Monday, 26 March 2012

Indecent Exposure

For my test exposure, I used an old piece of work with heavy line work. In photoshop, I added time markers, which will make sense when you see them in action.

Ideally I would have my image printed on acetate, but this can run quite expensive. A cost-effective way of doing it, and the method I have always used, is to print the artwork onto basic printer paper and oil it up to make the white transparent. I have used baby oil (because it smells nice!), but cooking oil works just as well. When the paper is fully coated, blot away all the excess oil using some scrap paper. Newspaper is fine, but be careful that the ink doesn't transfer.

Now, for exposing the image, my equipment was layered as follows:
1. A black foam base
2. My coated screen
3. My artwork, right-side-down
4. A sheet of glass

The black base is to stop the light from scattering, and the glass is to keep the artwork still, and close to the mesh. The board you can see in the image is what I used to cover each section of the artwork at 10 minute intervals, to gauge what exposure time is best. After 40 minutes, the screen was thoroughly rinsed down with a hose, to reveal the burnt-on artwork.

Turns out, for a 400watt security light, 10 minutes is quite enough!

Coating Your Screen

It took a while, but finally I am ready to start running some tests with the old screen printing set-up! I'll try not to drag this post out too much, but essentially it is about how to coat your screen with photo emulsion, ready for burning your images onto it.

Pictured above is a basic spray bottle that I picked up from a DIY store, and a bottle of degreaser. I diluted the degreaser 10 parts water to 1 part degreaser, as suggested on the bottle. I gave my screen a good dousing in the garden using the spray bottle and working the solution in with a brand new dustpan brush. Then I rinsed it well with a hose and left it to dry. (In the end I got the hairdryer out to finish it off. It's at times like this I appreciate the benefits of the drying cabinet at Uni!)

The point of degreaser is simply to make sure that you get rid of any dirt or oil that may be on your mesh, so no impurities will interfere with the photo emulsion and cause it to separate when applied.

Whilst my screen was drying, I activated my photo emulsion. It's really simple to do. You just shake up the little bottle of sensitizer with some water and mix it thoroughly into the emulsion, which changed from blue to green.

It is important that once you have activated the emulsion, you keep it out of the light as best you can. That isn't to say you need to use it in a darkroom, just ensure you replace the lid after use and ideally close blinds/turn off any lights when you are using it.

To coat your screen, you are going to need a coating trough slightly smaller than the width of your mesh. You can tape up the edges afterwards.

Fill the coating trough with emulsion. Don't be too stingy, as you can scrape what isn't used back into the emulsion pot afterwards.

Then, leaning your screen securely against a wall and starting from the bottom, put your trough to the mesh and tip it just enough for the emulsion to start spilling over the edge. In one smooth motion, drag the trough to the top of the screen, coating the mesh. It will take practice to get this right, but you can scrape away any drips with some scrap card.

If you layer the emulsion on too thickly, I can promise you it will be useless and you'll have to start all over again. If you think you've put a bit too much on, simply go up the screen again with the trough, skimming off and catching any excess.

Put your screen in a dark place to dry and scrape the leftover emulsion back into its pot. You've just successfully prepared your screen for exposing.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Something a little different

I have been working on this canvas for an age, now. Well, there has been more procrastinating going on rather than actual work, but it's finally finished.

It was commissioned by my stepsister: she wanted an original portrait of her three children, and this is what I came up with. I don't really do this kind of work usually, and I haven't done any portraiture since college (4/5 years ago), so it was a bit of a test. I guess it was successful, because I have had 2 requests for similar work from family and friends since I posted a picture on the internet an hour ago!

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Finger

A little piece for Amelia's Magazine. Click here to read Amelia's interview with the lead singer of greek indie rock band, The Finger.


My Tono Bungay print is featured in this show throughout March, alongside some eclectic work by a variety of practitioners. The private view was last night, there was a nice little turn-out. Everybody's work is very different, but somehow it just works. My favourite pieces were Jack Foster's prints and the weird and wonderful sculpture work of Dan Earey.

Well worth a gander if you have some free time and are in the Midlands area.