Archive for June 29, 2010

Special edition catalogues – in collaboration with Susan Mortimer

June 29, 2010

Some weeks ago I randomly got into conversation with fellow final yr (online) student Susan Mortimer who, as mentioned in a previous post, puts together and hand makes the Mail Art One zine. Susan also makes one-off special edition books/catalogues showcasing work by solo artists. So I suggested that it would be really cool if we one day used my mirror card cut-outs as covers for special edition books featuring some of my work from the MA.

And lovely and kind as Susan is, she said why not?, let’s do it now (instead of some time in the future which is what I was thinking). Obviously I was going to jump at the chance and thought wow if she’s willing to try it then I am soo game and therefore I set about ordering specific double-sided mirror card for this mini project.

Black and white versions of special edition books - collaboration: Sara Choudhrey and Susan Mortimer

Black and white versions of special edition books - collaboration: Hand-cut covers by Sara Choudhrey and printing and binding by Susan Mortimer

The books are a mini showcase of some of the images from my experimentation through the MA project so far. I chose 10 images which I think some of the key visual elements of my work and added a few coloured samples to give some variation to the black and white theme. I think they work well together in the book and I asked Susan to arrange an order that she thought would suit them best (it’s hard to see your work objectively when you’ve been concentrating on it for so long). She did a great job.

Browsing through the book

Browsing through the book

I hand-cut a few of the sheets using pat7 (the pattern used for all aspects of the final piece) and arranged it so that the 10-point star would be in the middle of the front and the back.

White version with full front and back cutting

White version with full front and back cutting

Black version with half cut cover

Black version with half-cut cover

I slightly altered the symmetry towards the spine too to make it fit appropriately. These sheets were then sent to Susan so she could test the binding and this morning I had the pleasure of receiving the proofs to look at.

Black and white versions of the books

Black and white versions of the books

I actually can’t decide which one I like best. We originally had the black one all black (even the middle section with the star in black too), but then this evening I thought I’d see how it looked with that cut out too and I quite liked it. And this is something I can do once Susan has finished the printing and binding on her side.

Susan has posted about her side of the process here: http://susanmort.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/u2-collaboration-with-sara/

Images of the books taken by Susan - capturing the shadows and reflections produced by the double-sided mirror card cut-out

Images of the books taken by Susan - capturing the shadows and reflections produced by the double-sided mirror card cut-out

We’ve just got a few more tweaks to do and then I’ll have around 20 of these special editions. I’m even contemplating having a couple on a plinth in the light room of the MADA (MA Digital Arts) exhibition space, but I’m going to leave this as an option if time permits rather than a must. Also, need to ask the others if there is space for it …

I now just need to get on with cutting the rest of the 20 covers! I may need a two-week long hand massage once I’m done.

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Afternoon of real DIY

June 29, 2010

So when I did finally get back to the 3Dresource guys, with intervals of a bit of waiting I was shown how to use the drilling machine with a large circular saw type bit. This was roughly the right size for the circles I needed to cut out of my MDF for extra ventilation towards the top of both the side panels of the plinth. As heat rises there should be some release via these holes.

Karel, the manager of the department, gave me a few safety tips and showed me where to clamp the MDF and supporting wood down and how to clean the saw bit every now and again so that it wouldn’t get caught and burn instead of continue cutting through.

The drilling machine used for cutting the circles

The drilling machine used for cutting the circles

Cutting circles out of MDF

Close-up of cutting circles out of MDF

Although I was slightly nervous – having not handled any of this kind of machinery since secondary school (about 9 yrs ago now!) – I soon got the hang of it and finished cutting the circles in very good time.

Next we needed to tackle the harder job of routing. I had to wait around a bit at this point as all the technicians were busy and Karel had to go to a meeting so I was told it would have to wait till Wednesday afternoon. I’m not the type to ever panic ( gets you nowhere) but inside I’m thinking, oh man, this is never gonna get finished and what about my deadlines? Because seriously I need to have everything, and I mean EVERYTHING done by this weekend!

I decided to just start painting the panels that were already cut. No point in moping around. I’d made all the effort to get my MDF to uni and had to make do with what I could in terms of productivity.

Preparing to paint the MDF

Preparing to paint the MDF

About an hour later, Gillian, kind and super helpful Gillian, a technician who had been working in the upstairs gallery space came down and said we could have a go at doing the routing.

The routing needs to be done so that there is a recess for the other pattern-cut MDF to sit. This would form part of the front panel of the plinth.  In order to cut this in the correct rectangular window we had to cut out the middle section – not as easy as I thought it would be.

Firstly, we drilled holes into the corners of the rectangle I had marked out and then used the jigsaw to go along very close to the edges so that routing would be easier to do later.

The jigsaw we used to cut the following panel out

The jigsaw we used to cut the following panel out

Gillian showed me how to use the Jigsaw and I got to do a lot of the cutting using it. It was hard work to hold it down and keep it going straight and so my arm started getting tired but I finished it and manged to curve the corners too. I also had to make sure my hands weren’t too close to the saw bit. It was a scary start but fun to get stuck into some proper DIY 🙂

The router and the jigsaw cut MDF

The router and the jigsaw cut MDF

Gillian neatened up the edges using the router – which will also be used to create the recess. It’s a really good tool for making sure all edges are straight.

So hopefully I’ll back at in the workshop to finish this off. I’m hoping I can get it done by the end of Wednesday as I feel really anxious that it’s really close to the assessment deadline of early next week. I need to have everything installed by Saturday latest so that I can concentrate on the Unit2 assessment page which needs to be up by  July 5th.

I also haven’t had the chance to help the others with setting up the general exhibition space yet and then there’s health and safety risk assessment forms to be completed as well as the instruction sheet for the exhibition period. I find that I prefer not to talk about what needs to be done, I’d rather just get on with it and not make myself stressed by just thinking about it.

I’m looking forward to the days after the assessment when I’ll be able to relax and focus on just the show itself.