Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A frustrating day, despite hard work

Today has been really hard work.  I have achieved very little.  I am tired and frustrated.

I worked at class for about 7 hours on my Banksia project and achieved virtually nothing.  We have a mid semester assessment next Wednesday and I need to get a lot of sampling done.  In order to do this, I need designs, exposed screens, and fabric.  The designs are coming along well, but they are non-standard sizes, and the border prints are longer than A3.  I think they will look lovely when printed, and because I have created the border separately from the body of the print, I can add a variety of patterns to the border, making lots of different options.  The border repeat is 22" long, which fits nicely on the hand silkscreen, and is long enough for the repeat not to be too obvious.  This is longer than A3 paper and is creating lots of problems.  The design has to be very black, otherwise the exposing light shines through the paper and spoils the clarity of the design.  I can't use two pieces of paper as they need to butt up exactly (overlaps wreck the exposure) and the design must carry precisely across the join.  If you butt up the paper, and sellotape it, the tape shows when the exposure takes place.  Additionally, we have to oil the paper of the design, so that the white paper goes translucent and the exposing light penetratres it, and the oil means the tape will come apart. 

So, I was advised to take my assorted designs to Officeworks to get them photocopied onto the oversize paper.  (The university copyshop only goes to A3 size).  So this is a trip on the bus, where I discover the copier won't take designs that are freeform - they need to be mounted on A size paper.  So I sellotaped my carefully cut designs onto carrier sheets. Non standard designs need the experienced operator.  Then the operator goes on an hour's lunch break!  I have to wait an hour and a half!  So I go back to class, expose my small silkscreen, and return to the copyshop.  All done, and back to uni.  Getting half a dozen photocopies takes about 3 hours in total.

I look closer at my favourite border print, amongst all the others I have had done.  It's been copied back to front!  In order to make it really black, I had photocopied it, joined it with tape, then carefully coloured in the back with black pen, using a lightbox.  This made the black, absolutely black, when viewed on a lightbox.  But the photocopy side was evenly black, whereas the back showed pen marks.  And they have copied the wrong side, thereby reversing the design (so it won't fit the screen I am creating with the matching details) and giving a naff copy.  I could have sat and cried.

When I put other photocopies on the lightbox, they were not as black as I wanted, so I spent a couple of hours, inking the reverse with permanent marker.  This took me a couple of hours, but I think they will expose well.  Not that I have a spare emulsed screen to put them on!

Then I discovered the silk/cotton and silk velvet fabric I wanted to use from the fabric store, has all been used!  No news on when it will be replaced.  And it is difficult for me to source my own, because non of the suppliers are within one bus ride. 

So my outputs for 7 hours work are one small exposed screen, and a subsequent repeat trip to the copyshop tomorrow, thereby losing an hour's work again.  I am very tired and frustrated.  Reluctantly I conclude that my designs need to be A3 max in future.  I cannot afford to keep losing time like this.

I read the requirements for the assessment next week, and made myself feel quite anxious.  I am starting to get fed up of jumping through hoops.  I understand we need a mid term assessment to make sure people are making progress.  But as third years, the expectation is for a high standard of presentation.  And this is where I struggle.  I want to spend my time doing extensive testing: I don't have time to waste on presenting my samples beautifully, carefully mounted on card, with uniform sizes, and all colour co-ordinated.  As usual it comes down to my dislike of fiddling about with silly little details to get a good mark, only to take it down and most of it never to be seen again.  Part of my experimentation requires different sizes, but non-uniform displays look shoddy. Next week we will lose one day because we will be displaying our work in the corridor, bringing in all our research (carefully categorised and beautifully organised), sketchbooks, concept boards, and arranging them on the wall, and privileging the best pieces.  Then we lose another day, being assessed and listening to each other's feedback.

The way things are going, I'm going to end up with lots of designs (spot, stripe, border) to display, rather than samples.  Oh dear!

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