Thursday, 31 October 2013

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Colour test photos

1, 2, 3 & 4 colours, pre-hardening on
Hardening on in the kiln

Glazed and fired tests
Single colours L= post hardening R=glazed & fired

2, 3 & 4 colours. (yellow is lost) 3 different drying methods.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Multi colour tests

This past fortnight I’ve been working with some new inks which I’ve made from stiff linseed and coloured stains. Ultimately, we’d really like to be able to transfer multiple colours onto a ware and I’m experimenting to find the most reliable process for this. Of course, there will be many complications to consider - colour change through firing, different firing temperatures for each colour, image registration, tissue shrinkage, ink set off, drying time between colours etc. Not to mention the usual variables of ink mixing, plate making, printing and transferring! Yet I do like a challenge.
I began with 4 new inks - green, yellow, blue and black. Each were made by carefully weighing out and mixing the same ratio of each ingredient.

Using the 2 original copper plates (to limit any variables) I printed and transferred each individual colour onto a tile. I then continued to build up additional colour runs onto the tiles and used 3 different drying methods between transfers.

Once each tile had been hardened on in the kiln, I applied a glaze and put them back into the kiln for their final firing. I’m patiently waiting for the kiln to cool down enough so that I can open the door.....

Bristol Museum Visit

Earlier this week, my colleague Paul and I visited Bristol Museum where we were given access to the collection of Bristol underglaze transfer wares.

3 plates with the same pattern. There is huge variance in ink weight, colour and glaze.

Although it was interesting to look at the pieces themselves, I found the box of tissue samples to be far more intriguing. There were folders full of printed tissues depicting a huge range of subject matter, many engraved with a different style. I was pleasantly surprised to see that some of the samples had a lot of scummy, inky marks on them.

This suggests that the plate wiping wasn’t fundamental for the success of the process. From my experiments, I’ve found that a certain level of scum is acceptable as the thin layer dries so quickly that it never transfers onto the ware. This could be of significance to my Burleigh trails as the rubber which I’ve been working with has a very slight tooth to it.
Hotel back stamps on tissue

Press Refurbishment

Steve, Dave and I recently spent a day in Stoke, looking at and testing out one of Burleigh’s old printing presses. As part of the project, Burleigh are having their presses restored by a local engineering firm V J Goodall. The aim is to have all three presses back into the transfer room and in good working order, making them both easier to operate and more reliable.
Press after refurbishment @ V J Goodalls

After a meeting at Burleigh we spent the afternoon at Goodalls, running some tests on a restored press and printing from a new laser engraved roller which we’ve had made. The tests went surprisingly well, with ink printing and transferring without too much difficulty.
Burleigh currently use a steel doctor blade but we tried replacing this with a softer urethane, which should increase the life of the chrome faced copper plates or the lasered rubber.

Replacement doctor blade - urethane triple shore

This switch was beneficial yet we’ve seen room for further improvement, particularly with the doctor blade. I now have the original housing from the press and I’m sourcing a supplier for thinner urethane blades which will fit within it. The correct shore hardness and angle of the blade edge are fundamental in giving the right ink distribution and surface wipe so I anticipate a good number of tests and trials until we find the correct combination. The next scheduled visit is for the 17th of October by which point I’ll have new doctor blades and also another laser engraved rubber roller.

Test tiles printed from refurbished press, rubber sleeve & urethane blade. (fired and glazed)

Impact 8

In late August, my colleagues and I traveled to Dundee to attend the Impact 8 International Printmaking Conference. Billed as ‘A celebration of interdisciplinarity and exploration through the medium of print', the progamme of events offered an insight into fellow printmakers current practice through panel discussions, presentations and demonstrations. The evenings were taken up with exhibition openings - an ideal opportunity to network, hanging out with old friends and making some new ones along the way.I thoroughly enjoyed the final day, which started off with the Open Folio sessions. I had a table top with lots of examples of prints, plates and wares and was thrilled by the interest and enthusiasm shown by fellow delegates. I had hoped to slip away to some of the demonstrations which were running at the same time but there was a constant stream of visitors to the table, keen to learn about the project so a few hours quickly slipped by. It was reassuring that the research was so well received by my peers, particularly for me as a printmaker - lots technical ink and paper related questions so I felt quite in my element.

Saturday was rounded off with a traditional Scottish Ceilidh- a perfect opportunity to get back to my Scottish roots after 6 months in south west England. The music was fantastic and lots of folk joined in with the dancing and seemed to really enjoy themselves, although the dance floor could’ve done with being about 4 x larger - it was a bit of a rammy. Good fun though.

Laser Engraved Sleeves

Having achieved a certain level of success with the flat, laser engraved polymer plates I decided to pursue an ‘in the round’ alternative for use on Burleigh’s presses (as they don’t have the ability to print flat plates). Unfortunately, the polymer isn’t available on rollers or sleeves so it’s taken a long time to get close to the same results again. Here are a some of test sleeves in two different rubber materials.

Frustratingly, as I can only print flat plates here I have to wait until our next Burleigh visit to try them out.