the bare clay. At this point you could apply another coat (say...celedon...or whatever) and get a layered effect. I left mine with the bare clay exposed.

And finally, it's ready to go into the kiln:

New Signage


our signage has once again been updated! this time using velcro to attach small time slots to the board in a modular fashion. The times made by cutout vinyl stickers, making use of both the positive and negative vinyl.

New signage is up outside of our door, hopefully to match the wonderful new xyz lab signs leading to the laser cutter and cnc router room in the East building. It's a little rough, but shows the seams that the ultrasonic welder can make...and hopefully answers any questions new visitors might have!
New sign.jpg

About the eStudio.jpg

Water Soluble Stabilizer Continued...

The second project I did was the same image, but much smaller (it fit comfortably in the 100x100 mm frame). This one I did with metallic gold thread over top of it, and on a different brand of stabilizer (much cheaper). It worked almost as well. The more expensive brand is stronger, and this stuff had a tendency to tear at some of the thinner lines.

Water Soluble Stabilizer

Most of our embroidery projects incorporate some sort of backing or stabilizer. This is usually placed behind the fabric (or paper, or plastic!) that the project is meant to be sewn onto. Water soluble stabilizer allows you to sew without a substrate, (ie cloth, paper, etc) and instead create an object that exists on its own in space. It occupies a strange place between sculpture and drawing.
First: a cross stitch pattern provides stability, weaving a new piece of "cloth," providing structure for the image.

Here is the final product, before I dissolve the stabilizer:

And after a dunk in the sink. Dark because it's still wet.

Wacom Cintiq

I'm pretty sure I pronounce this incorrectly, but it is still one of the most important, popular, fun, and EASY components of our lab. The TWO large Wacom Cintiq monitors we have are popular because the are extremely simple to use...and beautiful to boot. Pressure sensitive, the Cintiqs allow you to draw straight onto the screen and achieve some wonderful line qualities (thicker where you press down harder, thin where you only lightly touch the screen, etc)

Fall 2012 BFA Show!

Last week we cut vinyl for the title wall of the BFA show, which is officially OPEN starting today! It looks great, so be sure to check it out.

Also thanks to members of that group who streamlined our transfer-tape application process. By rolling a metal tube along behind the transfer tape roll, it goes on a lot smoother and you don't have to mess around with a large piece that wants to stick to itself or not to the right place. Hurrah!

And of course, don't forget the weeding!

Update of the Horse Project

David Gibson has sent a picture of the final form of his deconstructed horse project:

A detail shows the subject better:

Positive and Negative Space with the Vinyl Cutter

"Weeding" is taking away the negative spaces, the pieces you don't want in your final image. These shapes can be stuck to a backing (plastic, wood, paper, etc) to create new patterns...or balled up and thrown away!

The positive of the image remains on the backing, ready to be covered with transfer tape and transferred to the final destination.

We stuck the image onto some painter's plastic and used the ultrasonic welder to make a pillow.

Scaryman... Sewing onto Hand Made Paper

An awesome first project by Cassie shows how translating a drawing to embroidery can create a definite (and in this case, creepy) mood.

Her next project featured another drawing, this time of a girl hugging her knees.
She printed it onto that same handmade paper:

Then she sewed the same image onto a strong floral print fabric. Very subtle and ghostly. This may not be the final iteration:

Awesome Textile Artist Nike Schroeder

Living and working in Berlin, Nike Schroeder hand stitches portraits and scenes in vivid color. Check out the Railroad project and Fundamental Reports as well as the portraits to see some innovative use of thread, line, color, and texture. Thread is sometimes layered over watery paint for a compound effect.

The Shirt- Embroidered Cover for a Photography Book

The embroidery machine can handle more materials than you might think. Last week, Gao embroidered the title of her book on mat board using the "leather" setting on the machine.

The project is an accordion book combining original photography by Gao with the words of a poem by Jane Kenyon.

In order to sew into a non flexible material, we taped the matboard to the embroidery hoop. The thread and action of the needle actually altered the surface structure of the matboard so that the letters are sunken along the edges but puff up in the middle.

Public Arts Project-- Tomorrow!

Today Maddy cut text to use in her awesome public arts project "Tell Me a Story." Tomorrow she will bring her piece to five different places around Minneapolis.
Catch her near the U across the street from the St Anthony Main Theater from 10:30-12:30 or Downtown in front of the IDS Center (718 Nicollet Mall) from 1-3 pm.

Quick and Easy- a Pen Case Built with the Ultrasonic Welder

As the title implies, the ultrasonic welder is a super accessible, easy to use machine. With brief planning, a small project like this can be finished in under half an hour. The pen case in this post was made by our new volunteer, Alex Newby, with a special pocket for her pen nibs and space for her ink container.

You can see the darker blue lines where the seam was "melted" into the material.

Trimming the edges makes the project look clean. Since the seam is the same throughout the whole width, you could trim some of it away if you want a smaller more discreet seam.

2 minutes work, and you have the start of an abstract piece:

Making Large Embroideries

By cutting an image into quarters, you can make much larger images. With careful registration, the border between each piece can be seamless. Ashley Kreidler embroidered one of her drawings using this method. She embroidered it onto thin fabric that she had printed with various textures.

Re hooping the fabric and carefully moving the embroidery file on the screen helps you line up each line and area.

Diligence pays off! You can only see the border if you know it's there!

The final piece came out great:

She remade the file in a smaller size. Halfway through the sewing, she switched colors. Because of how the machine maps the stitches, it is not a simple half and half with a clear line. Check out how it mixed the colors:

Jurg Lehni- Artist Using Vinyl Cutter Type Technologies

This piece was exhibited at the Graphic Design: Now in Production show at the Walker Art Center. It utilizes a plotter very similar to the vinyl cutter we have in the eStudio. The program he designed for viewers to use was specific to the project, using the "void" area, the negative cutout space of the circles to create words. Viewers were invited to enter their own words, see them cut out on the plotter, and take the newly created artifact with them.

Empty Words from Jürg Lehni on Vimeo.

Empty Words, 2008, Jürg Lehni & Alex Rich
X/Y cutter, Apple TV, display, keyboard, paper

In 2005, together with Jonathan Hares, a pair of drilled posters were made as a contribution to The Free Library, curated by Mark Owens. This prompted the exploration of possibile methods of mechanised production. Using a standard CNC plotter, a rotated LCD display, an  TV, and a software interface, Empty Words cuts each dot of the poster in sequence at a controlled speed.

Similar to a Linotype machine, the resulting device became a tool for the production of text works, used by both ourselves and the general public.

The software interface is archived online at:

B'reisheit by Rachel Levine

This was the first project made using metallic thread, and it went great! The text reads "In the beginning, G-d created the Heavens and the Earth." This piece explores the artist's explorations of the relationship between science and spirituality.

She hand- dyed the cloth using tea.

The full piece features digital print transfers...the negative space repeats the tree again at each end.