waste not want not
My mind is currently focused on an exhibition I’m setting up next week. Marion, the Gloucestershire Federation WI archivist and I have been gathering together some treasures and for the next four months, the main exhibition at the Gloucester Folk Museum will be “100 Years of the WI: A Centenary Celebration”
We spent last week making a few final decisions about what to include and what to leave out and I came home with a list of information tickets to print out. Yesterday was spent getting those done, mounting them on foamcore board and trimming to size.
Working with A4 card and large A1 sheets of board is satisfying because it all fits so neatly together and there’s hardly any waste. Even so, I was sorely tempted to keep some of those larger trimmings – at least an inch and a half wide – because “they might come in useful”.
There will be several glass exhibition cases in the museum for us to dress and thinking about how to label them with our themes, I hit upon the idea of cutting vinyl lettering to apply to the glass. This is the kind of thing my Silhouette machine does beautifully, so I placed an order for a couple of rolls of vinyl and did a trial run.
The glass door from our studio through to the laundry is the test area and a couple of issues were immediately apparent as I applied the phrases.
The first run, I used the Silhouette feature of “nesting”. That means the program takes whatever shapes or letters from a selection and arranges them in as economical a way as possible. For someone like me, who hates waste of any material, this is heaven and I found it immensely satisfying to watch as the 40 inch long phrase was squidged into a space no more than 12 inches square.
Applying the single letters accurately wasn’t easy, though. The whole phrase took time and even though I thought I’d got it right, when I looked again, some letters weren’t quite right.
The idea of spending an age fiddling with each letter whilst setting up on Monday was troubling me. Maybe I could delegate that one? My hero immediately put his 2p in and made it clear that though he was ok about fetching and carrying, he wasn’t going to be happy doing anything like that.
So I cut it again, this time maintaining the computer spacing by transferring the letters to the glass using masking tape in exactly the same way as I did here.
Spot the difference? My hero and I decided that, if a truly professional finish is needed (and it is) then this was the way to go.
Except that there was so much wasted vinyl. I know I’d bought ten metres, but one of those phrases was 40 inches long!
I juggled the options. What about adjusting the character spacing? How about leaving out the spaces? Arranging the phrases so I could get three of them across rather than two, thereby avoiding the large space in the middle?
I couldn’t resist making the comparison. Cutting it out in whole phrases was just so wasteful. Nesting was surely the way to go.
Thankfully, my hero talks sense at times like this and occasionally (!) I listen. What would I do with the remaining vinyl anyway? Hadn’t I bought two rolls of the stuff for this express purpose? Just get on and do it.
So I did. All window vinyls are now cut and ready to go and of course, that was absolutely the right thing to do.
Mind you, the plumber who just arrived to repair our bathroom radiator did look a little askance at the door with a very strange sign on it! Perhaps she thought we run a nursery in our laundry?
If you happen to be in Gloucester between now and November, I hope you’ll stop by the Folk Museum in Westgate Street and take a look at the exhibition? It will tell a fascinating story and will include some newly discovered archive material which I’ve been bursting to share ever since Marion first showed it to me!