I don’t think I’ve blogged about this… Apologies if I have!
Towards the end of last year I treated myself to a rather extravagant purchase… The brother scanncut machine. At £300 or so (it was on sale), it was a bit of a risk – would my hands be up to using it? Turns out mostly yes. Thankfully!
From a hands perspective, you need to navigate using a small touch screen (using fingers or provided stylus), you need to set it up (or get someone else to) and you need to feed the paper in on a provided mat. This has been ok for me on good days but I struggle to change some of the settings eg cut depth as this requires you to manually adjust something. But I’ve got it set up on the right depth for the card I use most of the time. However it also cuts paper, fabric etc.
I’m definitely not using it to its full potential but it’s really helpful for me as I struggle to use scissors very much. In addition to cutting card, this model can draw, make stickers and, possibly uniquely, it can cut around images you scan in (duh, scanncut!). You can link it to their online software to make files but being able to scan images really opens up options. It comes with a number of preloaded images, shapes and fonts and you can access more through the ScanNCutCanvas projects page.
A lot of designs are set up so you can cut out different layers at different times eg if you want different colours. A lot of the templates and designs I’ve found online (free or to purchase) seem to be of this type as well. Personally, I prefer the cut out/silhouette effect. This does mean if you want to cut straight out the front of a card, you have to think a bit about placement and choosing the right image; if there’s any lines within an enclosed line, they will not appear on your card. I know it’s obvious but it’s easy to forget when you’re looking at lots of pretty images.
To create this I hand wrote the word, scanned it into the machine, set it to cut a few mm outside the lines and pressed cut. Lovely way to personalise cards etc and you can save the image so you can reuse it later and print out as many as you want in different sizes etc!
One annoying aspect of the machine is that it doesn’t handle SVG files directly. As most electronic cutting machines do, most templates are in svg format. Which means if you want to use them you have to add an extra step to convert them. It’s easy but it’s also annoying!
It’d been about a month of okish, it’ll do, kind of pages in my journal. They weren’t especially inspired or exciting but the outcome isn’t the reason for keeping an art journal. That said, when I managed to create these pages this weekend I was pleased/proud/relieved. Relieved because a month of so so pages was starting to feed the voice that says I’m not creative, I can’t do this etc. Some pages, not necessarily the most attractive pages, feel right. They make your heart sing a little. This is how I feel about this weekend’s pages.
These pages were in response to a wanderlust prompt: what do i see in the mirror. My face was a photo printed in grayscale, glued onto the gesso and covered with gesso, paints etc. Much easier than trying to draw it and far less painful for my hands.
And if that wasn’t enough, I even unpacked (yes, I’ve moved house, whoop! But that’s another post) my scanncut machine to make a few cards.
Looking for an unusual image of York? This film photograph of the walls has proven to be highly popular and is available now as greeting cards or as a framed print.
… or at least it was at 2am this morning. Here in York, nothing has stuck but the UK is in a bit of a flutter about the snow. If you live here, you know we don’t cope well with in!
But it does make things look pretty… and photogenic. Which is why, several years ago, early in the morning, before dawn, I was up and leaving my house with wellies and waterproof and hat and scarf and camera. And I was rewarded for my efforts by York in snow, mostly untouched by humans. It was such a great opportunity to take photos and I’m so pleased I dragged myself out of my warm bed that morning.
I couldn’t get into the Minster Gardens because it was too early but that meant all of the snow inside was fresh and crisp and I took photos through the railings. Museum Gardens, with it’s ruins, had one or two trails of footprints across it’s white blanket.
Returning home to a warm flat and a warm drink was incredibly wonderful and then looking through the photos, checking the white balance (snow doesn’t always look right in photos!) and picking out the good shots made for a great way to spend the day.
And these shots are the ones I’ve used on the Christmas cards I am selling in order to raise money for charity.
Half of the profit will be going to the Violet Chambers fund which helps young people in care in York have memorable and meaningful experiences. Having worked with some of the young people, I can tell you that the impact of these opportunities is amazing. The young people chose their own experience and have included spa days with siblings, going to a show or even just going out for a meal. These might not sound that much but for many children in care, these are opportunities that they wouldn’t get otherwise and in addition to the experience themselves it helps to build self esteem and confidence.
I know many people sell cards for charities at this time of year but so often only a tiny proportion of profits actually goes to the charity when you look into it – 10% seems to be quite common. Half of my profits are going to the fund as I wanted the money to actually make a real difference to real children and young people. This is a cause I believe very strongly in and would love your help to offer valuable experiences to children and young people in 2016.
So the time has come to unveil the unlocking images shop…! At the moment, I’m focusing on Christmas cards but in the new year I’ll be opening it up to include more general photographic and art cards as well as prints and other surprises!
In the run up to Christmas, 50% of the profit from any purchase will go to the Violet Chambers fund. This amazing fund lets children and young people who are looked after in York apply for funding for a meaningful and memorable experience. Previous applications have included spa days, a trip to a show in London etc.