Saturday, 1 October 2011

An irritating start, followed by a creative day

I went to Curtin yesterday, hoping for more success than the last few days. 

I had cleaned the table Thursday lunchtime, ready for printing my 6m white fabric length on Friday. There was another class Thursday afternoon, and I noticed someone starting to use my clean table as I left. I inspected the table on Friday morning, and noted some large black print marks at the far end. I took advice from our technician, Mark, about whether I should reclean, and he just touched the marks, and thick wet black binder came off! I had nearly rolled my white fabric over it! So for the 90 minutes prior to my tutorial, I thoroughly cleaned the table (again). Because I had to use a lot of water on a permanently gummed table, it was now soaked, and it needed the 90 mins of my tutorial to dry to a level where I could gum down my fabric. I was not best pleased, as I had planned to spend the time before my tutorial setting up the mechanical printer, and going straight to print afterwards.

So in the afternoon, I gummed down my fabric, and Tracy and I set up the mechanical printer. Mark was astonished at how much green binder I had mixed - 4 litres. But this is what I had been advised to mix by the other technician on Thursday. Mark checked my measurements (these are always a bit hit and miss) and I started printing in positions 2, 4, 6 and 8. Then we held our breath and I printed position 1, and to our joy the repeat print fitted exactly. I printed 1, 3, 5 and 7 and, even if I say so myself, it looked good. You print even positions, then odd, so the print has a chance to dry, and you don't pick up wet binder on the back of the screen, and make smudgy marks all down your print run.

Tracy pouring coloured binder for my next print pull

I'm the first in class to get to this stage, and I think Tracy, Mark and I were all delighted with the result.  I took the repeat screen out of the printer, and cleaned it thoroughly. 

Because I had only used about half a litre of the 4 litres of green binder, I decided to overprint by adapting some of this colour.  I have decided to start at one end in bright colours, and slowly muddy them as I work along the cloth.  This is to represent deterioration of Dad with his Alzheimers.  The registration of the overprinting will become poorly aligned to represent confusion, so that the pattern becomes broken and eventually unrecognisable.  I will overprint with silver lines, representing thoughts and amygloidal plaques (symptom of Alzheimers), up to a point where the confusion ends (death) and the pattern returns to perfect colours and registration, indicating that life goes on.  In my mind it looks great, but I'm not sure how well it will transfer to print.  But I think the concept is strong, it's just a case of whether I can make it work.
Outline print for first colour layer
The full 6m length prior to printing

So yesterday, I did a full run of repeat screen prints, then worked with my A3 size hand screens to work back into it, with slowly changing colours. I managed to do two-thirds of the second print layer.  Tracy and I have agreed to go to class today (Saturday) so we get a day of peace and quiet to get a lot more printing done.  I want to finish the second layer, and then do a complete 3rd layer.  After this, any subsequent printing does not need to be exactly registered, so if I need to lift the fabric, it won't matter. 

Printing always takes longer than you expect.  We only have 2 tables, and about 12 people in class.  The classroom has other classes booked for about half the week.  We have 3 weeks to the end of semester.  I suspect there will be a fight at the end of term, over who can use the tables, for how long, and in what state the tables are left (by my class and others) for people wanting to print their assessment work.  I'm glad I'm likely to be one of the first finished.  I just hope everything goes well today!

Off on my bike to class now (no buses to uni on Saturdays!).

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