Monday, March 2, 2015

Typewriter Inspired Ring Dishes

I have a fascination with typewriters.

My Dad has always used a typewriter.  
Only recently, he made the transition to a computer - and only because typewriters are now impossible to service and buy ink reels for.   As a child, I watched with rapt attention as he changed the ink ribbons or carefully adjusted one of the many mechanical parts inside.  Unlike a computer, typewriters rely completely on joints, levers, and springs.  When a key is pressed, you can actually watch the mechanical arms inside press the metal letters against the paper.  
It's pretty freakin cool, in my opinion, anyway.
Image by Gary Bridgman 
(From Wikipedia)

When my February Darby Smart box arrived, I had typewriters on my mind.
This is the second box of my three month subscription.  The first had a print making theme and you can read about it here.  This month's box included everything I'd need to decorate two ceramic ring dishes.  Inside, I found: two white ceramic dishes, two bottles of enamel paint, a paint brush, and two sheets of stencil stickers (and a chocolate bar for hot chocolate).
Doesn't this sheet of letter stencils look similar to a keyboard?
I cut the letters out and arranged them in the traditional keyboard order - you know: QWERTY.
Then, I peeled them off the backing and lined them up in the dishes to replicate the keyboard pattern.
Darby Smart recommends coating the stencils with a very thin layer of enamel. 
The first layer was thin, but I could see white ceramic through the paint.  I don't like to follow the rules so I added another...and another.  
Basically, I kept painting until the ceramic underneath was completely hidden.
Unfortunately, the thick layers of enamel transformed into a rubbery sticky sheet as it dried.
When I peeled away the stencils, some of the rubbery enamel came off with them leaving a scrappy mess behind.  At first, I was disappointed and a little bit pissed off (even though it was really my fault for not following directions).
After a while, I came to the realization that I actually like the letters this way.  The imperfections and nonuniform keys give my dishes a worn, handmade feel.  
They almost look like they were stamped by a letter press or typed on a typewriter, don't you think?
I love when mistakes turn into something awesome.  
I'm actually happier with this design than I would have been with perfect letters.  
How often does that happen?

One thing I especially like about Darby Smart is the community of crafters.  
Everyone receives a box filled with the same supplies, but the finished products are vastly different.  
I have been creeping on Instagram, #DarbySmart, to see what other people are creating.

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