Thursday, 11 August 2011

A happy design student

I had a good time in Private Lives Public Issues yesterday.  Although I find the reading heavy going, I find the classroom conversation very good, and other people's insights into the readings give depth and balance.  After each class we have to write one page summarising the 3 key learning points for us as individuals and state why they are significant.  I think the tutor is quite generous on the marking, and yesterday he returned our second set of summaries.  I got 75% in the first one, and to my surprise, got 90% in the second.  I have learned, however, when making notes, to pay attention whenever the tutor says "good point, I like that" or "that is really nicely linked together".  If I asterisk each of these comments, and I can use these for the Key Learning Points, and it seems to bring together a good mark.  Oh, why did I not learn to pay attention, listen carefully, and write it down, as a teenager? 

TodayI had Pattern and Meaning. I had worked really hard putting together my irregular jig-saw shaped pattern of eucalyptus macrocarpus.  I have mastered the principle quite well, but had not grasped that the tutor wanted a really closely drawn pattern, where the repeat is not obvious, and there are no gaps.  So I need to do a redrawing job.  My first version was quite large, with about 2 key design parts on an A4 sheet.  The next one needs to have design pieces about 2 inches across, so the design is smaller but more complex.  This will take time, but the practice will be well worth while. I desperately want to go out and spend days just drawing lots of native plants, so I have a library of images to select from.  But I have 3 other modules to keep up with.  This is the disadvantage of having to study full time!  I like part-time study because if I want to get obsessed with something, I've got the time to do it!  So many ideas, so little time.
Working drawing for my design

We got to grips with screen printing using the mechanical printer.  The screen is roughly 1.20 m wide by 2 m long.  The mechanical printer is mounted on wheels, which run along each edge of the 8m long printing table.  You fix the silkscreen into the mounting, align the registration points and mix your screen inks.  You roll the mechanical printer to the first fixing for a print position and secure your screen.  The squeejee is attached to two long arm handles at the top of the screen.  You take the handles and position the squeejee onto the silkscreen, with plenty of ink in front of it.  Engage pressure, and walk backwards, pulling the handles so the squeejee pulls the ink to the bottom of the screen.  Then push all the way backwards. Make sure no-one is behind you when you pull back, otherwise you will walk into them, and lose the continuity on the pull.

Work your way down the table, printing every other print repeat (3, 5, 7, 9), thus allowing each print time to dry.  When your first run is complete, bring the mechanical printer back to the second position, and do another run of prints (2, 4, 6, 8), this time printing in between the prints already completed.

So now we know the theory of how to do a length of all over, repeating print.  Just need to get my design right, so I can try it out. 

Jim has been poking fun at me.  When I am seeking an appropriate phrase, I ask him for advice .... "what comes after The practice will be well ...?  He sits there like the Two Ronnies saying "well heeled", "well met by moonlight", "well advised", "well worth while". 

I was talking to Darshil and Diep, two of the other exchange students from Herts.  They are struggling to find work.  Both would like to work part-time to fund their studies, but are having difficulties.  I think part of the reason is because they are both 23.  In Australia, apparently there are different minimum rates of pay, depending on age.  So if you are looking for unskilled work, like retail or waiting at table, 16-18 year olds have the lowest rate of pay, then 18-21 year olds get another rate, and over 21s are paid c$20 per hour which is the minimum wage for their age.  Which sounds a great rate of pay, until you are competing against under 21s for the same job, except they will be more attractive to the employer as they cost less.  I am very glad I don't need to work.  Natalie, another UH student has found a job in a coffee shop, but as far as I know, is the only one out of 8 of us, to have done so.

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