From design to the real deal – Lucy won the NSMBL X Lomography DIY rumble. We sent her the La Sardina DIY, she customized it and now it’s time for the interview. Ready?
Where do you live and what do you do for living?
I live in small village just outside of Cambridge in Cambridgeshire, England. I am an artist and art teacher by trade, specializing in Ceramics and Photography. I teach art and photography 4 days a week at a school for 11 to 16 year olds, and one day a week I teach ceramics to adults. I also teach weekend courses in a variety of media such as Kiln Glass, Lino, screen and intaglio printing as well as my specialisms. I have yet to find an art media or process that I didn’t want to use or learn how to use, I love it all!
What made you decide to participate in this competition?
I love nay chance to combine my artistic loves, and this was just the perfect chance, and the opportunity of winning a camera to modify was too good to pass up as well.
For how long are you a lomographer and what was your first analogue encounter?
I met my first Lomography badged film camera when I went to see an exhibition of Don McCullin’s work at the Imperial war museum in London in the autumn of 2011. They had the Diana in the exhibitions shop area. It caught my eye immediately as I have always wanted a medium format camera, but they had always been out of my price range at collage and uni. So that’s when I became aware of Lomography.
But in terms of when I first used film, It really started when I did A-level photography and got my first true camera, a Pentax K-1000 with a 50mm lens. I still own it, and it has done me proud over the years, Its a camera I love to use, and can judge very well since I have used it so much. I’m still getting used to many of my new cameras because I have yet to put the same number of films though them, but I’m getting there slowly.
Which cameras do you own and which one is your favorite?
I own: A Pentax K-1000, a classic Lomo Diana F+ and Diana Mini, the La Sardina Belle Star and now the DIY as well, Oktomat, Sprocket Rocket in azure blue, Spinner 360, the Lomokino, a Vintage Agfa Clack which I got as part of a film swap with the lovely Gauthierdumonde, and lastly but not leastly I just got a baby Diana 110.
Of them all it’s so hard to pick a favorite, as I love them all in there own way. But if I had to narrow it down it would be a tie between the k-1000 and the Diana F+.
Can you tell us something about your design?
The design firstly came from the slight obsession with squid I have at the moment, my artwork just seems to keep going squidly. So when the competition came up my obsession really went with such a fishily themed camera. I also happened to be snacking on a Tunnocks TeaCake at the time I was designing it, and the iconic starburst wrapper was just the perfect compliment to the squid.
Did you first make sketches on the blue prints?
I first just went strait into sticking on the teacake wrappers, because I had to put my squid over any parts of the design that had wrapper text on them, so once that was on a could plan where I wanted my squid. The black around the edges came from trying to hide bits of wrapper that I didn’t want to show on the flash housing, and then I liked it so much I added it to the main body as well.
I then looked at some pictures of octopi and squid, so that I could get a good feel for the shapes and features. I went strait in with a paintbrush and put a layer of white acrylic down where I wanted the squid to be. I then did a small amount of light sketching to keep the design tight and coloured the squid in with Copic Marker pens in a pointillist style.
It came out as a bit of a cross between a squid and an octopus in the end.
How long have you been working on the design?
The initial design took me about three days to finalize, then it has taken be about a week to put into action, as I had to grab time where I could. If I condensed the time I would say about 15 to 20 hours, not including materials shopping time.
How was it to actually realize your design in real life?
SO COOL! I loved having the chance to make my design real, and picking out all the perfect elements was interesting, as I had to test a few things out. I am a very processed based mix media type artist, and I love to alter things, so this was right up my street really, and because I teach I get much less time to do my own artwork, so it it was good to get back to something art based of my own as well.
Did you get nice comments by people around you?
Yeah, my family and friends all liked the design. And my students at school thought it was, and I quote:
‘That is so sick miss, did you really make it?’
‘That is well massive’
‘ahhh, I want one, can you make me one miss…’.
So it was received very well all told.
*What are you planning to do with the Sardina
Well, now its all done and dusted I am planning a trip to London with my photography students, so I think I shall have to take it with me and be all eye catching with my Kraken La Sardina.
Can you make a step-by-step tutorial about your design?
Why yes I can!
1) Using the screwdriver provided, Take apart the camera and keep all the edge pieces, screws and flat plates safely and separately to make it easier to keep track of and put back together. I used a plastic tub with a good lid to keep all the small parts in.
2) Mask off any areas of the flash and camera that you don’t want to get glue or spray paint on. I used Masking tape on the main areas and masking fluid on fiddly bits like the flash readiness light.
3) Attach the silver leaf with a fine misting spray glue, I used photo mount to spray the camera pieces with, then carefully laid the silver leaf on with a soft brush and fingertips. Smooth the silver leaf down firstly with the brush and then gently with your fingers, work the edges to remove any unwanted silver leaf. I used spray glue because silver leaf does not like runny glues like PVA at all and glue stick would not adhere well to the plastic or sit flat, it also has a slow drying time. You could use proper gilders size, but its hard to come by and much more difficult to use.
4) Draw out, check, and then cut out and re-check the starburst design. I used file weight paper for the stencil and a new scalpel blade for the cutting. For a more reusable stencil you could use thin plastic.
5) Lightly spray the reverse of the stencil with the spray glue, it only needs a very fine misting, as you want to tack the stencil down, not glue it permanently. Tacking down the design will help to prevent under spray on the stencil. Shake your spray paint can well and then using thin misting coats from around 9 inches to 1 foot away, spray the design until it is fully formed and opaque. With spray paint it is much better to use a few thinner coats that one thick gloopy coat of paint. You will find that using it close and thick will cause the paint to bleed under the stencil and pull away with poor edges, it will also dry slowly and run. While you can use car paint and the like, I find that they have a very high intensity flow and do not mist well. If you can, use high quality spray paint like montana gold, its well worth the money. Pull away the design as quickly as you can after you finish spraying, this will minimize stencil stickage.
6) Paint on your chosen main design, I used Artists Acrylic paint for my Kraken and the black edging. I also used a sponge brush to do the edging with. I started with the darkest colours first and worked towards the lightest. This technique gives a good depth of colour to the design and more texture.
7) Spray the whole thing with a couple of coats of good matt varnish, again, try not to go too thick on any one coat. Once its all finished, remove all the masking tape and rub off the dried masking fluid.
8) Last thing to do is put a small amount of black on the edges of the winding nobs and then put the whole thing back together.
And there you have it, one ‘krakingly’ good camera :D