Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Makin' Bacon

Funny where ideas come from.  After I posted my Carnivore Coasters, some jovial banter ensued. I blurted out 'Bacon Beer Wraps' and instantly knew they had to be. Ok, not a long stretch from steak to bacon, but still. Sometimes it is as if the concept is the reality - and fabrication is the abstract process you have to go through to get to the place you’ve already been. In a process similar to the steak coasters, I began with photographs of actual bacon. Then I studied the image to decide how best to translate it into embroidery: what aspects are best rendered by line, color, texture and stitch direction, etc.
I have a dark sense of humor and sometimes laugh at horrible things. I think this meat series is funny because – well, I think that industrial food production is gross. Like all of my work, there is usually a connective thread to my life. That connection with this meat series is to my belief in the humane and sustainable treatment of all animals, including those that are farmed. Healthier for you, the animals, and the planet. On the back of my package is the link to Food Inc., a documentary that everyone who eats should see. At Local Harvest you can find tons of information about safe food in your area including piggies, and other animals, who had a healthy, happy life before they went to market.  Folks in my neck of the woods might enjoy shopping at Rainbow Ranch Farms.

Once the digitizing and the embroidery was done, it took me a long time to finish this item – and I suppose it is because I don’t like this kind of packaging and graphic design.  I had to study bacon packaging – really look at it – and gosh it is ugly and excessive.  Vivid bright yellow backings are the norm, and lots of primary red. Simultaneously, during a conversational thread I was following amongst some European friends, someone expressed the opinion that Americans’ vision was stunted by the constant affront of intense primary colors, leaving us unable to appreciate a subtle palate. I was certainly feeling under Primary Attack.
As with all of my products, I like to give careful thought to the packaging and try to utilize creatively that which is at hand. For the Bacon Beer Wraps, I used recycled yellow file folders and repurposed print sleeves. I drew the label image and text, scanned it, and printed it on 8.5 “x 11” stock cut from the file folders. The wraps’ Velcro tabs slide into carefully cut slits in the cardstock, holding each piece in position within the package and completing the illusion.

Here’s the Nerdy Part for Digitizers

Since the Bacon Beer Wraps were worked from photos, they weren’t vector images. I like working this way because I feel the lines have more life, but you can get some surprises. That magic wand can include things you don’t want and don’t even know are there. Maybe you have also run into this: you are using your tools, but an object isn’t behaving as you expect.   It could be one of many problems, but here’s an example of one type of glitch and how to fix it:

Zoomed in a little more than 100% and the problem is only visible to a trained eye.

Zoomed way in, now you can see a tiny D-shaped hole. This little hole can cause a host of problems. It could prevent the surrounding area from being outlined or cause the fill stitches to stitch badly.

It’s a little hard to tell, but see how the green stitching lines are interrupted with this hole? This would stitch with a little blip there.
Select all the control points at one time and delete.

Usually with these little anomalies, once you delete the control points, a black line remains. But as you can see here, if you look closely, the green stitching line now spans across the hole. This indicates that it will now stitch properly.
Zoomed back out, you can see the black line remaining around the removed hole. Now that you know what to look for, you can probably find a couple others. Can you spot them? Learning how to recognize and deal with these little buggers will save you lots of headaches. Next time something acts funny…. Zoom in. Zoom waaaay in.


  1. I was one who encouraged the banter. I think your meat series is amazing and I had to share. Thanks for sharing and keep up the creative work!

  2. I really appreciate your participation. Thanks for your post and compliments. It is an honor to share what I do with people who love fiber.

  3. My first thought, when I saw the "bacon" on the bottle, was the girl is crazy! Now on further study and reading, you are sooo creative, down to the packaging. Fun post. Thanks for giving me a smile.
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN

  4. Thanks, Beckie, for your kind words and for taking the time to read on to discover the methods behind my madness. So glad you got a kick out of it.