The Opening of the V&A Design Museum in Dundee

Right now there is a huge buzz in Dundee, as the brand new Kengo Kuma designed V&A Museum has opened! It is the second Victoria & Albert museum in the world, their first time branching out from their extensive museum in London. This one is all about the design, and in particular, Scottish design. Dundee is the UK's first UNESCO City of Design, and the museum showcases some of the reasons why we were given that title.

What reasons, you ask? Well, Dundee used to be famous for Jute, Jam and Journalism as we were an industrial town that exported jute and other cloth all over the world. DC Thompson is a Dundee publisher that is pretty famous here in Scotland, but international folks might have read the Dennis the Menace comics when they were younger. We invented delicious marmalade! We are also famous for video game design, and have a thriving art scene. Also, a lot of medical research goes on here in our 2 Universities.
Here is a really informative article that explains a little of Dundees history, and the different industries and specialisms historically based in the city.

10 years ago, when I was in first year at University, I remember attending several lectures and presentations about the big plans for the Dundee Waterfront Redevelopment. Hungover and thoroughly living in the moment, the plans were exciting to hear about, but it was all very far off in the future and nebulous to me. For the past few years now we have all watched with fascination as Kengo Kumas building took shape before our eyes. The redevelopment is well and truly underway now, and actually pretty true to what they initially presented a decade ago.

I was so, so lucky that I managed to get into the building on the opening day, and get shown around too. It is such an impressive building, with an awesome team working behind the scenes. Click to make full size…

I can’t wait to go back in once all the crowds have died down just a bit, and spend some quality time in the design gallery. There will be temporary design exhibitions, too: the one on right now is called Ocean Liners. The cafe and resturaunt look great, and there is a programme of events you can check out on their website.

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This one is of Primal Scream, who headlined the 3D festival on Friday night. Other acts performing were Tallia Storm, Be Charlotte, and Lewis Capaldi. There was also lots of dance and various activities going on throughout.

The second day of the 3D festival was opened with a powerful and chilled out set by SHHE. I wasn’t there for the rest of the acts (had a time slot for entrance to the building!), but it looked like a great time, and was packed with people enjoying the festival.

Well, hope this was interesting! It has been an action packed weekend, and the city is still mega busy!

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!

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!

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. :)