3D Printed Things at DCA

At the beginning of the year, the DCA Print Studio got a little 3D printer, and I have been experimenting with my own print plates and experiments. At first, we all learned how to print our own 3D selfies! Here I am:

Haha. The 3D scanner really picks up a lot of detail in the short amount of time it takes to compile the image. It then took just under 2 hours to print.  Shortly after that, I had a go making and 3D printing little intaglio/relief printmaking plates. It went pretty well, but I haven't fully explored the technique yet. Here are a few pictures! They are all small test plates printed through an etching press on somerset satin paper.

Still want to develop that further when I have the time! While I was playing with 3D possibilities, I really liked the mesh that made up one of the failed 3D scans of my own self. I got to making a screen and digital print from it. I don't have a great picture of the final thing yet, but here's the mock up. It's actually the back of my head looking inside, with various holes and deformations that the scanner made on its own. I flipped it so it almost resembles a mountainscape.

I also started to think about ways in which I could use this technology in my own practice. I have been looking at the huge amount of open source 3D models available for free online. I downloaded several and sliced their arms/hands off in 3dsMax, then printed them at this miniature scale, suspending them from silk thread.

You can download and print just about any object you desire. What future world could we create with this over-abundance of information? How many hands are 'connected' to the internet right now, typing and swiping away? Could I be printing a 3D scan of your hand as you read this blog post?

Happy February! Updates and 2015

Apologies for the absence - Christmas and new year was hectic. My Etsy store really took off around November. That, alongside lots of overtime at my day jobs, meant less time for blogging. I have been working on many new things, however!

Quick updates:

I got a new computer! It is so lovely and glossy and blue. It also runs Photoshop, Illustrator and even 3D Design Programmes with ease, and I am very happy with it. This will go a long way to help me design, research and experiment for new work.

At work, we got a 3D Printer, so I have been researching printmaking with 3D Printed plates, and also with simply working in 3DSMax to create some weird stuff. Dedicated blog post to follow!

I learned, with Paul, how to make a silver ring! We went along to the last Vanilla Ink class and made each other some really lovely rings with the help of the lovely Kate. Sad to see them go, as their studio at WASPS closed last week.

I learned Taku-hon (Japanese Stone Rubbing), perhaps the first printmaking technique to be invented in the world. The pieces created can be beautifully textured, tactile, and either dark and bold or feathery light and subtle. Will also follow up with a blog post.

I am learning bookbinding. I have fallen in love with the look and feel of coptic bound books, and plan to create a range for my online store once I can do them well.

Another Zine to come soon! Everything I Know About Dreams... Goal is to finish it for the next ZineSwap later this month.

My 2015 vague goals? I have lots of ideas for new pieces, including collage, geo prints, and sculptural work, as well as some nice etching and screen prints. I want to make scale a consideration this year: tiny little plates as well as bigger, one off pieces. I'd like to, mid year, have a portfolio to include my own examples all the techniques that I know and use at work. I also want to experiment and work with GOLD!

Development with Watercolour Monoprinting

New ideas, thoughts, work... it takes time, for me at least. Can't be forced... although targets are always good! I have been working with some of my friends towards a collaborative project- it is still in the tentative beginning stages, but just meeting up regularly and talking about our practice has been really beneficial. Of course, working in the print studio is also a great motivator! I was introduced to Watercolour Monoprintingrecently, which will be available soon as a wee course at DCA, if you want to learn how. It is so easy: essentially just painting with watercolour on a perspex plate, allowing to dry, then printing normally through a press with damp paper, reactivating the watercolour paint. You can take many prints from the same plate, too, which is different from regular monoprinting. They do get gradually softer, but it is a lovely effect to play with. It's quite suited to my painting style, too.

Okay, here are some things I have been doing with watercolour monoprinting! Magical Spheres and Fictional Landscapes...

Watercolour Monoprint #1
Watercolour Monoprint #1
Watercolour Monoprint #2
Watercolour Monoprint #2
Watercolour Monoprint with Screen Print
Watercolour Monoprint with Screen Print

Large Scale lino cuts for The Big Print, at Print Festival Scotland

At the same time as IMPACT 8, The very first Print Festival Scotland took off, with loads of events including studio open days, print and education exhibitions, and special film screenings at DCA. The Big Print has been in the works for the last 6 months, led by the Creative Learning Team at The McManus. The artworks are collages of many pieces by children, young people and adult learners inspired by the McManus collections and Dundee history, architecture, science, and culture.

There were then many sessions of lino cutting to transfer the initial drawings into the giant lino blocks. This was done by many artists, students and volunteers, and I managed to help a little. Here is a cutting process picture I took on an extremely rainy day in the creative learning centre at The McManus...

So when the day of printing rolled by, the momentum was really something- a great atmosphere of excitement and fun. The 'giant printmaking' was achieved using a road roller! Here are some photographs of last Saturday...

Well done to everyone involved, there was a lot of hard work involved but it turned out fantastic in the end!

Working on Editions for Thomson and Craighead

One of the new pieces of equipment the DCA print studio acquired recently is the CNC router. I would absolutely love to create a woodcut piece with it... going to have to think about that one a bit, though. You can cut some really precise, large scale stuff with it, and it has interchangeable cutting tools for both fine and rougher work. Artist duo Thomson and Craighead are getting their work for Never Odd or Even, their first survey exhibition in the UK at the Carroll/Fletcher Gallery in London. The woodblock pieces I have printed are part of the London Wall project, where local tweets are chosen and made into artwork. They have already been selling very well, I hear, which is fantastic news. Here are some pictures on the process...

cnc router for Thompson and Craighead


I alsolutely love to use that style of press- it's so old and still works perfectly. Here is the only 'finished' shot I could find:

The other one that I printed was black and said 'Don't blow my high'. You can see the block being prepared in one of the previous pictures. This project was really fun and rewarding to complete, and I really enjoyed it. More on relief printing soon! :)


Edit: I just realized that the pieces I printed are available to buy at the Carroll/Fletcher online shop, too.

Working on Editions for The Yes Men

The DCA Print Studio are producing editions of work for The Yes Men, a duo of artists whose work is very political in content, focusing on social issues- 'telling the truth and exposing lies'. They have quite a wide practice, but some of their work involves film making and large- scale hoaxes. They say that the hoaxes (such as posing as powerful executives, being invited to speak at conferences, then talking about weird stuff) are a collaboration with the media, helping journalists to tell the stories that they care about. So excited to be involved in their work, to however small an extent. These pieces are all CMYK screen prints, and there are quite a lot! I have worked on a few so far, to varying degrees.




The solid red background in the second one was tricky to get perfect, and helped give me great triceps! :P I am planning a 'how to...' series of blog posts, and I am going to start with screen printing, so I can both practice explaining it and introduce non- screen printers to the process at the same time! :) At some point I will also upload some of my new screenprinted work. Until then!

Johanna Basford and her new DCA show Wonderlands

One of the most exciting things I have had the opportunity to be part of with the DCA is the big new show by Johanna Basford! I have assisted with a lot of the preparation work in the studio. A couple of weeks ago I helped screenprint these bad boys:


It took five of us to get these done, using the biggest press and very thick, cloggy ink so that it would be fully opaque. This meant, however, that we had to work VERY fast in between prints to take the fresh one away (carefully) and get the new one aligned properly before the thick ink dried into the screen. When that happens... you have to wash it all off, dry, and start again. Which we did have to do a few times. Screen printing can be frustrating.

However, this particular work was really satisfying! The artwork is fantastic too, so that helps with the warm fuzzy feelings. This one is called Macbeth. The subject matter, general symetry and imagery are all stuff I strive for in my own work. Black and white hand drawn patterns- loving it. :)


The show is going to be really immersive and have so much to sit and look at for hours, including illustrated mannequins, trees, and a sailboat, to name a few. Wonderbeasts will also be there, her massively collaobartive kickstarter project that 150+ people helped to create.

As with all big DCA shows, there will be a host of related events, including exhibition tours, an artist talk, a doodle designing group for 11-16 year olds, and other activities for families, too. The cinema will be showing Labyrinth, Alice in Wonderland, and The Illusionist.

Can't wait to see it all come together...


Wonderlands is open in the main gallery of Dundee Contemporary Arts on Saturday the 4th of May until Subday the 7th of July 2013. Admission is free!