Sugar lift & open bite
I attended a skills session in sugar lift and open bite etching, the sugar lift opens up lots of possibilities to work with water soluble pencils, pens etc and create a wide variety of marks on my plate, you can use honey, white or brown sugar and the sugar crystals in them all behave differently, and leave you with different marks, the open bite enables me to etch selected areas, rather then submerging the entire plate in acid, I do how ever find the open bite method challenging as a partially sighted person, you have to stay a safe distance away from your plate and keep it isolated in the booth whilst working on it, this means I’m unable to see what I’m doing, so I don’t feel this will be a process I will use often but I’m pleased I learnt the technique.
While waiting for the etching booth to be free I’ve started working on a new piece along side the etching, I’m creating a silkscreen self portrait, the portrait is A1 and is of my younger self before my health deteriorated. It was originally a mono print which was intentionally faded but I wanted to re work the image and make it more powerful.
I spent time mixing inks and choosing shades that I felt would work with this piece.
Above image inks I mixed
This new version is stripped back of any background colour or fine detail, the eyes are the most dominant and important feature.
This new version is stripped back of any background colour or fine detail, the eyes are the most dominant and important feature.I
I put an open call to other disabled individuals asking people to send me words they use to describe themselves and words they would use to describe how their condition makes them feel or how they are made to feel by others because of it. I got an overwhelming response from all ages and backgrounds, I’ve been moved by people’s honesty and the shocking way disabled people are still treated in 2020.
I’ve printed these words over the top of two different portraits, so that people can see how differently we perceive ourselves and how damaging words can be to others.
I decided to make the half tone dots really small on the self portrait because I didn’t want the half tone dots to distract from the image and it enabled me to have a higher contrast. I printed my image onto A1 acetate, then coated my screen, once dry I exposed my image for 10 light units, so that it would pick up the whole image.
Above images Silk scree self portrait with poitive and negative words from others
The tex I had on for 60 light units because I didn’t have to worry about losing the image, once I’d rinsed them out and they were dry, they were ready to print!
I originally wanted to use Thermochromic inks but the data sheets had still not come back and these inks had not been used in the university before and I had to make sure they would not cause myself and others around me health problems, so I used standard inks until further notice.
I mixed a cold blue ink up, registered my prints using acetate and flooded the silk screen and printed the image twice, I decided to do this because the image became more intense with more colour saturation.
When dry I printed the positive words in orange over the top of the face on five portraits and printed the negative words in black on the other five.
Originally I was going to print the tex first then the face but after seeing the Ed Rucsha exhibition at Tate Modern, it made me realise that the tex was the important element of my current work and needed to be in the foreground.
Above image Edward Ruscha work at Tate Modern
I feel I could go even bigger with the tex in the future and I feel I need to pay more attention to what font I’m using for each word, not just picking what I think looks aesthetically pleasing.
The portrait is in blue with orange tex and the negative words are in black on another portrait. I like how stark this image is but I feel I need to be more experimental and push the idea further.
My data sheets are here!
So I’ve decided to redo my large portrait but this time I’m using Thermochromic inks, so that people can physically engage with my work,
I also re did the tex and paid attention to the meaning of each word (frail needed a font depicting fragility etc)
Above image close up of thermochromtic print, blue ink turns green and orange ink turns yellow when touched.
I also created another portrait and printed it on acetate this one is of my father who has the same genetic condition as me, I tried increasing the half tone, everyone else prefers the range of tones this one offers but I prefer the starkness of the other portrait. I put this on a screen and did 12 light units.
On the self portrait the face changes from blue to green and the writing goes from orange to yellow when touched. The print of my farther goes from teal to bright green and the negative words are black and disappear when touched.
Image above Prints laying out to dry, abalue turns bright green and black disapears when toched
I feel these inks although expensive, work well with my concept and there is a lot I could do with them, so I’ve ordered more, so I can experiment with layering them and using them alongside standard inks and scent inks.
I’ve already discovered the inks behave differently if the positive has had more light units, the inks are much brighter when touched and the colour change lasts longer, this also happens when you do more floods of ink
Above image is the thermochomic inks as they are changing
I found working on the portraits very powerful and I found I responded differently when reading out the positive or negative words, so I recorded both and played them back to myself this lead me to book a session with Ana Rutter the sound technician, I want to learn how to create sound installations, I found this session really helpful and I learnt that you can create sound to come from different directions.
Above image Sound workshop with Ana Rutter
Because I have positive and negative words I’m going to overlay them and see what they sound like coming from the front then see what they sound like recorded individually and one will come through the right speaker the other through the left almost like an argument across the portraits.