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Life in the studio - Huddersfield University

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

In September 2019 the university opened up it's new Art, Design & Architecture building - The Barbara Hepworth building, affectionately named Babs by most!

Inside the building is a huge bright atrium and specialist studios and workshops. I was really keen to get back into the print studio and excited to get back into the swing of things ready for my final major project that launches in March.

In the previous module I was begining to collate colours from imagery that I had collected and also from results of natural dyes - above you can see the colour range, the top row of colours were taken from the natural dying process results and the bottom row from my imagery. Since a lot of the colours came from photos of areas within the Peak District I decided to relate this through the names of each colour. These colours were the starting point for my time in the studio.

In the print room you'll find the colour match computer , which helps provide us with the recipe for certain colours that we might be trying to achieve. The cards on the left are what I had printed as my own personal colour reference cards but they can also be used by the colour match machine to help me mix my own dyes and pastes. Wanting to work with natural materials I had the computer provide me with recipes for reactive dyes which I could use for mixing as a solution (water based) or pastes (reactive stock paste).

The centre photo shows some colour combinations I was looking at trying and also some line drawing for a new range I'm developing. The print room has plenty of screens and facilities where screens can be exposed, stripped & cleaned. The screens can be seen in the photo on the right , they're being painted with the reactive dye solution on the top of the screen in preparation for some mono printing. The colours used are the results of the recipes from the colour match computer.

Whilst working in the studio I decided to film some time lapses of myself working on the developing range sampling.

The above video is me getting ready and prepping my workspace, I've mixed some reactive dyes and also using some bulk dyes I've previously mixed. Here we can see I'm painting onto the front of the screens - this is mono printing, this is a method that creates a single unique print. The process here is reactive mono printing which can be done with a blank screen so that you can paint your own designs and art work for printing however I'm using this method with exposed screens that have my designs already on them so this is what will print however using this method I can build up layers of colour or mix colours on the screen to be printed. The screens need to be dry before I can flip them over and print with them which we can see in the next video.

So here is where I'm pulling a clear paste (Manutex - a seaweed based thickener) through the screen using the squeegee and this will transfer the colours through the design on the screen onto the substrate (in this case paper). I can be seen re printing the same screen here a couple times which can be done but eventually there will be no transfer as the colour intensity will decrease with each print. Once I've printed these I head over to the washout to clean the screen and pop it in the dryer and swap it for the next screen that's dry and ready to be painted again! And it also looks like I've prepped up some reactive pastes too - so rather than a solution (with water) I'm using the Manutex instead so I can use them as a paste which can be seen in the next video.

So I've just finished off some more mono printing layers here and I've started to set up for some more printing on the right hand side of the table and this is where you can see me using the paste mixtures to screen print with. Using the paste means I can pull multiple prints and they should all come out pretty much the same as opposed to the mono printing method.

The above image shows a few of the days results as well as some of the colour work and digital prints I've been working on. This was quite a quiet day so I was lucky to be able to get all this space to myself which is really good for getting into a productive workflow.

And finally a few more images of some of the work produced in the studio!

So there we go that's an insight into what I'm getting up to when I say I'm in the University Print workshop!

If you have enjoyed this blog and would like to see more about how I spend my days or go about my practice let me know or even if you have any questions about anything you've seen here I am happy to chat! Thanks for reading!

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