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?

Impact 8 Printmaking Conference in Dundee

So Impact 8 happened last week, and it just flew by. The conference has previously been held in Australia, South Africa, and many cities within Europe, so it is very exciting that Dundee was chosen to host this year. Dundee does have a rich, relevant print history though - with DC Thompson, the invention of the postage stamp, academia, the art school, and digital and computer games industries.

I was a volunteer, and we were all very busy assisting with various tasks and taking in the awesome printmaking/academic vibes/knowledge. Dundee University and DCA print studio had been preparing for last week for a long time, and that enthusiastic energy really showed with all of the Impact events and the first ever Print Festival Scotland, too. I mainly acted as a technical hand should anything go awry in the presentations. I helped look after 2 talks (each with 3 speakers) and a panel discussion. The talks were both on the subject of 'Art and Science', which was really interesting and included a lot of great work. I met a lot of really talented folks with inspiring ideas. The speakers were  Barbara ZeiglerTim O’Riley, Monika Auch,  Sean Caulfield, Kathryn Smith, and Beatrice Haines. Everyone had such interesting things to say, and managed to elevate my understanding of how art and science can be brought together in a variety of ways, not just your usual 'visualisation/anatomy' uses. To name a few - ethics, highlighting scientific detachment, drawing attention to people, process and materials, and solving intrigue.

The panel discussion was so interesting too, and much more involved in the kind of subject my own art is involved in: 'Printopias' - creating whole worlds within print. My 4th year studio buddy Raluca Iancu was speaking at the panel discussion (about the Three Bridges Project), and it was fantastic to catch up after 2 YEARS! I can't believe it's been so long since graduating.  The other speakers were John Philips (he spoke about the worlds and utopias within postage stamps) and Curtis Bartone (he spoke about fictional dystopia/utopias) , and the panel was chaired by Beauvais Lyons.

I plan to make a post on The Big Print soon. :)

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!