Friday, 30 October 2009

Second S&R Workshop.

So basically, over the last week I've been thinking about how thrown I was by the text my group was given to read. The Death Of The Author, by Roland Barthes. It was so hard to read because of the language, I think we looked every other word up! But therefore learnt a lot. The idea of the reading in groups was to read a sentence then discuss it, therefore understanding and sharing ideas/opinions about what the text was trying to say and explain. We got there in the end!

The text seemed to talk about, when an author writes, do they portray themselves? This linked to designers as well. 
Do they create work for themselves or is it all for society?
A quote at the beginning makes you think whether it's the author talking of his own opinions or whether he's describing society? The paragraph describes writing as something you get lost in. As soon as you apply something as a story - it's possible the situation can loose the reality and when someone tells a story, you judge them on how they tell the story - not what they're actually saying. In the text we questioned who the authors voice is? What role does the persons name have? 

If we look back in time, we used to not know who wrote what? ... 
On the second page it talks about writer expressing their own views/opinions in their writing - and how their writing is effected by their own lives, tastes and passions.
A word we picked out and became an integral part of what it was about was 'ethnographics', this being ...'the study of individual human societies'.

But before the workshop, I has read the Rick Poyner - First Things First texts which did interlink with our text and also others that groups had read. This text describes design as too commercial, seems to say that there's too much effort on triviality. A key quote: 'Design was in danger of forgetting It's responsibility to struggle for a better life for all'.

From reading the Foucault text, I found that it talks of the modernist movement giving privileges to the 'author' - and this requires a quest for originality. Examples would be Van Gogh/Pollock ( It's art because he made it). All about the 'name'. This seems to tie in well with 'The Death Of The Author' - Roland Barthes. The ' name' situation happens in literature too, an example of this is the hype around Dan Brown.
Banksy also becomes 'semi-legal and privileged. Writing and authoring are two very different things. The text seems to relate graphic designers as 'authors'. Warhol is another example of the 'name' - all his stuff was factory produced!
But are ancient texts without 'authors' more authentic? ...The bible?

The 'Designer As The Author', seems to portray known scientist V unknown scientist. Is it all about the clients message? Does the text project ideas about modernism? Should we be bothered who's designed something?

The text by Papanell - 'Social Change', suggests that designers could make a difference but don't choose to. Its seems to have a totally different attitude to the other texts. Also saying that only a fleet few actually get to become designers? ... Market competition does not allow for ethical design.

All these texts question the 'Send and Receive' brief. 
How do you design FOR people and not at them?
You are alienated by the things which are targeted at you - (Myths of Design).

Christian spoke of 'the triangle' - 
Practitioner  WORLD
(YOU) (Your Group/Organisation)

Critical Discourses
'I just need to think about how to join the dots'.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Paper Stock. & Inks.

As my designs begin to come together, and with 4 weeks left I'm beginning to think more about paper stock and what is most suitable for what i'm doing. Papers, giving a different quality of line and different print?

This is a book I got from the Library on Inks in printing.

Artists in the main tend to have favourite colours or types of ink across a range of brands, but they do not favour particular brands of ink. Yet in the choices of ink they make, they influence the image that is to be printed.
The Relation of Process to Concept is IMPORTANT.
Although printmaking no longer bears any relation to the high-tech, large-scale commercial printing process, at some point they still link.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF INKS...There are several significant events within the history of ink beyond the development of printing, the birth of which is now accepted to have taken place in China and Korea during the second century AD.

THE EARLY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PAPER AND INK...Paper from this ear also plays a significant role in the development of oil-based ink. Unlike the thin delicate paper from the Far East, which could be rubbed onto the printing block without tearing, European writing paper was much thicker and rougher, with a heavy-size coating.

WOODCUT DEVELOPMENT AND IT'S DEMAND FOR INK CHARACTERISTICS...The earliest wood blocks in the west were used for textile printing. It is thought that textile printing may have originated in India around 3000BC, although no textiles or blocks have survived. The earliest woodcuts on paper in the west date from between about 1402 and about 1425. These early prints are characterised by boldly designed single figures against a black background. Most of these wood-cuts were intended to be hand-coloured.

THE INTAGLIO PROCESSES, ENGRAVING, ETCHING, MEZZOTINT AND AQUATINT...The First Metal Prints (crible, or dotted, print) date from the second half of the 15th century. The design was created by tiny dots punched into the metal and intermingled with short cuts. Surface printed, the whites are the positive part of the design, which is dominated by the dark background. The inks for intaglio printing, like the inks used during the early development of all other printing processes, were always very simple. In 1645 Abraham Rose published the first-known example of an etching-ink recipe, which listed boiled nut oil and Frankfurt Black (also known as vine black, which is made by burning dried wine lees). Since then etching and intaglio inks haven't changed much.

LITHOGRAPHIC DEVLOPMENTS AND CHANGES IN INK...With this new technique, came the addition of further ink ingredients. At first the inks changed very little. Senefelder's recipe of 1818 contains just linseed oil and lampblack. Until the mid-20th century lithography remained the prime means of colour printing, together with letterpress as the dominant creative and technological force. In the late 1960's, with the introduction of high-quality photo-plates and copper-plates for long runs, lithography began to be the main printing process.

SCREENPRINTING... Screenprinting as we know the process is relatively new, invented at some point during the first decade of the 20th century. In the early days of screenprint, commercial pant was used to print with. By the 1930s, seeking to improve print quality and speed, commercial screenprint inks were being developed. They were initially based on the paint previously used. So screenprint ink developed from a paint into an ink. This created a new principle for printing, based on strong pigment mixed from an opaque base or vehicle. This is unlike Lithographic ink, which was mixed in a transparent vehicle.
In the early 1980's, greater awareness of health and safety, linked to enviromental issues, became prevalent between printmakers. this led to an reappraisal of the heavy solvent used in the manufacture of screenprinting ink, and many artists turned over to water-based acrylic ink for screenprinting.

INK JET AND DIGITAL PRINTING...Digital technology currently dominates not only the commercial print world, but also made major inroads by influencing printmakers who use new technology. The commercial and technical achievements of ink-jet printing have influenced a few, and some famous artists such as Richard Hamilton and Wolfgang Tillmans in the UK, have embraced the technology. A few different printers include:
- Continuous Ink-Jet
- Drop-On-Demand Ink-Jet
- Thermal Ink-jet
- Piezoelectric

The book also had suggested useful websites which I took a look at. Some were no good, but a couple that were good included...

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Oh my...

I'm just on my way to bed... but just came across this... by far one of the most amazing things i have seen in A LONG WHILE....

Clare Coles and Kim Robertson.

I've been looking through books, and one artist who specialises in wallpaper that I have always liked appeared.
Clare Coles is a fine artist as well as a designer. With a background in ceramics, she gradually moved into product design based on the renovation and interpretation of old, unwanted items. Her wallpaper merges collage and embroidery, sourcing vintage papers from markets and junk shops, she bypasses the printing process, instead ripping them, stitching wallpapers together, embellishing them with little drawings and gems. This is something that I really like about her.
This is a scan from the book I've been reading 'The Cutting Edge Of Wallpaper'...
The article talks about her as a designer but also mentions that she works closely with an artist called Kim Robertson. Two years ago I was actually lucky enough to do a weeks work experience with Kim Robertson and even had a go at printing and cutting out the butterflies for the 'Butterflies' piece that her and Clare collaborated in.
Kim showed me Clare's work first hand in her Clare's studio. This was really my first look at wallpaper, the vintage papers that Clare works with are gorgeous and I hope to find some myself. The idea of stitch is something that I want to try and get out of my own wallpaper design, it gives the wallpaper a unique effect and feel. Stitch is very personal I feel, as the same stitch can never really be done twice.. this is something I would like to explore if I have the time.
The image of the butterflies on the right is actually something I helped Kim screen-print.
Here are some photos of my time with Kim IN OCTOBER 2007...

General workspace...In the centre of london, Kim's workspace was pretty amazing. Very big and open perfect for screenprinting, there was a space for washing screens, preparing, printing, work, stuff ready for sale and orders. Whilst i was there I had to deliver a few orders.

These are butterflies that I helped screen print and then cut out for her collaborative piece with Clare Coles.

These are a couple of wallpaper pieces Kim had done, some of which were with Clare Coles...

As well as screenprinting papers, she also did lots of textile based printing, onto clothes (ties), bags and materials for covering books.

This work-experience was good in helping me to understanding doing print in the freelance world. Helping to print and cut cards was hard work. Sounds easy but they all have to be cut the same and separately! This was a pain, if a card was cut too short and obviously then I'd either wasted card and a print, or it would have a sticker put on it and go in the 'duds' box to be sold at fairs for a lower price.

Another thing this work-experience was useful for, was being sent by Kim to retrieve materials and things she needed for print, giving myself a good look at what type of things i would need to keep in stock all the time as a print designer. She sent me to ALMA, a shop down a little alley which sold all sorts of materials and papers. EVERYWHERE... it was astounding... Kim sent me there with a list and a black cheque. I got bought materials for covering books and flocking. I think for a couple of metres of 3 things it came to around 300 pounds!

Although this was a couple of years ago, recapping the events and the week I spent there has reminded me of all the things I learnt and lots about print and being a freelance designer within this area. From the practical needs of materials and actual printing and flocking to the idea of showcasing your work and getting into shows, aswell as collaboration.

Reading. Why wallpaper has come back?

From reading the books I got out a couple of weeks ago, I've learnt a lot about the history of wallpaper, pattern and also artists I like.

The earliest history of wallpapers in England, were individual sheets, decorated with geometrical woodcut patterns and printed in black ink on pale paper by a hand-operated press in the same way as the leaves of a book; sometimes they were hand coloured.
Fragments of some of these earlt sheets have survived: they can be dated back as far as the late sixteenth century to the mercantile boom and busy urban growth that characterised the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
As printing and publishing grew, so did wallpaper: the sale of wallpaper was then associated with the stationery business. Papers might be used for lining boxes as well as for decorating the walls of a room.
Towards the end of the Seventeenth century London had become a centre for wallpapers, sold at a wide range of prices to reflect the trouble taken in their manufacture and the extent to which they reflected popular fashion.

In most recent years, designers have entered a new phase of creativity, experimenting with many different styles, applications and materials. This is what I am trying to explore throughout this brief.

In order to find out why wallpaper has come back, we have to look at wider cultures of consumption and how they have affected it's revival. An availability of new styles did not cause an upturn of interest in wallpaper in the mid-1990's it was still languishing in a back cupboard. The consequent interest in 'Do It Yourself' home decoration sped up the cycle of decoration of homes. At one time wall might have been papered and left for decades, but alongside these social developments constant redecoration became the norm. The decoration frenzy was fuelled by a rise in the number of television programmes and magazines about interior design.

Some artists I have found in books are Louise Body, who looks alot at birds and birdcages. She uses a process of handprinting and hand-finishing, rooted in wallpaper tradition Body has updated the classic floral pattern...
Also Johanna Basford, her work is inspired by the wildlife and nature that surrounds her. She does delicate hand drawings of imagined botanicals, butterflies and beatles, re-inventing traditional victorian motifs...

Friday, 23 October 2009

The North...No reply as of yet.

... the lady Patricia, that we emailed got back in touch and suggested we give her some dates we would be available to go in and have a chat to see what we were really interested in doing and how we want to get involved with The North.
We hoped to meet her next week, and hopefully everything will become much clearer and we can sort how how we want to be involved and her own opinions on it.
However she is not getting back to us and it's been a couple of weeks. We are planning on calling this next weekend coming up...
But are currently writing down questions and information regarding the 'send and receive' brief and working out how we actually want to be involved - how we'd get most out of it taking the brief into account and what our aims for this project are.

Screen Printing. Colour Seperation.



The finished image looks like this...

It was interesting to play around with different combinations, and was amazing to see how different just one of these colours can make an image look. Especially the Yellow to Magenta! The image seems to suddenly appear...

As I was printing and because of the nature of the image, I played a little with the positioning of each colour seperation. It gives the image a more 3d and stylistic feel...It's amazing how, by just moving the next print the tiniest, tiniest bit it changes the image completely!

I also tried printing the black onto my own made paper and it came out really really nice!

Although screenprinting an image can feel as though you don't have much control over how it looks, through doing it, I've found that you really can. Through moving the position of print on top you can adjust how the original image would look. Also the pressure you put on the squeegee makes all the difference... and where you put most pressure, then tells where the ink comes out thickest and where. Going over the print more times than one can make a layer of the photo look thicker and a fuller colour.



Where I'm at...

As it's now reading week, i have 4 weeks when I go back to college to finalize designs and decisions on techniques, papers and inks.
I've been thinking about how I need to organise my time with everything i still have left to do and what I want to have by the end of this project.
I've decided as my final piece, I want to have about 4 wallpapers, representative of my work throughout this project and progression of techniques. Also, some designs printed on fabric, possibly turned into objects? Cushion, bag? (Still pondering this idea with an idealistic time frame).
Need to...
  • I hope to have done all my experimentation by the end of the first week of November, till then and through this time I hope to have most of my design ideas and what i want to produce.
  • Working to this deadline is pretty crucial, considering we have a new briefing on the 18th of November for a new project.
  • I hope to gather all my experimental materials throughout this week (reading week) and prepare myself for the first week in college planning what I'm doing everyday.
  • Need to look into paper more and different inks.
  • Fabrics and vintage wallpapers.
  • Look into preparing to get some of my final designs printed digitally. (Booking time in the digital print rooms - FINDING some bloody money to pay for it!)
  • Develop more understanding of print history.
  • Look into stitch.

Prep for Lino.

Linocut is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for the relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel or gouge, with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed. The cut areas can then be pulled from the backing. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller (called a brayer), and then impressed onto paper or fabric. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a press. - Wikipedia.

I've done a few drawings/design ideas from textiles that I've seen and some bought. I hope to print one as a lino print. It will be hard to cut as It's quite intricate and the lines aren't very thick. It will be a good test of using lino for what my project is actually about, and whether it's suitable for wallpaper design. It may also show me whether woodcut would be better.
From Nick's talk and showing his work, it seems you can get a very straight edge and control the thickness of line very well with woodcut, where as I am unsure with lino? For this reason I may not do wood-cut as I've seen what can be achieved from using it.

This is the drawing that I've taken a bit from to apply to lino...

This is the composition I chose...

Stupidly I thought that if I traced my image with biro then tried to scribble it onto the lino it would transfer! But if I'd had taken the time to actually think about it, i would have already known that it was a no no. Anyway, spoken to Neil and he suggested just using transfer paper that they have, but the image you put onto the transfer paper, must be a photocopied version as the transfer paper picks up the photocopy toner better than a printer. 

HOWEVER...tried it and it didn't work. To transfer the image to the lino, I sprayed a very strong smelling spray to the image in the fume cupboard, then to put it through the rollers to imprint the image onto the lino. I had to try i three times!... even with lots and lots of packing it wouldn't work, Neil helped me try different ways, but it didnt come out properly so i had to try and make out the image drawing it over the top. (Just drew it free hand really).

Also i was thinking as I was drawing over the top of the faint lines I had, that I would select a bit of the image to repeat as a pattern. So i chose the main bit of the rose, which i shall repeat print... then to put into photoshop and put a wallpaper together... then to possibly screen print?
I dont think that lino printing a wallpaper would be a very neat way of doing it, although this is how they did it years ago.

If you look closely, near the middle of this photo, you can see the faint outline which was not very apparent.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Photo Etching 2.

I went back to Vernon street today to actually etch my image onto my plate where as last week I only, put the photo onto the copper plate and did tonal prints.
Since i had already applied my photo to the plate I didn't have to go through the first bit of the process again.
I started by taping the back up with parcel tape and then submerged it in an acid bath, this is left for 30 mins then to be taken out and rinsed with water, then to go into a stripping solution for a further 10 minutes. After taking it out and washing it well, you can then print with your etching plate.
The prints i got from it weren't very detailed but i really like the antique quality etching gives the photo. Also the more you print with one load of ink on the plate the less and less it comes out on the paper which gave a nice old feel. I couldn't use this for wallpaper as it is far to sensitive to how much ink you put on it and the ink it takes off after using one print. It could look good for card design but not for a repeat pattern perhaps and a repeat pattern is what i want to achieve in my wallpaper.

Here are some images showing my final prints... and also my plate after the acid and stripping solution...

Woodblock Printing.

Today I had a go at Woodblock printing, a relatively quick process, which I did with type.
It consists of picking a type, getting together all the letters and forming the word/s so its a tight rectangle (inserting plain woodblocks in the gaps to pack it out). Then to tape it all up, which is really fiddly! I found that the best way, was to turn it face-down and tape the bottom up then to tape the sides together and make it nice and tight for print.

Then to ink the letters up with an ink and roller, and then put it in the press, which levers down to just press the paper into contact with the print. It kind of feels as though you don't have much control on the pressure you can put it under to get a crisper print, but not re-inking it gives a 'bitty' effect. I tried this and did it on one sheet to show below... also doing it onto tracing paper gives it a pleasing look.

The image below shows how the ink lessens as it's pressed more and more. I didn't re-ink the blocks .
It has a nice tone, on chip paper.

The Chinese Woodblock.
An early pre-stage of printmaking in China was the use of wooden stamps for reproducingDaoist and Buddhist images. This was done already before the invention of paper in 105 A D. Printmaking then started during the Tang Period (618-907). Similar like by the technique of stone rubbing, which emerged around the 7th century, prints were done by rubbing a paper over an inked woodblock with the help of a brush. Examples of that can be dated already to the second half of the 6th century.
In the 9th century, printmaking was used for various reasons like printing religious texts or illustrated calendars. A huge private printing industry developed.

The Japenese Woodblock.
Woodblock printmaking came to Japan from China probably around the 8th century. At that time the two countries were connected by an intesive cultural exchange. Probably under Chinese consulting, in 770 the print of some of the first known text prints was finished.


Although I have only done it with type stamps today, I plan to do some proper woodcut next week. It's something that i've never really considered to make any image i have drawn. During a tutorial Nick showed us some of his work and spoke about transferring images to the wood to then cut away at it...
I thought that woodcut was just really lino-print but with wood and not lino. However through what Nick showed us, it seems that you have more control over cutting into wood than you do into lino. You can achieve straighter and more crisp lines.