Monday, August 29, 2011

Beginnings of M.O.C.

I've always loved to make things.

Whether it be a sewn door stopper for my Grandmother, or a knit afghan for my nephew, chocolate truffles for a party, or photoshopped Christmas cards featuring myself and my favourite feline... I've always been all over that business! I was able to express myself artistically, not to mention there was less of a strain on my wallet when giving gifts. :P

For the past couple years, I've been working through the beginnings of Man of Craft. It started with t-shirt screen printing,  and progressed through making a fabric flower brooch for my girlfriend when we couldn't find what she was looking for in stores. I made Christmas presents from cutting out hidden compartment books for my family (inspired from one of my favourite movies - The Shawshank Redemption, although nobody needed to break out of prison). Then I came across pyrography.  I combined this artform with an affinity for belt buckles and wood. A lot of research, online tutorials, butt-loads of support from some special people, and I'm now up and running in my own craft/art business!

I feel like this is the beginning of a life long adventure with crafting, where I can push my artistic limits, and create a body of work that I can be proud of!

Like I said, I started out doing some screen printing a couple of years ago. I even built my own 4-colour press! I've made a few shirts, but some modifications to the press need to be made before I can continue with anything other than one colour. Registration issues, you know :|

Anywho, I had lots of fun making shirts and learning the process of creating one's own artwork, screens, and applying ink. It's a lot of work, and pretty tricky getting the hang of everything but totally worth it when you see the final result!!  It's on hold for now, but the plan is to get the press up and running again within the year.

My Brother, Dad, and myself, wearing our matching t-shirts (one of my first screen
printing projects) up at the cabin, back in 2009. I was pretty pleased at how they came out!
My girlfriend and I were invited to a friend's wedding in April of 2010. It was springtime, and we obviously needed a flower as the perfect accessory for her dress! Simple enough, but all the flowers out there just weren't cutting it. Too huge, too floppy, bad colours... nothing was right. Until a trip to Fabricland gave me all that was needed. 

Poly ribbon, felt, thread, hot glue, and a brooch style pin was all that was needed!
(plus a couple hours of searching through online video tutorials and instructables)
Only needed one for the dress, but a couple were made.
Last year's holiday season took a lot of time, love, and effort to put together some presents. I couldn't have been happier with how they turned out! I didn't get any pics from those books, but I've got a few from my personal collection!

My first hollow book made for putting my various TV/DVD/CD
player remotes in, but shown above with my pal Voltron.

A slimmer book with a nice orange felt instead of black.
I currently use this to hold some of my M.O.C. pins and pendants

This one is great! It is two very handsome books combined to make
one fairly deep secret compartment. No felt inside, but I kinda like it that way.

This medium sized fella currently holds some of my various crafting
tools for leather stamping and stamp carving.

I've been focusing on pyrography ever since I came across it when looking to make my own belt buckles. For the most part, I really only see metal belt buckles in stores. I wanted something different. When I saw that you could burn images into them, I needed to try it! I was so excited that I tracked down a burning tool and some basswood from Lee Valley Tools and rushed home to get to work. 

After the wood was cut and sanded, I didn't even bother with making a polished design and ended up drawing my simple yet rough design right on the wood. I was a little hesitant to burn at first, but once I got going on a piece of practice wood to get the feel I didn't stop until I was finished. After applying the metal backing some stain was applied, as I wanted it darker than the (very) light coloured basswood. I finished it with some matte Krylon matte finish (spray on), and voila, my first buckle!


At about 4" x 2 1/2", it's a little bit of a monster, but as you can
imagine, it holds a special place in my collection.

At this point, I didn't have a clear idea as to where I was headed with what was to become Man of Craft, but I was inspired to just keep making and burning! As I go, I'll keep updating these pages with my progress. Any news that pertains to new products, art, shows, or M.O.C.-esque goodness will definitely rear its head here. I've already progressed from these beginnings, and so I've got some rapid-fire posts coming up in the near future. Stay tuned!

I've had a lot of encouragement from my family and friends, and so much support from my girlfriend, that it's hard to put into words how appreciative and lucky I am to have them around me as I go forth into the world as... the Man of Craft!


Adam Grant
Man of Craft


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