Week 7: Developing Negatives

Developing these negatives was a little stressful as I had several complications throughout the process. My first was realising that the room was not light tight and the sun was round our side of the building. Luckily, this did not ruin the film in any way and was one of the better rolls that came out of development. The last roll of film I developed was that of the stairs in the dark room. This came out much like the film I developed from the third photography assignment in Ottawa, where the background was so dark it came out almost clear in the negative (this indicates that no, or minimal light has hit the film which in turn will create a dark print). This showed me that I was correctly using the light meter, camera and set up in the AV room, providing further confidence for photography in the future.

Study Abroad Exhibition

The study abroad exhibition was a hit success with works being displayed by Romaisa BhattiCeldice JamesHira SyedZoë LeeChristine Glover and myself. We had a wide range of practices coming together in two locations to create a flowing exhibition, showcasing the work done while on study abroad in the previous term. I initially had concerns with my photography pieces being opposite windows due to reflection, however this was a smaller problem than first thought. I also felt that it was wise that I did not frame any of the pieces, as the uniform bulldog clips that I had practised in the exhibition preparation worked well for all of the pieces of work. Overall, I was happy to be part of the exhibition and found it a success. In the future, I aim to be more aware of the flow of people especially when there is work between two locations that are blocked by a locked door.

Leather Embroidery Workshop

On Saturday, I attended a leather embroidery workshop at the Reading Museum, which is one of a series of workshops looking at medieval techniques in celebration of the Reading Abbey which has recently opened back up.

In this workshop we learned basic leather working techniques using gloving leather, which is typically thinner, along with an iron-on backing, a gloving needle and standard embroidery thread. We mainly used a split stitch, which is similar to a back stick but coming up through the middle of the thread. We also explored using a two-thread technique that covers a lot of ground, and that you could pull the thread through or leave the second colour as decoration.

The morning was used to explore the leather as it was a new fabric and technique to work with compared to normal embroidery. The afternoon, we could take inspiration from the museum around us including the Abbey capitals and the Bayeux Embroidery, and other sources on the internet, to create our own design on a larger piece of leather.

This was a very fun and enjoyable workshop that left me wanting more. We were lucky enough to be able to take the needles home, and so I hope to continue on the little pieces we were given with my own embroidery thread that I have. I wish to include sewing in my artwork, but I feel like I would struggle with the justification in such pieces that should resemble reality.

Week 6: AV Room Photography

I went into the AV room to get some photographs of my first and second design of matchstick stairs against a black background, to determine whether this could alter the reality within the photograph. Perhaps they would look like they are floating? Using the DLSR, I found that the stairs were coming up very bright, despite playing around with the intensity of the lighting. I found that using the DLSR, I was able to practice the positions for the SLR (analogue photography). This role of film I am hoping to develop early next week, which will provide me with valuable information on which shots looked better, and to move them into different environments. Some of the images reminded me of the Like Nothing You’ve Seen Before project in Ottawa, and were perhaps images that I would play with in the future.

First matchstick staircase design:

Second matchstick staircase design:

I also took photos of my other stair designs, including that of the original matchstick staircasecardboard and matchstick, cardboard, and the paper design, providing a valuable record of them and further inspiration of different angles and perspectives of the sculptures.

I am looking forward to perhaps using some of these images after editing in my exhibition display, and using the techniques and perspectives within the AV room and applying them in different contexts and backgrounds for the stairs in later photography works to displace and alter reality within an image.

Glass Casting Workshop Part 1

Th glass casting workshop looked at the lost wax glass casting technique, using the kiln to melt the glass in a pre-formed mould. We started with moulding wax, shaping it into our desired final object. I had inspiration from bath toys, creating a platypus in a kayak. The shape we made is a positive mould, meaning the glass will be in the same shape as the wax. The displacement of the water in the jug shows how much glass we will need in a later step.

The wax then sits on top of a cone of clay, building a wall around it to hold the plaster and flint mix. The cone is used as a pouring vessel for the glass, with the sticks allowing the glass to really get into the smaller areas.

A mix of water:plaster:flint 1:1:1 was used. My walls were not strong enough and split, pouring around half of my plaster mix onto the board. I wrapped the mould in cling film, ensuring that the wall was together, and put clay at the bottom to prevent more coming out. More plaster was then poured in to complete the mould.

The clay dried quickly and I was able to take off the clay walls, and the clay cone came out smoothly, giving a nice big area for extra glass to sit in.

We used steamers to try and get the wax from inside of the moulds, however we were trying to do three at a time which was unsuccessful. Getting the wax out with the steamer one mould at a time was more successful, and was clear once washed out with hot water a couple of times. Once the wax was gone, we measured out the glass using the same water displacement system as measuring the volume of the wax. I ended up with too much glass, but tried to pour in as much smashed glass as I could as I did not mind a base to my piece. These are waiting to be sent of to the kiln, where the glass will melt and get into the details of the mould. We will get these back in a couple of weeks once they are out of the kiln and cooled.

Study Abroad Exhibition Preparation

I decided to set up my assignment pieces from my study abroad in Ottawa to determine whether I liked the idea of bulldog clips to display my work for the study abroad exhibition coming up, and subsequently for the week 8 and final exhibition. I found that it was more successful than anticipated. I was able to put foam between the clip and image to avoid damaging the print, which was successful for many of the prints.

The most unsuccessful parts of this pre-run was the lighting of the area I was in, and the ‘squeezed in’ rushed effect that was produced with the work crowded together. I would have liked to have seen how the frames worked also, however these were too large for the images themselves and the images kept slipping in them. I am going to look for another option before the exhibition and ensure that they are displayed in an area that shows them off, rather than hinders them.

Photography Developing Process in the Darkroom (UK)

Developing in Reading is a lot more of a hands-on process than it was in Ottawa, due to the fact that I am now trained in using and mixing the chemicals for film development myself. The process of readying the film is also the same, doing it in the dark to prevent light contamination and then placing it in the light-tight container for development. On the first roll of film developed, I did this in a blacked-out bag that was light-tight as we were unsure whether the room was. This was successful, and thus I tried just taking it out in the darkened room. There was no visible light contamination, so I now know for the future that I am able to do it just on the surface, rather than in the bag.

Working out the process according to the Ilford manuals, what we remembered and the instructions I had from Ottawa allowed us to produce a relatively fast developing process that is easy to follow;
Developer – ILFOSOL3
Ratio: 1:9
300ml per 35ml film
20C water temperature

Tap tank
Invert x4 during first 10 seconds
Tap tank
Repeat invert x4 each minute of development
Tap tank
Drain 10 seconds before end
Ratio: 1:19
300ml per 35mm film

30-60 seconds agitate constantly
Ratio: 1:4
300ml per 35mm film

2-5 minutes agitate constantly for 30 seconds
Tap tank
Repeat every 30 seconds
Tap tank
Fill with water
Set up with tap
Wash for 10 minutes
The film is then safe to pull out and dry

The first film I developed was an out of date Kentmere ISO100 film, which turned out to have a good contrast and high quality. This was shot with the automatic settings of the camera. I then developed an Ilford ISO400, which is one of the film that I am used to. I was surprised with the results as it was shot in manual, which showed to me that I was able to successfully use the camera that has been passed to me. I now cannot wait to shoot and develop more film, mainly looking at my stairs sculptures and setting them in different environments.

Week 6: Adding Handrails Design 2

After adding handrails to both the original matchstick staircase design and the remake of the original staircase, I decided to also add handrails to the second matchstick staircase design. As before in the first two staircases that I have added handrails too, I feel that this has added more reality to the sculpture, allowing me to fully utilise it in the way that I wish to in the photography pieces that I am aiming to do. Despite the staircase now looking more realistic, I have found that the handrails now show the angle that the stairs sit at, as while drying each compartment was not flat to each other. This is something that I will look at manipulating through the photography, whether it is more derelict, or simply not capturing the whole of the stairs.

Week 6: Adding Handrails Design 1.2

After adding handrails to the original matchstick stairs, I found that it seemed to be more realistic, which will help to create an augmented reality. I then decided to add the handrails to the second version of the first design – where the cereal box branding is not visible. Again, the overall effect here is that the staircase is more realistic, and more in line with those that I have been finding. I am intrigued with how these stairs will come out, especially with the more natural wood that will be visible in the black and white images.

Study Abroad Exhibition Poster

After coming back from Study Abroad, there was a feeling that the artwork created abroad was not going to be displayed within the University of Reading. As the student representative, I spoke to some of those who went abroad and the head of year 3 studio. It was agreed that there would be a mini study abroad exhibition to showcase the artwork, universities and countries that we went to. I designed a poster for the event using outlines and flags of the countries of those who are participating in the exhibition. This includes; Australia, America, Canada, Finland and Hong Kong.

The exhibition, Same Faces Different Placeswill be held on 25th February 2019 at 4pm in the Spur F Gallery of the University of Reading Art Department.


Study Abroad Exhibition Poster UPDATE: we realised when booking the intended gallery space that it was being used on the day we wished to use it. This means that the venue has now been moved to the TOB1 Corridor (between spur C and E) and the AV Room.