Maybe you are wondering what it takes to come up with a new patch or sticker.
So I thought I’d go through what it took to come up with one of the latest drops.
I get inspiration from random things in pop culture. Sometimes they can be well known. Other times, they may be more obscure. Sometimes current themes, but other times you might not get the reference.
So, for the latest inspiration, I took it from Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly:
There are a few fist-bumping Shake and Bake items out there but none relating to kendo. So I thought I’d put my spin on it.
First I set up the shot by taking a picture of my kotes on a white background.
There is some shadow but we will get rid of that later.
The photo was cropped.
Then the image was traced and processed using vectorizer.io.
Instead of using Illustrator, I use a vector program called sketch. It’s a vector design and prototyping app for Macs for apps and web interfaces. But you can use it to do basic vector design. Much cheaper than Illustrator (no subscription).
Added an indigo background and inverted the kote color.
Then I added text and added racing stripes,
Finally I added a starburst to give a sense of motion/impact.
So I took a chance on an indiegogo campaign and purchased these compression sleeves from spryngme.com.
Spryng claims to decrease the recovery time for calf muscles after exercise.
SPRYNG™ contains an innovative, patent-pending WaveTech® graduated compression pattern that prevents leg swelling and improves blood circulation. It does this by mimicking the skeletal muscle pump that occurs following strenuous exercise, aiding in the return of blood to the heart so swelling and muscle injury is reduced.
So what you get is a pair of one-size-fits-all pair of active compression sleeves, carrying bag and charger.
The dimensions of the bag with sleeves and the charger is about 14 x 7 x 4 inches, so this can fit in a backpack and easily into carryon luggage.
Each sleeve is labeled either right or left and is placed on the top of the foot and attached by velcro on the back of the leg. At first I had some difficulty putting on the sleeves because I have thick calves and didn’t realize that I was wearing the sleeves too high (I did contact customer support and they did notify me that they would be shipping out extensions for those of us who are well endowed).
Operating time after charging (about two to three hours), is about 15 minutes with up to 10 cycles of use between charges. The sleeves are turned on by holding down the center diamond button until the LED indicators come on. They are turned off by holding down the same button. The arrow up button is used for adjusting pressure and the double diamond button is for adjusting the compression pattern.
What makes this product unique is that it is active compression mimicking the natural compression in your leg without being tethered. The sleeves can be worn with or without clothes and you can even walk around while using them. However, they are not meant to be used while being active (only for recovery ) and not to be immersed in water.
I have used them for over a month now, two cycles after coming home from practices (and after a shower) and I can say my legs feel much better the next day and I have not had any muscle spasms (Charley-horses) waking me up in the night since then. They are easy to clean since the material is nylon and the inner liner which is attached by velcro to the sleeve is washable.
Some caveats. They aren’t cheap. The current price for a pair is about $250 in the US (includes shipping). It took me awhile to receive my sleeves mainly because they were having trouble with the FDA importing them into the US. I still have a couple warning letters from the FDA that I may or may not need to respond too (still waiting for spryng to respond but in a blog post prior to delivery, they had said I would not need to).
[Update: after back and forth with FDA, FedEx and spryng, FedEx finally agreed to take back the units so they could comply with the FDA. I received two BRAND NEW units, one of which was also quickly replaced for a malfunctioning sleeve with another brand new set. All of this without their knowledge I was reviewing their product. Kudos to you guys!]
Also, when first charging the units, the charging ports are really shallow. So don’t try to force the charging receptacles on the charging, they just barely hang there.
Pros: Compact active compression sleeve that just works Wireless More or less one size fits all Portable Untethered
Cons: Expensive Took a long time to receive (warning letters from the FDA) Charging port is shallow May not fit as well for those with really thick calves (but extensions planned)
[Update: I received two sets of extensions free also. These also attach by Velcro.]
Tenugui are the small hand towels used as head covering in kendo.
I had an unopened gocco printer lying around that I purchased in 2007 and decided it was high time to dust off the box and break open the packaging.
RISO Print Gocco’s are miniature printing presses first invented in 1977 by Noboru Hayama. It uses mini screen meshes coated with an impermeable material. When the screen is placed on a carbon ink containing original (like a photocopy) and exposed to use-once proprietary flash bulbs, this melts the impermeable material allowing ink to pass through the screen.
Unfortunately, RISO does not support this printer anymore and the supplies (flash bulbs and screens) can only be obtained third party. These supplies are in dwindling numbers.
The screen has a protective film. The screen is attached to a handstamp (on the right).
Overall the process took me several hours from cutting the original fabric down from a 10 meter bolt (about 394 inches) to about 39-40 inch lengths of cotton fabric. From there the towels were finished with a rotary cutter because my initial scissor cuttings were jagged.
The faito logo was printed from my original design. Placed in the printer. A screen was developed a total of three times. The first time I followed the directions and used the included blue filter which only served to burn the image into the filter rather than the screen. The process was repeated without the filter but this time because I didn’t trim the paper and instead folded it to fit the printer stage, the crease shadows from the folded paper showed up on the screen. Finally, a fresh image was made and cut to size and a second screen was flashed and developed.
The screen was inked, attached to the hand stamp and tested on a sheet of paper. Thankfully, I had a piece of cardboard underneath the paper as the ink leaked through the paper (and also leaked through the fabric). I had to use papers on the cardboard to block the previous ink that seeped through onto the cardboard as it could ruin the underside of the towels with errant ink marks. The screen was also re-inked due to too light prints.
After all the towels were stamped, they were dried over night. Then ironed to set the ink. And then placed in the washer on cold permanent press.
The towels were then removed. Ironed. Loose threads were removed from frayed ends by scissor. Then the towels were re-ironed and folded.
The prints have a weathered and distressed look and can be purchased on the etsy shop.
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