- 2:39 pm - Mon, Oct 17, 2011
- 151 notes
GARTH JOHNSON Joins the Uncollection:
Using Unconsumption’s Mr. Cart Logo on Dinnerware!
In the latest stunning addition to our Uncollection — creative folks using our logo to breathe new life into old stuff — the amazing Garth Johnson has blown us away by converting some secondhand art-deco plates into genuine Mr. Cart tableware. Really fantastic! Here Mr. Johnson, whose work you may (should!) know from his invaluable Extreme Craft site, explains how he uses a vinyl cutter to “rescue thrift-store dinnerware”:
Let’s hear it for scrapbooking. If I hear one more hipster studio artist or crafter hold up scrapbooking as the “opposite” of what they’re doing, I’m going to lose my shit. Yes, scrapbooking is a multi-bazillion dollar industry, with entire aisles in Michael’s devoted to stocking Martha Stewart’s gear. As anybody who has haunted those aisles can tell you, scrapbooking has some cringe-worthy aesthetic elements, but what craft doesn’t?
Consider scrapbooking at its most basic—it takes old photographs and recycled ephemera and transforms them into mementos that actually see some use rather than sitting in boxes in an attic somewhere. I have come to view scrapbookers as a pretty badass group of people. Part of this badassery comes from the way they combine different media and experiment with processes from die-cutting and embossing to custom rubber stamp etching.
The main reason that scrapbookers are so badass is their actual gear. Scrapbooking is enjoying a major resurgence right now, so they have the economic clout to introduce hobby versions of tools that have traditionally remained in the realm of industry or technology. My favorite example is the vinyl cutter, which has been a staple of the sign industry for a couple of decades. Thanks to legions of rabid scrapbookers, machines like the Cricut and Silhouette Craft Cutter are now affordable… and are just waiting to be hacked for your non-scrapbooking activity.
If you’re not familiar with vinyl cutters, they’re fairly easy to explain. They cut sheets of adhesive sticker material using a tiny blade. You know the little Calvin peeing stickers people put on the back of their pickup trucks? Those were cut out using a vinyl cutter.
The great thing about vinyl cutters is that you’re not limited to cutting out vinyl. Most will cut paper. Some will even cut thicker materials like wood veneer. If you can create a vector design on a computer, you can feed that design into a vinyl cutter to make stickers, stencils or any number of crazy craft projects.
I love to use my vinyl cutter to rescue thrift store dinnerware and give it new life. I’ve been looking for a good use for a set of four Art Deco-inspired porcelain plates that have been sitting on my shelf for a while, and a contribution to the Uncollection seems perfect. I decided to use my cutter to make a permanent gold Mr. Cart logo in the middle of the plates.
This project is a little bit tricky, but if you have access to a vinyl cutter and a ceramic kiln, you’re home free. Here’s what you need:
- Vinyl cutter
- Pottery kiln
- Second hand ceramic plates.
- Sheets of water slide ceramic decal material (can be purchased from www.held.co.uk)
- Transfer paper
First, I took the vector version of the Mr. Cart logo and prepared it for my vinyl cutter (I have the Silhouette SD cutter). I decided on a size and added a circle around the outside.
Clean your plate with some rubbing alcohol. I also used a pencil to make a circle in the center of the porcelain plate to help me align the decal when the time comes.
Next, I inserted a sheet of gold decal paper into my craft cutter (shiny side up) and cut four Mr. Cart logos into the paper, being careful that the cutter didn’t go all the way through the paper.
Then, using a pair of scissors, I separated each of the four logos and applied a square of transfer paper to the top (shiny) side of each of the logos. The transfer paper has a mild adhesive that helps to hold all of the pieces together when you soak it in water.
Soak the decal in warm water for about 30 seconds (or until the backing paper begins to slide off of your design. Remove the decal from the water and carefully slide off the backing paper. The decal will remain attached to the transfer paper.
Using a pair of tweezers, carefully “weed out” all of the bits from your decal that you do not want on your final image. I left a circle and removed all of the bits that make up Mr. Cart.
Once those bits have been removed, you’re ready to adhere your decal to your plate. You’ll stick your decal to the plate with the transfer paper side up. Leave the transfer paper on the decal, but use your fingers, a sponge or a tiny squeegee to get as many bubbles out as possible.
Then, fire the plates in your kiln to cone 017 (approximately 1350 degrees farenheit). The transfer paper will burn away, leaving you with a shiny, permanent Mr. Cart logo in the middle of your plate.
Congratulations! You are now the owner of an official “new to you” set of Uncollection china plates. Whenever you enjoy them, don’t forget to give thanks to the radical scrapbookers who made them possible.
— Garth Johnson
Garth Johnson is a studio artist, writer, and educator who lives in Eureka, California. He is a craft activist who explores craft’s influence and relevance in the 21st century. His weblog Extreme Craft is a “Compendium of Art Masquerading as Craft, Craft Masquerading as Art, and Craft Extending its Middle Finger.”