Finally. After months of ‘baiting’ over how we were going to get the next collection made, we will begin printing this weekend. It has taken it bit longer that we had hoped, but we wanted to keep the quality high and keep things ‘real’, and that can take some sorting sometimes. So, new designs should be in-store next week, just in time for late crimbo shoppers.
‘Beware’ and ‘B’ test shots.
Part of the screening ‘biz’ involves these sheets of clear plastic with the artwork printed on (acetates) which are used in both production of the screens and registration of the prints.
They are also pretty handy in the early stages to give us an idea of where the designs will be positioned on the tee and of the overall look of the piece.
New tees should be up in the next week or so…
Bl,est Bombers Will Fuck You Up
This is it, our other new design. Both this and the mental dog should go on sale sometime next week, hopefully in time for Christmas. The screens arrived last week (thanks Steve, great job as always) so we’re just waiting on the new ink to turn up before we can start printing. Hopefully Merve actually ordered it! Until then check out a nice big preview.
Some bonus images, first an early Bl,est team photo. There’s Benji ‘The Kid’ Carvill on the left, team captain and slugger. That’s me Squeak ‘Fingers’ Mason at the back – unpredictable, with a wild knuckleball. On the right is Merve ‘The Perve’ Shurmer, known for his dark moods and bad temper.
This design is just for fun, it isn’t going to be printed. I’m pretty sure anything with the word ‘bomb’ on it is frowned upon these days!
This Is Dog City
Ok here it is! We’re really are excited about this one. The print’s so big it nearly didn’t fit on the screen! We’ll probably do a few different colour versions, a nice fluorescent green for the text would look great I think. Also we’ve got in some nice two colour baseball tops which should suit the design really well. The other new design no-one’s seen yet – it’s one of these…
Ben is prolific at coming up with tee ideas, it sucks that we can’t just print them all. These he knocked out in less than a week. Hopefully one day we can go back through and actually make a lot of the cool concepts that never got used.
Squeak Takes It
Our man Squeaks has received some flak for an article he wrote months ago expressing some personal views. Whether anyone agrees with his opinions or not, at least he has opinions and feels strongly enough to express them. However, all his future rants will be closely monitored.
Final touches made today on new styles. Both very different artistic directions. Squeaks and I are well pleased with them.
Whilst going through the wasteland that is the Bl,est Workshop I came across this old tee that was from one of the very first screens we had made up but never actually used. This is the only one ever printed, in some ways its pretty dated, but I like it. I have loads more styles kicking about that never made the cut for all kinds of reasons, so ill throw them up on the site.
Like Pulling Teeth
Two new designs coming soon
The three at Bl,est are well underway planning our next collection. Merve has started to order new inks and tshirts, I have the first few pages of an empty sketchbook and Deano (Squeak) has begun drinking alcopops and chasing skirt.
New collection – new features – coming soon
Bl,est summer sale
To make room for our new line (due september/octoberish) we are having to drop some current colourways.
The final prints of these ever to be made are in store and at a reduced price.
At Bl,est we are all about doing things for ourselves, just the way we likes it.
We currently do all the printing ourselves, but are still having to have our screens made up for us. So, the next step is to bring the screen production in house, which will be a massive step in both production and design development. Having complete control over the screens will allow us to make the prints as big as we like, whenever we like and still be able to put them wherever we like.
The next couple of months are going to be awesome for Bl,est. We are going to start getting together some plans for the new collection and begin the search for some new stockists.
we write the bl,est
...to think that all these years ago bl,est began as a set of tatty photocopied zines put together in dirty bedrooms. And all these years on, these zines still seem a pretty fresh way of throwing a load of random ideas together and using design to make them work. The process of turning doodles, photos and text into something you can hold, like physical booklets, helps achieve a real sense of developing ideas into a final product. That said, we at bl,est hope to start putting some new zines together and putting them about where ever we can.
"This Place is Dead Anyway"
The B’ham Bl,est Store is no more. We lost some money, but not that much. We sold some tees, but not enough. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and to Mike the caretaker for helping us move in (and out).
Happy Birthday To Our Squeak
Archive shot of Squeaks rocking early Bl,est
Death, Animal Carcass And Women
Bl,est is back in the workshop sweating orders out to our stockists ready for the summer. We will also be putting some dieElectrik tees into some select Bl,est stockists, so keep your eyes crossed.
Accountant, Builder, Shelf Stacker
So, the dieElectrik tees are not yet on our store. This is my fault. I’m the company web-master, but also a night-shift supermarket drone. We run this shit for free. And right now I’m late for work. They will hopefully be on sale around midday on Saturday. Pick yours out!
Two Die, Electrik Styles
A better look at the new styles from dieElectrik that will be on sale in the Bl,est Store in a week or so.
Getting Ready To Die Electrik
We were meant to take some decent photos of the new dieElectrik tees last weekend, but got caught playing ice hockey all night instead. For now, here is a dirty look at the two designs that will be hitting the store soon.
DieElectrik is Bl,est soon
All new label DieElectrik will be on sale real soon in the Bl,est Store. We have got two large print designs in a couple of colourways on both boys and girls tees. The plan is to take some photographs this weekend and get them up and on as soon as.
Last Market In Bristol
This Saturday (2nd June) will sadly be our last on the Bristol market. All three of us are so enthusiastic about the launch of our first ever store in Birmingham, we want to spend as much time as possible there – and as the rest of our time is spent printing tees, something had to give. We have been doing the markets on and off for a few years and have had some pretty tough rainy days, but have also met some really cool people and made some good friends. It has been so important in the progression of Bl,est and without it, we would never be where we are today. Thanks to everyone for the support.
Bl,est Store Shall Open
We at Bl,est are to be opening our very first store ever, in Squeak’s home town of Birmingham.
We Live Tees
Quite frankly I’m jealous that I didn’t think of this. Just awesome. Thanks for the tip Rach!
Blest is now available a short boat ride away at Yellow Brick Road on the Isle of Wight. Check the details on our stockists page.
25% More Life & Death
The Life & Death tee now has a 25% bigger print. We pushed and pushed and have now managed to get it to the size we wanted.
New Label First Look
Here it is, the new Bl,est label. The clever people at the label makers have put together this to show how its going to look. They should be hitting the backs of all our tees in the next month.
Squeak: So I’ll have to redo all the thumbnail images on the store with the new labels? Bloody brilliant.
Nerdcore 4 Life
A big thanks to everyone who grabbed one of our new banners and put it on their page. It makes my work worthwhile when people actually use new features. Our store front page has been redesigned… again! The whole look and feel has been streamlined and simplified. Usability is much better, with big intuitive colour swatches. The page load time has also been substantially improved. The old version loaded way too slow because there were over 100 calls to the server for the various colour swatches and thumbnails – this has been reduced by 70%, and there’s room for even more improvements.
A lot of what we do at Bl,est is intentionally basic, and in the end I decided a plain text title for the store would work better – but it still killed me to ditch this fancy title image. It’s just so slick!
We want our store to be the best of its kind on the web, and with this version I think we’re moving in the right direction. The next job is to bring the whole ordering & checkout process back in-house (rather than just relying on Paypal), using an open source Textpattern plugin by Levi Nunnink called TextCommerce. It’s pretty exciting stuff, for me anyway!
New Bl,est Stockist
New stockist for us: Forty Five in Plymouth. Contact details are here.
Bl,est On Bullshit T.V. Show
Thanks to Basil for wearing his See Love Lost tshirt during the first episode of The Bullshit Detective on BBC3 last week. There was some great nipple closeup action which really showed off the design! To be honest it’s just cool that someone would want to show off their Bl,est tee on national television.
It's The Tiger Lady
If wise man says ‘women, animals and tattoos make for good life’, then wise man would like this tee. The pen and pencil sketched design mixes old school sailor tattoos with cartoon and graffiti and will be available black ink on light and dark colour ways with second colour lips and eye detailing.
The pattern tee can be pretty hit or miss in my opinion, but it is also something I have wanted to try for a while. I have had ideas of Bl,est up versions of classic checks and argyle prints, but in the end felt happier using original artwork. For me, seeing the gold ink on black colourway sweeps away any doubts as to whether the pattern tee format is dead and buried.
Live Evil Soon
The ‘Live Faster’ is a design I have wanted to try and do for some time now. It is simplistic, bold and has all the heart of a Bl,est tee. We wanted to try a front and back printed tee (something we havent done before), so I worked on the front, while Squeak worked on the back (which turned out awesome).
First Look Thrush
Introducing the first ever v-neck tee from Bl,est. The tee features an etching of a thrush and will be released next week along with the rest of the spring 2007 collection. Each day this week we will be posting teaser art/photos of all the new designs.
Spring Collection 2007 Real Soon
Not long now! All four designs will (hopefully) go on sale sometime on Monday 2nd April. We’ll be previewing one design a day, Tuesday through Friday next week. I might try and set up some sort of commenting system so we can get some feedback from you all about which are your favourites. If not, you can always reach us through the contact details on the info page.
Beirdo Loves Kids
Bl,est wants to give a good luck shout out to our very own Merve, who tomorrow is off teaching at a school in Bournemouth. He will pass on his business wisdom of being one third of the most awesome clothing label in the world.
Draw it, scan it, screen it, sell it
I did this whilst manning the Birmingham Saturday market the other week, dead time away from the computer is great for drawing. It’s not for a tshirt, guess it might work on a badge or sticker though. Ben, I know you’ve got a hard drive full of doodles like this, you don’t have to wait till there’s some news to post them!
The Spring collection samples (to show stockists and to use for product photos) are being printed this Friday, so it’s not long before we’ll be unveiling them. We’re really really excited about them – the designs are so awesome I might wet myself.
In the next few weeks BL,EST will be launching a range of limited edition short sleeve shirts. Available in three styles of check, all with button down collars and fitted sleeves, ideal attire for a night on the town, playing pool or spanking cash on the fruities. Numbers on these shirts will be limited, so you may only find them on our web store or markets.
The Post That Got Away
Almost had a chance to write an awesome post, but didn’t quite make it!
But on the bright side, samples for the new collection will be put together on Friday. We have
five four new designs, with some new tee and ink colours.
Back to B'ham
After an absence of a few weeks, Bl,est is back in Birmingham today – hopefully this time to stay. There’ll be some end-of-line bargains, as well as several brand new designs that have never made it north of Bristol before. We’re at the Saturday Flea market in the Custard Factory, stuck way at the back, from 11am till 5pm every Saturday. Come and say hello, anyone who asks can have their name added to the Blest table, which is hand carved with my house keys!
After two tough weeks for the three of us, Squeak and I had our last phone call about which t-shirts and colour ways will make the new spring collection. I’m truly excited about the chosen set. Each design has a different style and direction, and I feel they all show where Bl,est is heading. I hope those of you who like our stuff will find something in the new artwork, and hope that those few who don’t like our stuff will really hate them.
Come Discharge Printing
This week Bl,est has been playing around in the workshop with a new technique (to us) known as discharge printing. By screening a paste-like bleach onto the tee and then steaming out, the tee is left with a bleach stain design. She Bites (black) and Thy Greatest Cross are two current designs that will feature this technique.
Last week Merve and I dusted off one of our early “homemade” screens and printed up a batch of vintage tshirts we found in America. As we only have a few we will be selling them on the Bristol market in the coming weeks.
Stock Photos, Sneak Preview
The boys and I had a lot of fun yesterday shooting the new stock photos for use in the store and elsewhere. Nothing went wrong at all (very unusual for us), and we managed to be fairly efficient considering how delicate we were from the night before. Here’s Ben and Merve looking fabulous in matching heather grey. I mean ridiculous.
The photos themselves have turned out so well that I can’t resist posting a couple of examples. They really show off the designs.
Those are just quick tests of the look I’m trying to achieve in post production. We actually shot each tshirt three times with different lighting conditions, which are then composited together to combine the atmospheric noirish background with the crisp well-lit tee. The final versions will be even bigger!
Back To It
We are back and getting straight on the tee orders that came in whilst away. All will be sent out this week, so thanks for the patience. Mock ups for some new designs have been put together, so if we can all agree on the best, they should be out in a few weeks.
Bl,est on holiday
For the next three weeks, Bl,est will be away on holiday. We are heading off to America to see if they like winter tshirts! It also gives me a chance to finalise the next collection, which should be launched around March. At present, it looks like the collection will include some tees, a hood, a summer item and possibly something for the ladies. We are in the process of printing up loads of the current stock, so any orders put through will be sent out as soon as we get back.
New Inside Print
As of now, all Bl,est Tee’s will include an inside print of authenticity. It’s a little extra work, but will feel that it’s well worth it.
Merve and I have just finished printing the first set of ‘the Shark tee’ in a brand new colourway. It should be up in the store in the coming weeks.
Early this month we will be shooting our long overdue stock shots, so hopefully they will be in store and doing our tees proud by the end of the month. Merve and I will be taking a long overdue vacation at the end of January, which will give me some time to finalise designs and knock out some fresh ideas for the next collection, which we hope to launch around March time. In the meantime, expect to see the new sweat tops in store in the next few days.