Yorkshire Zine Weekender 15th & 16th March 2014 – #DIY #zine #bolamat50

IMG_3368

A daffodil’s-eye view at Sheffield Zine Fest 2013.

Coming soon! The Yorkshire Zine Weekender with a doubler-header of ziney goodness in Sheffield and Leeds, 15th & 16th March 2014. Please come along and see my even more swollen catalogue of goodies from Black Daffodil Press.

Also, there will be a party in Sheffield on the saturday night.

Sheffield Zine Fest 2014 15th March at Electric Works, Sheaf Street, Sheffield S1 2BJ, 11am – 6pm free entry.
http://sheffieldzinefest.wordpress.com/
Facebook event here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/646206552102702/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

IMG_3367

One of the other tablers called my display “industrial” last year, which I am very happy with.

Leeds Zine Fair 2014 16th March at Wharf Chambers, 23-25 Wharf Street, LS2 7EQ 11am – 6pm free entry.
http://leedszinefair.footprinters.co.uk/
Facebook event here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/632961483418960/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

sheffield-side-copy_small

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sheffield Zine Fest 2014 – coming soon…

sheffield-side-copy_small

http://sheffieldzinefest.wordpress.com/

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For the unrequited love of Big Brother/Epson/Canon – more inkjet troubles

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 10.57.05

Okay, more whining about inkjet printers (strictly for the enthusiasts). This time about my Epson Photo RX585.

When I choose “A4” in the page setup menu item, and then go to print, it gives me a list of media to choose from.

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 10.32.22

But when I choose “A4(Sheet Feeder – borderless) I no longer get the option to print onto plain paper.

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 10.32.11

Why? It will physically print on plain paper if I choose a different option but load plain paper rather than one of the Epson papers that are listed, so it’s not a mechanical issue, but it will not print with the correct ink balance, hence the muddy prints (see below).

I am not a printer engineer and no doubt there are technological limitations that I am not aware of. However, you can’t tell me that the same transport mechanism and the same inks that can print edge-to-edge to photo paper, comme ci, can’t manage to print an acceptable page edge-to-edge on plain paper, comme ça.

One one hand, it is fair enough for manufacturers to disclaim any quality or reliability issues unless you use their recommended ink and paper, but neither of these printers is remotely economically viable if you do. If you use third party consumables, you haven’t got a leg to stand on when things don’t work properly.

IMG_4468

Left to right: Canon ix6550 (A4 borderless), Epson RX585 (A4 borderless), RX585 (A4)

However, the print shown here (above, right) is printed on 120 gsm plain paper with third party “universal” dye inks and the print quality is fine. The print in the middle is on the same paper with the printer set to one of the Epson photo papers because there is no plain paper option.

And this is the crux of it. I would not recommend either of these printers although they both work excellently in some circumstances, and this is not an issue solely caused by printing large batches. It’s this issue that neither printer can be relied upon, given the current driver software, to print a full range of acceptable results on the range of media that they both claim to support. Given the occasions that they will print satisfactorily, I do not accept that these limitations are anything to do with the mechanical limitations of either printer, but the software / firmware implementations.

I have yet to try absolutely every combination of papers and print settings, and I will let you know if I find a suitable compromise.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why print black when you can Pixma bleck?

img290

I have come to realise that we live in a post-magic civilisation. The details of inkjet printing are more esoteric than anything The Order of the Golden Dawn could have ever thought up, and heaven and hell are separated by a mere razor’s edge between the transitory salvation of printing satisfactorily and the potentially endless purgatory of not printing satisfactorily.

Apart from The Good Lord Himself, who knows what evil lurks in the minds of Canon printer engineers. In Australia Canon used the advertising tag-line “Why print when you can Pixma?” and I’ll tell you why in a moment.

What’s wrong with this picture?

IMG_4467

That is correct, the one on the left is black-and-white and the one of the right is blue/black-and-white. Both were printed on my recently purchased Canon Pixma iX6550. The one on the right was printed on the “A3” page layout option and the one on the right with the “A3 (borderless)” setting, both with “grayscale printing” checked.

The iX6550 uses two different black cartridges, a dye black and a pigment black, although there is no user control of which is used. The pigment black is like the pitiless dead eyes of a shark, and the dye black is more like the dewy pupils of an apologetic Care Bear, kinda black-ish but tolerable. For some reason I cannot determine, it uses the dye black (mixed with other colours) when printing edge-to-edge and exclusively the pigment black when not printing borderless. The difference is not just noticeable, it is quite marked, and the pigment black is actually far too black for a mixed colour print compared with the saturation of the CMY colours.

Okay so, what’s wrong with this picture?

Screen shot 2013-07-29 at 16.18.07

That is correct, the scan above is monochrome dithered and the one below is multi-colour blended. Despite selecting “grayscale printing” neither of them is actually gray, never mind grey. I hate to be picky but gray/grey is not a movable feast so mobile that any approximation will do.

Do you think one is the the North American “gray” and the other the British “grey”?

It’s quite possible that I’m missing something and I will be happy to publish my contrition should I be shown to have overlooked a user-definable setting. This printer is perfectly capable of producing outstanding results, it’s just a shame it insists on Pixma-ing rather than printing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Daffodil Press at Leeds Cross-Cultural Book Fair 26/27 July 2013

1048104_365054473617418_442749730_o

This will be only the second outing for Black Daffodil Press outside my work room and attendant blog, and this one is in the middle of a proper shopping centre!

For sale I will have Retrospective Packs 1, 2 & 3, as well as the book of my prose-poem World X: A Speculative History, and my part-work Catalogue Issue 01 (and maybe Issue 02). There will also be the loyalty cards, if you don’t already have one, and definitely a few other goodies and giveaways.

IMG_4189

High Street X at FORGE Contemporary Art, Design & Craft Fair in Sheffield.

I haven’t quite decided just how much of High Street X I will have with me, but expect thrills, chills and spills at the St. John’s Shopping Centre, Merrion Street, Leeds LS2 8LQ.

Also, find the Leeds Book Fair on Facebook and Twitter.
http://leedsbookfair2013.com/

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Create Your Own Money-Making Mint! Read how Black Daffodil Press is doing it right now… Part 1

IMG_3994

I had this crazy idea to design and print a bank note. How hard can it be?

Quite hard, actually.

I ain’t no numismatist but I have always liked printed ephemera and a bank note seemed like an honourable addition to the oeuvre of Black Daffodil Press. I have issued a competition around the design of the One-X note so will not be discussing it in any detail until I decide to close the competition, but in the meantime I can at least discuss the printing methods.

Screen shot 2013-05-04 at 17.18.59

Yet again, I would not necessarily recommend my own methods, but I tend to work very intuitively and sometimes just start doing things before I have sufficiently considered the practicalities of it.

The first unwise / wise move was to lay out the design with Keynote. Yes, that’s right, Apple’s Mac-only presentation software. Why do that?

I am fully aware that I would probably be better off using a combination of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop but Keynote is actually very intuitive, responsive and has a number of features that allow you to produce high quality graphics very easily.

It also has some major disadvantages, the most grievous of which is lack of layer control, which makes complex, multi-layered graphics a challenge to work with. Whatever, I like Keynote and I use it a lot for simple editing of graphics and preparing online slides.

Screen shot 2013-05-04 at 17.19.04

Having installed a continuous ink supply system (CISS) in my A4 Epson Stylus Photo RX585 I decided do the printing on that. The CISS is demonstrably very cheap to run and I decided to print onto basic 80gsm inkjet paper which is satisfyingly crinkly once printed both sides. I debated about printing onto A6 paper which would only require me to trim one side, but this would require edge-to-edge printing which is significantly slower on the RX585, so I decided to print three per A4 and trim all sides. On standard quality this made printing very fast and the quality of the first batch was very good.

After my first batch of about 600 notes, I decided to print the same again so that I would have over 1,000 with some spares. Having not used the printer in-between for a few weeks after the first batch it needed more ink and head-cleaning, and the next few days could be described in two words: IN SANE. I’ll spare you the detail and all the swearing, suffice to say I used an alarming amount of ink on more head cleans than I care to remember. The ink is very cheap (from Coralgraph), less than £5 for a set of 6x100ml bottles, but what really drives me to distraction is the amount of time it takes and the knowledge that the printer will register a critical number of head cleans once it thinks the waste ink tank is getting full. Which it will be. Another thing that pushed me a little closer to the edge was that, despite cleaning all the pipes out with printer cleaning fluid (from Printhead Hospital), each time I reinstalled the CISS and flushed out the air gaps, different colours were not printing correctly. AAAAAAARGH!

IMG_3928

The ink tanks were full before I started and it was still not printing satisfactorily.

Again, I can’t really complain because it is printer-hacking, but it’s monumentally frustrating. The advantage of using domestic grade equipment is that it can be very cheap,  but the problem is that these things are not designed to be user-maintained and they either work or they don’t, and there’s not much you can do about it. (I have got the printer working since, but more about that in a later post).

Anyway, after an uncounted number of head cleans I decided to just go ahead and print another batch, complete with patches and smears. The overprints you see here are test sheets I printed and, quite perversely, I really like the spoils too, although I was trying to make them as perfectly as I could.

Screen shot 2013-05-31 at 05.34.53

Obverse and reverse of the New Bank of X One-X note, showing crop marks.

But here’s the crux. I had to keep reminding myself that it’s not real. It’s just a stunt. Actually it’s not JUST a stunt, it’s an exceptional stunt, but the reason for printing so many is to give it some physical presence, some inferred authenticity. Having decided to make a suitcase full, I liked the idea so much that nothing else would do, so I decided to just blunder ahead and print enough for my purpose regardless of the faults.

So, here is the stash. This was shown as part of Bloc Studios’ Spring Fete in Sheffield, UK.

IMG_3953

There is more to say about the printing but I think that’s enough for now. Part 2 soon…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New publications available at Black Daffodil Press

Screen shot 2013-05-20 at 10.04.20

My popup shop, not fully popped up at Access Space, Sheffield, UK.

Phew! It’s been a busy few weeks, but highly productive, and I have a number of new publications both in print and online. Links & short descriptions on the “Publications” page (above).

Despite being a very simple format, the first issue of “Catalogue” has been a major headache to produce. I’ll write more about that later, but for now I’m just glad to get it out there. I started writing a catalogue of my work in single word-processing documents, in no particular order, just to make a start on it, and here is Issue 01, laid out to be reminiscent of the Exchange & Mart.

Screen shot 2013-05-20 at 10.10.05

After my launch event at Access Space, Sheffield, UK, I started to accumulate forthcoming events and I have created a traditionally-styled “What’s On” leaflet which will get filled as I go along. There will be a print version, occasionally, but please keep and eye on the online version which will be updated regularly.

I have made more Retrospective flyers and gathered them into packs and these can be viewed online, bought from my peripatetic pop-up shop, and eventually bought from my online shop, coming later this year. There are online versions, but the paper versions have extra bells and whistles.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment