It was an easy buy as I’d bought the very same silicone before last year, when I was just testing out my first pewter castings. It does the job and holds up against the hot metal, so there was no question about getting some more.
Normally I’d buy in bulk when it comes to casting materials, but I’m not sure how much I’ll need if I’m going to be doing some of my casting in aluminium (in sand) as well.
This was a recommendation from a friend, and I thought it might come in handy for the notebooks I want to make, as well as making up a metal-resistant apron for all the casting I’m going to be doing soon.
I also got a whopping great big length of a different recycled leather pattern as a sample. I mean – the sample was almost as big as the piece I paid for!
In truth, I’m not dead keen on the sample leather so I’m glad I asked for a but I’ll use it for something. The sample isn’t quite what you expect when you think about leather… it’s an extremely thin veneer layered onto a backing, kinda like the material used for cheap school shoes.
The piece I bought is also a thin veneer layered onto a backing, but it’s a significantly thicker backing. Will it make for a good casting apron? Not sure, but maybe backed with canvas in places.
It does claim to be naturally fire retardant, and even though it’s thin, it is still reconstituted leather. Well, it should be better than what I’ve got now – nothing.
The next month should be interesting – I’ve been on a bit of a spree, and I’ve bought some bits that I think will be quite unexpected…
Casual Brush is a handwriting typeface that combines some internal breaking with lots of smooth lines. It does have an elegance about it, but is very informal and easy-going. A bit more illustration mixed into your painting practice, you could say.
What makes this so interesting is the sheer amount of variety you get in the combinations of over 600 ligature pairs and two stylistic alternates – there’s a lot in this package.
Mr. Poster is one of those incredibly memorable typefaces – show-stealing and full of character. I absolutely love it!
It’s a bit more limited than others on the list as there aren’t as many alternates available, but it still does its job. Made using acrylic paint on transparency, this font is at its best in its SVG version, but the solid vector version will still impress.
Artist collaboration with brands is marketing gold.
That is, high-profile collaborations between famous artists and big businesses – they’re the campaigns that seem to gain traction and get tongues wagging. Art lends an air of luxury, integrity, community spirit and creativity, all at the same time. It’s an incredibly powerful tool, and the biggest names get access to the biggest names.
But what if you’re a small business – a really small business – that wants to make a mark without a huge budget?
Fortunately there are a few ways that an artist collaboration with brands and businesses can be accessed without deep pockets – by commissioning artwork, providing materials or becoming a patron of the artist.
Artist collaboration with brands: becoming an art patron with a small marketing budget
Most of us will have heard of artist’s patrons – we think of those rich aristocrats who made it possible for artists to earn a living from their artwork, weaving their way into art history in the process.
In recent years the role of patron has been passed on to those who may not be aristocracy, but are usually still rather wealthy… after all, it’s hard to gain traction as a serious art collector if you can’t afford to collect art.
Does this mean that the average joe can’t gain the benefits of becoming a patron? And why would anyone want to become a patron anyway?
What does a patron get out of the arrangement?
Anyone who wants to become a patron of the arts has to ask two things: what will it cost, and what do I get out of it?
Regardless of personal wealth, everyone has to weigh up the cost-benefit analysis to see if a venture or a partnership is worth getting into. Becoming an art patron is a kind of investment, and every investor hopes to see good returns.
For individual patrons, there will be benefits such as receiving artwork or memorabilia that in itself may well appreciate in value (getting in at the ground level), as well as receiving public acknowledgement of support (so your friends will know how fancy and generous you are).
The level of engagement and reciprocity involved in being an artist’s patron means you’re a step up from being a fan; you’re part of the picture.
For business patrons, there are a few perks:
Networking and link building
Why your business should become a patron, and how to do it.
There are several great reasons why your business should consider becoming an artist’s patron – here are a few of them as previously mentioned:
1 – It’s great PR!
Supporting an artist enhances your brand’s image. Art carries that feel-good factor that can’t be faked; we all aspire to a bit of creativity and seeing it supported in someone else makes us feel as though it may be supported in us.
Your company will benefit from the association with culture and creativity, and of course, being an individual artist’s patron carries a lot of credibility.
2 – Networking and building links
As a patron you will certainly be mentioned on an artist’s site, and depending on your level of support, receive a link back to your website. That’s one way to naturally improve your SEO without looking spammy.
This is also a fantastic way to network with other like-minded businesses and individuals, and direct traffic back to your brand.
3 – Valuable advertising
Patronage is fantastic advertising for your company. As well as acknowledgement on an artist’s website and newsletter, you can negotiate promotion on their social media channels.
With artists who blog there is also the option to commission sponsored posts or directly support an individual post or page.
If your business produces physical products, you may be able to donate some of those goods to an artist who uses those materials in her work – providing a brilliant ongoing advertising opportunity.
Working with arts organisations or directly with artists
As an example of working with arts organisations, local companies have been able to take part in the Blackburn Festival Of Making by contributing funding and materials to create artist commissions. Artists apply for the commissions, demonstrate how they aim to respond to the brief, and create their work in the context of the event, which brings in lots of traffic for all parties.
Commissioning an artist directly can be even easier than working with an arts organisation as go-between – you can either invite artists to respond to a brief or approach your ideal art practitioner directly.
Being an artist’s patron gives you a pretty amazing feeling!
You may not be as wealthy as a Medici, but even a small recurring contribution makes a difference to an artist. Imagine being able to call yourself a patron of the arts!
How to leverage your position as a patron
You can make your support of the arts go further by integrating it into your own marketing campaigns.
Highlight your collaboration in your own newsletter, blog and social media.
Talk about how your support is benefiting your community, or how your acquisition reflects your company values, or makes your employees’ work experience better.
Another declaration of thrift – I spent absolutely nothing on art supplies in March! However… I still got some stuff.
Last month I received a package that I’d bought months before, but this time I was given a massive bag of fabrics by a friend. I’m a bit torn about what to do with some of them, but some are definitely going towards a very specific purpose.
The best bit was a green suede skirt that I’m planning to upcycle into a notebook cover and an apron for metal casting. That’ll have to wait until next month though, as I’ve been buying more leather fabric to add to it.
So just like last month, I’m going to share some of what I bought from Jackson’s Art in December – my last big supply spending period.
The paper arrived flat, packaged in a big cardboard box. Some of the paper was plastic wrapped, some of it wasn’t, but it did arrive uncreased and in good condition.
I was really excited about finally making this order after what seemed like months of researching what kind of printmaking paper to buy for screen printing. Trying to find the right kind of printmaking paper online was a bit of a nightmare, but I’m beyond happy with these.
I’ll link to the finished pieces that result from them when they’re ready.
You’ll probably see from my other supplies posts that I’m not particularly loyal to one store or brand, but I’ll get the things I need from the supplier that gives me the best value. This time around Jackson’s was the best for the printmaking paper, Speedball and Permaset.
I’ll get this out of the way – I spent absolutely nothing on art supplies in February.
That’s not to say that I didn’t add anything to my substantial wish list, and neither does it mean that I didn’t receive any art materials either!
Last month I finally got my last bottle of Jacquard Solarfast from my December order from Homecrafts. It was out of stock and took ages to arrive, but as I wasn’t able to work over the last few months it wasn’t a big deal for me.
But it did arrive at last, so now’s a good enough time to show you all of the colours and what I think of them.
If you don’t know how Solarfast works, it’s a UV dye that reacts to sunlight. I did a review of Inkodye, which is a similar UV dye product that is no longer available, but I’m now moving on to trying Solarfast instead.
They look fantastic all together, and it’s made me want to jump straight back into the banknote printing project.
One of the things I bought back in December was a set of squeezy sauce bottles from eBay. The plan for these was to use some of them for dispensing mixed screen printing ink, and to use the rest for the Solarfast and Inkodye for screen printing.
But the problem with using these for dispensing thickened Solarfast is that they would let the dye become exposed over time. My solution to that was to use black electrical tape – we got a pack of three rolls from the pound shop – to wrap the bottles and block light whilst storing the ready-mixed dye.
Guess what – it works very well, and I’d definitely recommend it!
This won’t be a full review of Solarfast colours and screen printing with Solarfast, because I did a little test, and realised that I needed to do quite a bit more on different materials. That full review should be coming soon, and I’ll link to it here when it’s ready.