Saturday, January 13, 2007

Presston Plush Part II

Second Step--The Prototype

Got a lot accomplished the first day of actual production.
Henry and I worked on creating the prototype (well, Henry did most of the work, I took pictures!), which is the "model" for the finished piece. Creating a prototype helps decide what fabric to use, what colors to print, and most importantly it lets you know if the figure can be "mass produced." And the first step in creating the prototype was printing it up.
I picked Henry up at 10:00 AM and we went to his shop. Cool pic, eh?

First thing we had to do was the color separations on the computer. That's Henry aka Loco. He's a genius with Illustrator. He's also a very good artist, an amazing hand-letterer, a great screen-printer, and an all around good guy.

Everything that's going to be printed blue is put together, and the same with everything that is going to be printed red. Since you have to make film positives of the images all the colors are changed to black.

These get printed on mylar. Since the images are quite large (Presston Plush will be about 10 1/2 inches high) we had to print up three sheets for each color. Here's one of the mylar sheets coming out of the printer.

Next thing to do was wash a couple of screens. Henry got to do that fun job. Did I mention it was about 37° in the shop? Poor guy.

Then all the mylar sheets had to be taped together to make two large positive images (one for each color). These are the "blue" parts being taped up. This is what will create the image on the screen. Screenprinting is a very interesting process which I thought I understood fairly well, but I learned a lot more about it by watching Henry.

Henry then sets up the fabric and positives on the press exactly how we want them printed.

A screen that has been treated with emulsion is then put on the press and this postitive image is attached to it with tape. By setting up the screen this way we don't need to mess with registration later on. Henry's smart!

Now the image is burned onto the screen in this light box (can't remember the technical term for this gizmo, but it's a box with lights in it, hence "light box").

After three minutes we have our screen. It has to be washed again which blasts off the area where the positive image was. The rest of the emulsion on the screen (the pinkish areas) is harder than the areas that were covered by the positive image so it doesn't get washed away. And yes, that is Henry doing all the work again. Someone had to take the pictures and drink coffee.

Both screens are put on the press and we're ready to print.

Henry mixes the inks and puts some of the ink on the screens. First blue is pulled...

And then red...

Here's the first try! Looks pretty good to me. :)

And there it goes through the dryer...

A stack of Presston Plush Prototype Panels (say that five times fast). We only printed twelve panels, of which 4 or so will be sewn and stuffed by hand, and the others will be given to professional sewers to see what might need to be modified.

That's me in my PJs trimming out a panel. You can't see the dotted lines we printed, but that's the only way I would be able to cut each panel the same.

Two cut panels. These are ready to be sewn and stuffed. Very curious to see how they will look after being stuffed. Gotta wait for that.

Next step... convincing my mom to sew four or five of these things up for me! :)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved seeing the process come to life! Can't wait to see Presston "dolls" on store shelves somewhere. Maybe hats and t-shirts next??

9:34 AM  

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