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Mystique Series - More fun and games!

Posted by Dave Bull at 4:54 AM, April 7, 2010

Well well well ... the best laid plans of mice and men ... Yes, it's time for Plan B! Or as they say, "Houston, we have a problem ..."

It's the case.

If you've watched the video of the recent exhibition, you saw me 'demonstrate' how the stand for the new series can be used in both a horizontal and vertical orientation.

Or so I thought.

Most of the prints are horizontal, and as the mats are sized to match the dimensions of the stand after it sinks into its deeper slot, everything works perfectly:

Here's the problem though - when you have a vertical print (I haven't made any yet, but if I just turn this one around, we see what happens ...) it - of course - no longer matches the stand.

It's too narrow at the sides, and too tall at the top.

What an idiot I am! I never even once actually tried to place a mat on the stand this way, as I 'knew' it worked, so am only now discovering the problem ...

But as I said, there is always a Plan B! I have trimmed the mat (and the acrylic sheet) to a new size: 222mm x 162mm. It fits nicely in the normal horizontal style. It's no longer 'flush', but has a border all the way around. As they say, that's not a bug, it's a feature!

And when you turn it vertically, it has the same border:

And there is no overlap at the top either:

But ... (there is always a 'but' ...) Inside the drawer, there is now too much room. The stuff is going to rattle around like crazy:

So I made some trial inserts - 4 pieces of a thin plywood I had handy - and glued them in place in the drawer:

And the prints now fit nicely, no rattling:

As the inserts are 38mm high - a bit less than the depth of the drawer - the 18 prints and acrylic will go inside, and the stand will fit in the new 'ledge' on top:

No problem!

All I have to do now is cut 840 little slips of paulownia, and glue them all in place ... Fun and games!


Following comment posted by: Dave on April 7, 2010 3:05 PM

It doesn't end there of course ...

I made an early morning phone call today to the man making the acrylic sheets. Just how many of them were done (and would need to be trimmed down)?

As it turned out, he was planning on starting the job tomorrow, so no problem. I confirmed the new dimension with him, and he'll make them to that size. The famous 'just in time' system comes through again!

But the mats and the sheets of acid-free paper for printing the story wrappers are already here. Luckily, because things are very tight these days, I didn't order a huge pile of these: 600 story sheets:

... and 200 mats:

Trim them one by one with my cutter knife? No way ... I zipped down to the local printing shop, where they have a guillotine, got down on bended knee, and asked if they could do it.

Yes - and they'll come and pick them up later this afternoon.

And just when I got back from there, the guy from the cardboard box maker came by, with the latest sample of the shipping package for this series.

He and I have been struggling back and forth trying to get the weight down. The first sample they brought, a couple of weeks ago, was a bit too heavy, and put the weight of the final wrapped package just over the post office limit of 150 grams (before going up to the next price level).

When I made my first mock-up sample a couple of months ago, I figured we could keep it below that limit, so promised collectors a shipping price of $3.50 overseas. But if we go over 150 grams, my cost will be $4.20, and I'll be eating a lot of postage over the next year and a half. This is what happened to me with the previous Treasure Chest series actually - I targeted the 150 gram level, missed it by a few grams, and thus lost nearly a dollar on every single print that went overseas - and I'm determined to get it right this time.

Anyway, his sample is almost there, but not quite. But ... I was able to give him the very good news that the mats are now going to be 8mm narrower in one direction, and 3mm in the other. We sat there in my entranceway, chopped up his sample accordingly, and the thing is now at 145 grams. Success!

But sheesh ... I've got to get back to the bench! If I don't get this first pair of prints done, none of this stuff makes any difference!

Following comment posted by: Marc Kahn on April 7, 2010 9:28 PM

I was given the following words of wisdom long ago by a mentor. He said: "Everyone makes mistakes. That's expected. It takes a true craftsman to make it look like he had planned it that way."

Well done!

Following comment posted by: Lee Oldford Churchill on April 7, 2010 11:55 PM

Dave I'm so glad it worked out! But my heart also goes out to you for the 'nuisance value' of this!

Following comment posted by: Sharri on April 8, 2010 2:49 AM

Way to go, Dave! This story fits my mantra, "Art is all about problem solving". And, you've solved this one beautifully.

Following comment posted by: Renee on April 8, 2010 3:10 AM

Dave, This is just wonderful. I keep writing to my congress people to tell them to keep art in the school curriculum because of the creative problem solving skills! Clearly this is a successful(and beautiful) example. I am also impressed at your marketing strategy -- I am also working on a series but it does not have the scope of yours, best wishes on this treasure.

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