Wednesday 21 December 2011


Christmas snuck up on me again. It always does! Back in November I made a vow to get all my Christmas stuff done (mainly shopping) by December first. Yeah right, Falconer. But now these dudes are hanging out on our clashing, slightly crooked Christmas tree and the holiday magic is happening. Man, did Dennis ever hit a home run when he got these guys last year!

I recently did a few design elements for Yule Britannia. Elizabeth makes delicious treats: figgy pudding, sticky caramel sauce, ginger cookies, spiced sweet nuts, etc! She delivered some treats to me at City of Craft this year (sweetheart) and it was all incredible. Available at The Mercantile on Roncesvalles.

Scenes From The Basement: 1. New rolls of leather to cut and print - dark grey, smokey grey, black, mint, plum, and cream! 2. Making peachy messes. 3. Compiling test sheets full of various patterns and colours (for future Falconwright wrapping?). I love the way these test sheets are layering up, all chaotic but still kinda pretty. Maybe the kind of pretty that only a mother could love, but still.

And speaking of Falconwright, you could win all 3 of these items by leaving a comment on this blog post by Friday December the 23rd at midnight. A winner will be drawn on Saturday the 24th!

Friday 16 December 2011


Cover = not by me. Just posting a photo to show you what the current issue looks like!
Fun News Alert: I've got some illustrations in the new issue of The Walrus! The special winter double issue is out now. #whoa This assignment was really awesome to work on. The digital output enabled me to experiment with my illustration style a bit, and it was a big honour to be involved with such an A+ publication! Thanks, Jen. And thanks to Shayna for excitedly picking me up a copy (pro friend). These are a few pics of the actual magazine & a few bigger originals that are also in there for a different view. 10 years ago, I would have laughed for hours if someone told me that I'd be masquerading as an illustrator/designer (in my spare time) at this point in my life. What. The. Heck. Life is truly full of adventures.

Feeling pretty weird about constantly writing "look what I did!" or "look what I made!" or "look at meeee!" all the time. But this is an accurate look at what my life has been like lately. Making stuff, doing things, printing away. I've bought a lot of cool stuff lately, from awesome artists, that I'd love to tell you about - but a bunch of those beautiful things are Christmas presents, and I don't want to go ruining the surprise, right? Maybe it's time for a little things-I've-had-my-eye-on post soon. There's never a lack of things I don't need, but totally want, to talk about. I'm sure you can relate.

Wednesday 14 December 2011


City of Craft 2011
City of Craft 2011
City of Craft 2011
City of Craft 2011
City of Craft 2011
All photos by Celine Kim.

I had a really great time at City of Craft this past weekend! The weeks leading up to this event were a little hectic (to say the least), but sooo worth the effort. Big ups to my continuously supportive and helpful pals. A lot of work goes into a weekend like this, and it's inspiring to see so many people coming together to make something happen. The vendors were excellent, of course, and it's heartwarming to see a roomful of people supporting their community in this way.

Danielle and I were blown away by the positive reaction to Falconwright. We definitely have less stock left over than we imagined we might, so we've decided to create a new collection of items and release it (blacks! greys!) in mid-January. We're feeling very pumped for future pouches/purses/etc. Stay tuned...

Celine was there taking lots of beautiful photos. She even managed to get one of me not clowning it up or giving the camera a weird face as per usual. For a full tour of the weekend, check out the full collection of photos she took here. In the second last photo up there, you can even spot a couple of my favourite ladies from The Concord Learning Annex (ha!) shopping away.

And now a peek at a few of the treasures I adopted...

Black braided chunky headband by goodnight, day. This is a seriously comfortable piece of knitted head wear. Full ear coverage and totally comfortable. Check out all of Tara-Lynn's stuff here (such great styling too!).

And a slew of excellent greeting cards from the always charming Petra C (individually packaged cards? what!), and a new local fave Gezellig Studio.

Friday 9 December 2011


City Of Craft is this weekend. THIS WEEKEND.

Above is my poster design for the event! Though I had no part in organizing this annual shindig, selecting vendors, or doing any of the administrative voodoo that Becky has to deal with, I have been involved in the design year round (one small element), and feel like this weekend is wrapping up something that's been on my mind in one way or another for quite some time. Feelings! I can't believe how much positive feedback I've gotten about the design this year, and I am so happy that so many of you have enjoyed it. Sweethearts all over the place.

It's been a predictably crazy week around these parts and all of my attempts to get on this blog and sound off about last weekends amazing Handmade Holiday event, all the Falconwright printing I've been doing, the amazing screen printed version of this poster that Kid Icarus printed, or the beauty tote bags that Shannon, Roisin, Becky and I printed up have gone unwritten. But in lieu of these GHOST POSTS, I can tell you that Danielle and I will have more Falconwright change purses and pouches available (including some metallic GOLD printing and 4 very special large GREY clutches!) just in time for the weekend.

There's also a large chance that I'll be bankrupt after this weekend because there are so many amazing things available that I'd like to pick up for myself. Seriously, the sheer volume of talented people who will be at City Of Craft this weekend is ridiculous. Hope to see you there!

Thursday 1 December 2011


2 new small prints: milk & coffee! I personally prefer cream in my coffee, but cream print doesn't quite have the same ring to it. And this marks the end of my holiday fair screen printing marathon. Still lots of organizing to do, but tonight I celebrate by eating a truly ridiculous number of dumplings!

Also, check out the headbands and bangles Danielle & I added to our small army of Falconwright goods! Maybe my zigzag headband will help conquer my fear of going bang-less in public?

Tuesday 29 November 2011


My printing muscles have been getting a workout lately. I've also been posting a lot lately - I'll probably never blog as much as I will/have this past couple of weeks, ha. The time before Holiday shows can be a grind, but they definitely motivate me to make new things. And I really need that push, ya know? For you Toronto folks looking for handmade goods - A Handmade Holiday is Saturday Decemeber 3rd (this weekend!) and City of Craft runs December 10th and 11th! There will be a ton of excellent craftspeople in attendence at both of these events, and I'm definitely looking forward to picking up a few things I've had my eyes on...

I wanted to thank you for the kind, enthusiastic response to Danielle and I's new project: Falconwright. Thank you to Lemonade, Where The Lovely Things Are, Kylin Untitled, and The Shiny Squirrel for posting about it. And thank you for all the kind comments and interest regarding an eventual shop launch (we're so pleasantly surprised). I've been busy making us tags and bags and business cards, while Danielle has been making our stock of headbands and a few bangles (photos to come!).

Speaking of business cards, to ease up on some of my screen printing load I decided to get business cards printed up. These feature bits and pieces of an illustration (from a series) that you'll soon see in The Walrus (yeah!).

In other news, my band is currently recording new songs and making a couple of videos. But in the meantime, you can download (or stream) the album we put out last year via Bandcamp or Facebook for FREE. If you're not ready for Christmas carols, and you've been itching for some nervous, dramatic rock music in your life - look no further? Mostly loud jams on here, but there are a few quieter tracks too. Thanks to NXeW and our twittering Wavelength pals for helping to spread the word. For all the record lovers in the house, we still have this guy available on vinyl too.

Speaking of rabbit's feet - Charlotte sent me this lucky little foot in honour of the above mentioned album. Sweetheart, right?

And lastly, I finally cleaned up the backyard garden that I greatly neglected at the end of the season. Planted some garlic and and shut it down. I will treat you better next year, garden. We will spend more time together. I swear.

Monday 28 November 2011


A while back, my friend Shayna suggested that I make a larger print version of my Over The Moon card. That is what I originally sat down to do with this, but then it turned into something else entirely! A bit symbolic, a bit spacey, a bit geometric, and maybe a bit influenced by my recent viewing of Melancholia(?). It measures 9X12! Yup, the eleventh hour pre Holiday craft fair frenzy is in full effect.

Thursday 24 November 2011


My very favourite moment of 2011 (so far) was hanging out on a rock with my pals while camping, watching the sun set, beer in hand, fantasizing about how amazing it would be to see something like this every night. No, I don't really get out of the city very often, ha.

I decided to try my hand at some cmyk screen printing to recreate this moment. I made this one specifically for those friends (hi Rob/Tim/Lee - surprise?!!) but I will have a few extra copies at upcoming holiday fairs for any other sappy sunset-on-the-water lovers in the house. I'm sure any trained pro in this type of printing would see a bunch of flaws (I was totally flying by the seat of my pants here!), but I really enjoy the way it looks. And though it's outside of my usual style, I definitely look forward to more photo printing experiments in the future.

Sunday 20 November 2011


Despite what these unseasonal temperature fluctuations might have us believe, Christmas is approaching. This year, I've decided to try my hand at some wrapping paper! It's roughly 16X22inches on brown kraft stock. Maybe you'd like to disguise your books, jewellery boxes, sweaters, tins of treats, or lumps of coal in black and green trees with rustic jute twine? If so, I will have a small supply of these at A Handmade Holiday & City Of Craft!

Last night, I wrapped a whack of twine while watching Beginners. Enjoyable movie! After this Holiday madness is over, I am going to watch/catch up on an incredible number of movies. It's gonna be awesome.

Thursday 17 November 2011


News! I've been working on a collaboration with my pal Danielle (maker of excellent necklaces and manipulator of thread) and today we get to do something exciting: show you a bit of what we've been working on! Falconwright (a hybrid of both of our last names: Falconer & Wright) is a line of small screen printed leather items: clutches, change purses, and a few other things still in the works (hairbands, etc). Danielle and I will both have some things with us at upcoming craft shows where Deadweight and Caboto will be tabelling, and an online shop will soon follow. This is a really fun jumping off point for us, and perhaps you'll see us making larger pieces in the future? Please pop over to our blog to check out more pics and information!

Tuesday 8 November 2011


A few people have recently asked me for advice on printing at home. This is for you! And also for all the process lovers in the house. Full disclosure: I am a fairly impatient person, and I tend to learn how to do things hastily. I taught myself how to screen print using various online tutorials, so I'm sure I prepare and print in ways that could be considered less than perfect by someone more skilled and seasoned. But I do screen print at home regardless, with favourable results(!), and so can you.

Dear Shannon: did you know that YOU actually taught me how to screen print? And that this is largely a re-telling of your tutorial because that's the process I learned from? Thanks for putting together such a bang up explanation! You should check it out. My version here is like a cover song.

I live in a one bedroom apartment. My ability to stay neat and orderly is pretty atrocious these days. If you live with someone, you'll be lucky if they are as understanding as my boyfriend Dennis is about big messes and piles of paper. I definitely don't have a studio worthy of showcasing on any pretty this-is-where-I-work websites. You won't find any bright windows or perfectly painted white floors here! Frankly, I don't have the money to make a private space look impressive (I'd rather spend my cash on food and drinks and pants instead of saving it like a responsible person). I do though, have a serviceable laundry room with very low ceilings. As you can surely tell from these photos, lighting is a real problem down there, but it works. To highlight the dungeon-ness of this printing lair, I took photos in fuzzy black and white. Don't be afraid.

Invest in what you'll definitely need: a screen, a squeegee, a table, some hinge clamps, a light bulb, some cleaning supplies, an apron (or paint friendly clothes), paper, paint, and some magic erasers. We'll come back to this, but magic erasers are my cheapo solution to power washers. No slave to any bald men in particular, the generic brand from any drugstore works just fine.

I just invested in a new third screen, but I've had my first two screens for years. If you wash them well, you can reuse them a lot. I buy aluminum framed screens, because the one time I tried to make my own was a complete disaster. I mean, for $45 bucks you've got a well made screen you can use for a really long time and won't warp. My hands just do not have the power (or patience) to pull mesh that tightly.

It's helpful to have a table that you can drill the hinge clamps right into, but in a pinch you could drill them into a plank of wood that you'd put on top of a table. If you want to be able to put it out of the way between uses, and you're not looking to print anything too big, this is an alternative option.

I use the photo emulsion method. There are a couple other ways you can do this, with drawing fluid or stencils, but I prefer the reliable clarity of photo emulsion. Coat your screen. You do not need a scoop coater. I'm sure they're very nice to use, but I just use my squeegee to coat my screens. A few swipes on each side and it's good to go. Then I pop my screen in a dark closet to dry. Don't worry about coating your screen in the pitch dark. While the emulsion is still wet it can handle a bit of light, but then its safe place to rest is in the dark. I've always found that letting my screens dry overnight produces the best results when burning later. Screen printing is all about trial and error when you start out, and this is something I've stuck to based on previous failures. You'll develop your own little rules and rituals. And you'll make mistakes and have epiphanies too!

Design something you want to print. I draw, then scan, then manipulate my images in Photoshop. Then I print out my negatives onto white sheets of regular printer paper. Much cheaper than transparencies! I use vegetable oil to make the white parts "transparent." It's cheap and dirty and it works. The light source will harden the emulsion in the white/clear areas and the black areas will get washed out later.

When your image and screen are ready to go it's time to burn. I put my screen on top of a table that has a desk style lamp attached to it on top of a black garbage bag. I think I do this backwards (burning on the back side instead of the print side) but as a creature of routine, I've just kept doing it that way. Put a piece of glass over top of your images to keep them pressed flat onto the screen (I use a cheap pane of glass from one of those big clip frames). Place your bulb above. I use a criminally low wattage light bulb at the moment that takes forever to burn. General laziness has prevented me from buying a new one (also? cheapness). The wattage of your light bulb will determine the length of time you need to have your screen under the light source. And the size of your screen will determine how far away your light sources needs to be (mine's about 18 inches). Now, turn on the light and burn your screen! You might want to write down when you need to wash it or use a timer - because being fairly precise about your time here is important. If you over or under expose, you will have to start over. And that's not fun at all.

When your screen is done burning it's time to wash it out.

How I Wash Out Without A Power Washer: Take your screen to the shower or a laundry room wash basin. I pour water over both sides of the screen and allow it to sit for a minute, to soften the areas I want to wash out. Then I wet a magic eraser and scrub the back of my screen. Then I flip my screen over and do the same on the front. I've found that the magic eraser is the only thing that really gets all the emulsion out (magical fibers maybe?). Don't over scrub, but don't be too precious about it either - if you're screen is properly exposed then you're not going to scrub out anything you don't want to. As I mentioned above, I've used the same screens over and over for years and this eraser hasn't degraded them. When I've finished washing and wiping I hold it up to some light and see if I've missed any little spots of emulsion and make sure to take care of them. Now, set it aside to dry.

After your screen is dry you are ready to print. Finally, right?! This point is the last time your table might be clean and orderly. Accept it. Move forward. As you can see from this photo, if space permits, I burn multiple images onto the screens surface and tape off the areas I don't want to be printing with packing tape. Note: If you do not want to expose your own screens, you can look into getting them exposed for you at your local screen printing shop.

Get your paint ready. Above I am mixing the perfect moon-y grey. With a butter knife. I use Speedball inks and various other generic acrylics. There are different brands out there, and all serious printers could surely talk your ear off about why one is better than the other. I'm cool with the range and availability of Speedball inks.

Flood your screen with paint and start printing! Rinse and repeat. Getting steady, consistent prints (the right pressure and a good angle) takes a bit of practice. You've got black paint under your fingernails. Maybe you're enjoying a cold beverage? If you're wondering why you just didn't invest in a fancy digital printer, this is surely not the hobby for you. Always flood the screen with paint between pulls - letting paint dry in your screen is not going to make you a happy printer because your print will degrade as time passes and it will be hard to clean later on.

To line up my print layers I use another low tech method - transparencies! I also wash these and reuse again and again. Tape one side of the transparency to the table to keep it firmly in place. Then flip it out of the way for each print. If I'm printing the first layer, I will sometimes place it with the transparency and then use coloured tape to tape around it, thus eliminating the need to flip the transparency for every layer. But I always use the transparency for lining up every layer after the first one - because attempting to be precise is cool. Though small imperfections can turn into cool looking accidents too.

No drying rack? No problem! I use a table. This can prove interesting when you're printing a run of 500 CD cases, and in that case I enlist the floor. And my bed. And every other available surface. But paint dries fairly quickly, and by the time I've covered my table, I'm generally able to double stack.

You've finished printing. Congratulations! Doesn't it look amazing? Like nothing an inkjet printer could ever spit out, right? Unfortunately, it's time to clean up. I put the extra paint back into the container and use a trusty moist j-cloth to wipe down the screen. In fact, I always keep a small bowl of water and a j-cloth at the ready when I'm printing for clean ups. Then I take the screen to my washing area, spray on some emulsion remover, let it sit for a minute, and then scrub it down with my trusty magic eraser. Rinse, let dry, and you're ready to do it all over again.

There's a bit of romance in a lengthy process like printing. There are so many little steps. It's frustrating. It takes time. It's dirty. But I think that's why I enjoy it. You see something you're making come together one step at a time. You can feel it in your back and arms. I like the smell of photo emulsion. I have to tame my careless side and focus. Sometimes you leave the house and don't realize you still have paint on your arms and hands. Or maybe you start wearing an ugly magnetic bracelet your co-worker gave you because between all the hours spent on the computer and screen printing, your arms are furious with you. And you think it kind of works, which is weird. And most importantly, you keep doing it.

Should you want a more detailed, professional look into the world of screen printing, I highly recommend Print Liberation's book The Screen Printing Primer. It's a really helpful read with lots of good looking photos. My run through here is more of a general overview - there are still things you'll need to figure out if you want to start printing yourself, and this book (or the link to Shannon's tutorial at the top) would both be helpful tools! You might also be able to take a course or workshop in your area.

And lastly, hang in there! Because it might take you a few tries before you get the hang of things. Everything worth doing takes work, right?