Printing on textiles is something which I have always been interesting in; I have always got an eye open for the latest fashion prints and trends. It seemed that it was a natural path for me to follow with my photograms as I have a new found curiosity in creating three dimensional works. This also branches from a need to create something which is more than just a fine art visual, I want to create work which is functional and could fit into the commercial environment. My plan was to start looking at repeat pattern making through silk screen printing, however this fell flat as the end of last term was devoted to the collaboration project. As the end of term came too quickly and I now have no access to the technicians help and the facilities themselves, so this will be carried out as soon as possible in the next term. However I didn’t want this craving to produce textile goods to fade! So I simply used boots photo printing to create some cushions which could sit on my new bed covers-plus there was an offer on! I stupidly didn’t think too much about the fact that some of the image will be lost at the edge as the fabric curves, however I now know that there needs to be negative space surrounding the main focal point. The first image that I sent through seemed to be black and white on my screen but was obviously not pure greyscale in the pixels meaning that the image was printed in a sepia tone. I complained a little to Boots as I had nothing to loose as the cushion was still a really good experiment, but I got another product credited to my account. This meant that I was lucky and got another chance to print a different image, ensuring that there were no underlying colours hidden and so the cushion would be full black and white. I was initially worried about the images being blown to such a scale, even though I had saved to the highest quality I didn’t want my prints to be of a low quality on the cushion. The lines are not entirely sharp and seem to be slightly blurred however this was actually a bonus as the fabric has suede finish as complements a softer focus. All in all a very useful experiment and lots of mistakes to be learnt from, also a perfect edition to my room!
I realise that there has been a slight gap in my blogs for this QBE project, however the last few weeks has been so busy and stressful trying to find manfuctuers who would be willing to help on such short notice. There was such a lack of time between the final commission and the deadline that large deliveries had to be turned around in less than two weeks- not leaving much time for me to update you on our process!
We found Talbot Design who are specialists in the acrylic industry working with clients such as M&S and the new Star Wars film. These were the most reasonable quotes that I was given and they also gave us the chance to visit their showroom where we could talk through our ideas. Charles at Talbot was particularly helpful in understanding our sizing issues and looking for ways to work around the budget restrictions that we had. We eventually decided on a 800mm sphere consisting of two hemispheres joined together with a flange, there was also an acrylic platform so as the design can sit slightly above ground level.
Another aspect which we had to source was the air plants and 38 smaller spheres. After my trip to a local garden centre we found the company Love Tillys who are the leading distributor of air plants in the country. They were based in Letchworth and offered us a 10% discount if we were willing to go and visit their garden centre to pick up the plants our self. Although this took more time than buying the plants online we were given the opportunity to pick out the exact air plants that we wanted, but we also got the smaller spheres at a discounted price. The Nursery also allowed us to gain more insight as how to care for the plants, an expert knowledge which we can then pass straight onto QBE.
We were quite fortunate that our design , after ordering the individual elements, didn’t actually need much doing in terms of post production. The only aspect that we needed to do ourselves was to drill 76 holes in the top of the large sphere to allow for invisible string to be fed through. This would then hold all the smaller spheres inside of the larger structure, giving a floating illusion. We encountered a few naive mistakes along the way, one being that we assumed that the larges acrylic hemispheres would be joined when delivered to us. This was not the case and so we had to improvise with book bolts which actually held the two halves together effectively and also sat flat on the material. The drilling was relatively easy due to the fact that had a wooden and foam block with two holes already drilled to act as a guide, stopping the drill slipping on the curved surface. The smaller spheres proved quite fiddly to handle within the structure, therefore we only hung ten to give a sample of the final design. We intend to visit QBE to help with the final installations and to hang all the individual elements in the way which we envision.