To be considered for the Masters you are expected employ experimental elements to compliment a thoroughly researched contextialised theme.
For my cyanotypes I had proposed to investigate alternative supports and began by making plaster tiles. The alkaline plaster with it's porous surface however made the final image unstable and it was time to consider other solutions. It was only when I purchased my single plate camera that I decided to start experimenting with glass. It would also a great opportunity to perfect my preparation and pouring techniques before I invested in the expensive dry plate chemistry.
Before I could begin to work with the glass I prepared it by
After the subbing layer of gelatine I let it dry overnight. The next layer of cyanotype meant leaving it another night. On the third day I did a test exposure of 12 minutes under my homemade UV lightbox. The resulting image although not the perfect exposure is stable. I think I slightly overheated my gelatine and caused some crystallisation but this will be remedied by the use of a thermometer next time.
The principal aim of my Master proposal is to produce a body of work that challenges people to redefine and expand their definition of 'beauty'. By enticing the viewer to examine the flotsam and jetsam I have found washed upon the shoreline I hope to pass onto them the joy and wonder that I experience myself.
My found objects have included quite a bit of glass and during the summer I have been working out how I can use the glass to support my cyanotype and silver gelatine images. With the help of the glass technician Helen Love at Gray's School of Art I melted a couple of whole bottle and made moulds to slump broken glass. My kiln experiments have resulted in the whole bottles remaining clear while the moulded tiles look milky.
The different qualities of each substrate mean that they will effect the final look of photographs that I will transfer onto them.
Now begins the task of sanding down the rough edges, cleaning them thoroughly then adding a gelatine layer so that I can successfully expose onto them.
............when you move someone to tears with a piece of work you have made.
On Friday 5th August whilst walking his dog at East Haven beach near Carnoustie, my oldest and kindest friend found a message in a bottle. Rather than open it himself though he donated it to me so that I could use it as part of my Masters project.
The bottle was from two boys named Henry and Michael. They had each included a message and the gift of some sweets for the finder. In return they wished to know where their bottle had been found.
Because the bottle had not traveled far or for very long I decided it would be a good idea to put the boys message back in and include one of my own along with my found objects. I am afraid that I had to replace the sweets as they had been scoffed!
I wanted a special location for this bottle and found a spot north of Aberdeen that had a shipwreck. It seemed only fitting that the finder should be the one to relaunch the bottle. He wrote the following to mark the event:
sending a message
into the future
by the slowest
a sea born stray
will come it's way
in heavy seas
take it in your
'hey, am i doing the art yet?' by Neil McAinsh
While the undergraduates are still on their holidays I grasped the opportunity to work one to one with the glass technician Helen Love at Gray's School of Art this week, Helen graduated from Edinburgh College in Fine Art but her secondary subject included glass, Helen has now been employed at Gray's for the past 14 years and her skills have expanded to encompass ceramics too.
There where a number of skills I wished to acquire and experiments I wished to make so that I could confidently use the workspace and equipment next academic session. My first task was to learn how to operate the sand blaster so I could etch a surface onto the glass plates that I had prepared for my single plate camera. We had been taught at the dry plate workshop at Streetlevel, Glasgow to etch the glass with a chemical etch. However, after reading the side effects I decided to explore other options.
I also wished to prepare glass that I had found on the beach to make supports for my dry plate and cyanotype positives. Helen advised two ways in which I could approach this. The first was to melt a whole glass bottle and cut off the excess with a circular saw. The second method was to prepare a mould and slump the glass. Each of the experiments would produce a different effect.
With the moulds made and the kilns a burning it will be next week when I examine the results of my labours.
The sand blasted glass plates however where completed and I now have a little stack of them waiting to be washed and coated with liquid light.