Two excellent things happened in the past couple of weeks.
Firstly, my studio mate Rowan Saker who makes the most beautiful wood furniture from recycled timber (Global Wood Rework) said 'Hey Fifi, is there an easy way to make a type stencil that I can use to brand my packaging?' (no- this is not the excellent thing)
I told him everything I knew about hand cutting stencils from Mylar or drafting paper- a laborious process involving photocopying, fine scalpel blades and bit of bad language when you cut too far.
Then a week later, The Brother ScanNCut turned up from an unexpected source. Excellent thing number one.
Now, if you have EVER had to cut shapes from paper, card, plastic or fabric sort for craft, quilting or stencilling, then this machine is what can only be described as heaven sent. I've always put off certain projects (like being Banksy) because the fiddly stencil cutting of repeat motifs has put me off (years of being an airbrush artist, I guess I'm kind of over it). I was busy with my book deadline so the only first chance I had was to make fun moustaches with writer friends one night over dinner as we looked at the machine that was just itching to be used and loved. There is something really mesmerising about this thing in action. Your put you images or paper to be cut on an adhesive mat and pop in a little cutting blade (there are different adjustments) and set the thing to go. And it chatters away, busy whilst you watch in amazement! I had thought the only way to do this kind of thing was with lasers by someone who would charge you heaps to do it.
Then the week after that I was asked to lend a hand with some Easter crafts for a competition run with Eggs Inc and What Now. Excellent thing number two! So in the morning I'm off to Christchurch to show how to make some cool egg decorations including...wait for it...The Royal Family! Wills, Kate, Baby George and a corgi. Eggs Royale. Keep a look out on their facebook page for pics and ways you can win the entire set! I've put some instructions and templates below to help the kids get started.
But I also wanted to make a simpler craft (I DID get carried away with the royals) and use a few templates. Instructions below. I revved up the ScanNCut and used it to make some great shapes. There are a whole bunch of preloaded ones you can use or you can scan your own. I am only just scratching the surface of this fabulous machine and can thing of many instances of wearable art where this would have saved me sooooo much time and silly mistakes.. And best of all being no bigger than your average home printer, it fits under your bed/bench/desk, which is a big plus! I'll be blogging more about it when I've tried some more craft projects, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime I reckon this is the crafters (and designers) dream machine. Take a look at the picture below- that lace was cut made from printed craft paper that the machine scanned and then cut! It's so fine and delicate! My hands and worsening eyesight could never do that!
Oh and...I made Rowan his stencil- in fact I made him two of them. It took me 10 minutes, including setting the type on the machine. He's still blown away!