Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Screen Printing from Scratch

This week has been a logistical challenge. I always knew that juggling all my commitments would make this a difficult year, but didn't really appreciate how it would end up consuming me. This week marks the start of our build up to the end of term (is it Christmas yet?) and as per usual I have agreed to a number of things in order to push my degree work as hard as I can. One aspect of this was to start looking into the possibility of constructing my own exposure unit for screen printing. This idea manifested itself after I realised that if I wanted to produce replica documents, maps and correspondence, I need a method of reproduction that gave me a good chance at replicating the original.
After experimenting a little with screen printing last year, I decided this was probably going to fit all the criteria but one aspect would prove tricky. Access to our print room at university is difficult as it is in very high demand, the printing would be no problem but preparing the screens would take too long if I didn't have the facilities to be able to work 'out of hours'.
The complicated part of the method of screen printing that I wanted to pursue, was that of using photo emulsions and ultra violet exposure. I wanted to be able to exactly copy certain documents in my possession and to do this I would need to scan them to a high resolution and copy them to the mesh screen using a UV exposure box. Was it going to be possible to build myself?
After hours and hours of research into UV lighting, exposure times, methods and equipment, I am happy to say I now have a homemade unit which was tested over the weekend and (after many trials and errors) is now fully functioning and I ran my first prints yesterday with great success.
Tomorrow sees the the return of the first 'critical evaluation' of my work by a visiting tutor - Jeremy Akerman - so we will see how it is received and I will keep you posted as to how it goes.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Since we last spoke......

Not being the most committed blogger, I have neglected my duties over the summer, so in making a pact with myself to re-instate this blog and to use it frequently, I have realised what I have not blogged about since April!
Rather than bore you all with all the little details in one go, how about we catch up as we go along? The main purpose of writing here again, is to continually test my writing skills and also to keep the small community of you that kindly follow me, up to date with what is expected to be one of the busiest years of my professional career.
However, let's not get ahead of ourselves so I will get back in to blogging slowly and let you know what is happening to me this week. Tomorrow I will be interviewing Emma Ayling, Head Curator at The Priest House Museum, Wimborne Minster as part of my latest university project, exploring the significance of 'the artefact'. I have already subjected my mother to the interview process, asking her to talk about the family heirlooms and discussing the personal attachment that we all have to various valuable and non-valuable items in our possession and now it is time to explore this from a museological viewpoint. I am looking forward to the filming, not only because Emma is a complete wealth of knowledge and incredibly supportive of me and my work, but also because I am a novice to film making and editing so this is a new challenge for me.
This is all part of a much larger project that I am collaborating on with The Priest House, which I have only just acquired, I am being given the amazing opportunity of curating their Georgian Parlour - a fantastic honour and one which I am very excited about. I will be writing more about it in the very near future but for now, I am spending the majority of my time researching, experimenting and attempting to think very laterally.
I look forward to keeping you all up-to-date with my adventures over the next twelve months.......