Sunday, February 17, 2013

I have been taken to task by several people for not updating my blog. They want studio pictures and more. So I have been guilted into updating this. It would just sound whiny if I tried to make excuses, so I won't.

It is very difficult to get back into the swing of things when you have been away from it for so long. I spent many days organizing my studio and putting stuff away, hoping that I can find it again when I need it. I just couldn't seem to get into an art mode, so I made some sock monkeys, some pillows, and some curtains. Then I decided to give myself a kick in the pants by doing some surface design. I have not done any deconstructed screen printing for a very long time, probably several years, so this was my choice. Dug out the notebook with class notes and thought it would be a good idea to review the DVD that Kerr Grabowski did.

I know I moved that DVD over to the studio and there aren't that many places that it could be. Still, it took several days of thinking and looking before I located it.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this DSP was to find out if my studio was warm enough for the dyes to batch without having to add extra heat. They need at least 4 hours of 70 degree heat, preferably hotter and longer.

I worked on the first pieces and let them batch sitting in front of a south facing window. The studio itself is only about 64 degrees, according to the heat pump control. But with direct sun in the window, that spot gets warmer. Batched them for at least a day, then washed them out and they came out as expected.

I had an idea - I could batch the fabrics in the powder room and put a little heater in there. That would jack the temperature up way above 70. Did that for the second set of fabrics. But they did not turn out as expected - all were a lot lighter than I thought they should be. 

There are a lot of factors that could have caused this. Maybe I didn't put enough dye into the print paste. Some of the fabrics were from the first session and I was over printing them, so I had to put the soda ash fixer into the print paste - maybe I didn't put enough in. Or maybe I was using print paste that had exhausted already. 

I did get some great markings and after putting my original expectations out of my mind, the fabrics all turned out great. Or mostly great, and certainly useable.

Here are pictures of the studio. All along the left is my design wall - 4 sheets of 4x8 insulation covered with fleece, 16 feet of design wall. 

I have 3 work tables. For the one in the front I took a large piece of cardboard that the table was delivered in, covered it with rug padding, then felt, then plastic. Makes a nice print surface.

All three tables are elevated and on wheels. This turned out to be a tricky project. I've used pvc pipe in the past to elevate tables, but the pipes sat right on the floor and splayed out. This wouldn't work for putting them on rollers. Turns out that the tables legs fit snugly into 1" diameter pvc pipe, and so they could be seated vertically in a support with casters on the bottom. Then we discovered that the tables were slightly different in where the legs attached and how wide apart they are, and one was slightly splayed. Each set of rollers had to be custom made. I named the tables Amy, Beth, and Carol and wrote that on both the tables and the rollers. 

Looking towards the sink area. I love having this right next to where I'm working. So much easier than my old studio. And much brighter.

And now to a Before and After set of pictures. The Before pictures are from a Blog Post from June 27, 2005. I had just come home from QSDS and did a major clean out and reorganization of my basement studio.  See the pictures here.

This is what it looks like now - new paint job, new carpet, furniture. All of the grandkids toys have been moved down here and also the tv. This is the new play area. Still looks a little spartan, but there is lots of space for doing acrobatics.

And have you ever seen such a clean and un-cluttered basement? All my wet studio stuff was back here, plus lots of power tools, and a fair amount of junk. A ton of stuff went to the studio, another ton of stuff went to the garage, and two tons of stuff went to the dump. With new walls, a newly painted floor (that you can actually see), and lots of light, it could be an operating room. 

Let's see how long it stays that way.