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Above is my final digital textile print !!! It’s all lead up to this 130x130cm piece of fabric. At this point (above) in the printing process it was drying before the washes started. While digital printing seems quicker because everything is printed from a super fancy fabric plotter, you still have to do ALL the washes. Also steaming and washing a huge piece of dark fabric is also tricky … and heavy when wet. But after a few hours of work, my piece is printed, steamed, washed, boiled, washed, dried, and ready to hang! I’ll give you a guys a peak into the process for the creation of my print.

As for inspiration for my print I kept noticing/sketching circle patterns. I noticed them again and again on our study tour. Circles were in the piles of wood, on the manhole covers, street signs, and were strong elements in one of my favorite monuments in Finland. During the study tour our primary task was to create a sketchbook documenting our inspiration. I collected and drew anything I found or saw that was interesting. Here are a few of my favorite pages, many of which you’ll see inspired my print.

Above: The yellow and oranges here were used in my final print.


I have an entire Moleskine filled from the study trip. Normally when I go on trips or look for inspiration I just take photos. I think to myself, “I have a photo, that’s enough, I can go back to it later.” But how many times do we actually go back to those photos? Not very often in my case. Drawing the actual thing, or printing the photo out and writing notes about it in a book crystallizes the memory so much more vividly. I took found pieces of design I liked, booklets, posters from the street, and combined these with drawings, color swatches and notes to create a visual diary full of inspiration. Now anytime I want to look for an idea from the trip, it’s all in one place, and having a physical object is so much nicer than photos on the computer.

So I knew I wanted to create a pattern with circles, and I’d been greatly inspired by all the Scandinavian design I’d been experiencing over the last few weeks. In the beginning a lot of my designs were very retro looking, which I liked. But this direction got away from my original idea creating a pattern that dealt with circles, in wood specifically. The rings of a tree make really beautiful patterns in wood – so why not a print ?!? So I began to move back to that direction and I came up with this final design (below).

Above: The final print and color way, dark blue background with accents of white, yellow, and light blue.

Above: Light background color way. I liked this too but thought the dark background had more depth and contrast.

Above: For some reason this reminds me of candy – like candy canes.

THE PRINTING PROCESS …

The textile prints from a fancy digital textile printer ..

Fabric is loaded like a roll of paper then printed on.

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As many of you know, I’m currently enrolled at the DIS school in Copenhagen for six weeks learning about textile design. I spent last week blogging about all the amazing designers and artist we’ve come across. Now I’ll show you some of what I’ve been working on. Since we returned from our study tour two weeks ago, we’ve been in the studio everyday printing and creating textile samples.

First we started with the heat transfer method. With this type of printing, you mix dye to create colors, then paint them onto pieces of paper. Once this is dried, you can cut out shapes, layer, and overprint these pieces of dyed paper to create patterns. Once you’ve created your design, you place the dyed paper onto the fabric’s surface, then apply heat. We used a heat press machine, but I assume this could be done by ironing at home. The nice thing about this meathod – you see immediate results, and there isn’t a lengthy wash process, like with screen printing. The bad part, when using synthetic fabric, this particular dye comes out totally different than it looks in dye form or even on the dry paper. The colors change so much when applied to heat. After much trail and error, I came up with these two designs inspired by wood patterns I kept seeing during our trip.

My first attempt at layering with heat transfer to create something tree-looking.

My finished design, using four layers. From background green to black on top, hiding registration marks.

After a few days of this method, we moved to screen printing with fabric and dyes. I’ve had experience with ink and paper screen printing so the process came quickly to me. BUT – fabric takes SOOO much longer to dry, so I quickly became frustrated by how much longer screen printing fabric takes. If you don’t wait for your layers or dry, you’ll ruin your print and the colors will mix or run. The first few days we used cut outs and open screens to create designs. This is a great way to screen print at home. It’s very similar to the method of using contact paper to create a stencil. The last few days we burned a screen to create a stencil with photo emulation. This allows for more intricate designs with finer detail. While I love screen printing, each design has to be steamed, then washed in cold and hot water (4 or 5 washes sometimes), then boiled, washed one more time, then dried. By this point your colors have likely changed and faded. One of my plaid designs I was so excited about pre-wash faded into light neon pastels post-wash. But it’s all part of the process I guess.

Above: First stripe design created using paper cutouts.

Above: My final stripe design.

Above: My paid before washing (and fading).

This design was created using cutouts, which I later turned into a series studying overlapping.

Below: After this series, I moved to photo stencils, and I created the following designs:

I wanted to create a series of 3 textiles with the same colors and different variations on the same theme.

Above may be my final pattern turned into a digital print .. but I’m coming up with some new ideas this weekend.

In this design I played with just my stencils and no solid circles of color.
The colors aren’t quite right but interesting to see.

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St. Vincent’s Hospital “Place Project” — Full View

Here are screen shots of my finals projects after my first semester in Pratt’s MFA program. This year I was in three studios, Graduate Seminar, and Thesis (17 hours — before this point, I had never taken more than 9). While some classes I really enjoyed (Visual Language and Transformation Design), one in particular I felt absolutely no connection with (Technology Studio). Despite my lack of enthusiasm for Technology Studio, I’m really happy with my final project, “Romantically Uninvolved: 2010 Annual Report” — an annual report on my “dating life” (of lack there of) during 2010. Once everything is posted and presented, I will spend more time talking about each project. So enjoy the pictures, they’re probably better than whatever BS MFA artist statements I’ll come up with later 😉

Close-up of St. Vincent’s Poster, 26×42 Poster, Visual Language Studio

A peak into my “Creative Process”(a mess). 30×30 Poster, Transformation Design Studio

Close-up of “Process” Poster, “Let your haters be your motivators”

Cover of “Romantically Uninvolved: 2010 Annual Report” 20-page Report, Technology Studio

Interior Spread

Close-up of NYC Map in Annual Report.

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This quote that goes perfectly for what I assume was the mission of St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City. The hospital was NYC’s last remaining Catholic hospital and found itself in the center of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, eventually creating the first care center for AIDS patients on the East Coast. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, a religiously-back hospital, helping the very people the Catholic Church preaches against. How did the attitudes change? St. Vincent’s was flooded with funding for their work providing HIV/AIDS care in the 1980s, which helped keep the hospital alive. Some argue the advancement of HIV medication, and the reduction of AIDS patients, is one of the factors leading to St. Vincent’s closing in Spring 2010. Interesting indeed.

(Almost) Final Version

Close-up of poster.

 

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I introduced this project in a previous post about new MFA work at Pratt. For the last week or so, I’ve been reading, visiting, and exploring what is left of St. Vincent’s Hospital in NYC. As someone that has only lived in New York for a year and a half, I honestly don’t feel very connected to many places in the city. Yet again, we are asked to pick a place of significance in New York as an inspiration for a self-initiated project. I actually like doing this, don’t get me wrong, I just wish I lived here longer, so I’d know more about the places I’m investigating. I’d recently read an article in NY Magazine about St. Vincent’s closing and NYC’s (in my view) fucked health care system. My only knowledge about the hospital was that it was the center of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. It is literally around the corner from Pratt Manhattan, yet I didn’t hear about the actual closing until months later.

Thankfully, I don’t have much experience with hospitals. My brother had to go a few times due to head injuries, but besides that, I’m not used to visiting or staying in hospitals. I feel uncomfortable in them, but I think that’s normal. I do have a memory of one of my brother’s hospital trips: I didn’t want to go along b/c I’d miss Dawson’s Creek (priorities!) and I was making a pasta salad (it was in the freezer to get cold quicker). My brother ended up being fine, but I spent all night missing Dawson’s Creek, and my pasta salad was totally frozen.

What strikes me about St. Vincent’s is, how can a hospital fail? How can a hospital be aloud to go bankrupt? St. Vincent’s was nearly 160 years old, it treated patients from a cholera outbreak in the 1800’s, survivors of the Titanic, diagnosed the first cases of AIDS in the US, and survived 9-11. Yet it couldn’t save itself. Our country has a strange relationship with health care. Many wealthy nations view it as a human right, while in the US, health care is a booming profit-driven industry, based upon NOT providing care and help to those that need it. The idea of companies gaining profit on the ill-health of their customers is sickening to me, but that’s another issue.

So why St. Vincent’s … why do I feel a connection to a hospital I never visited? After reading the NY magazine article, I felt really sad. It made St. Vincent’s seem like a living thing. An aging, broken, and sad thing … but still something once living. This hospital in particular holds so much history, and if the towers are turned into condos, or if the buildings are torn down, what happens to all that history? Shouldn’t we (and by that I mean NYC) thank the hospital for all its done for the city? Our government will bail out auto makers, banks, wall street, give huge tax breaks to corporations, but why didn’t they save the hospital … a business dedicated to delivering and saving lives? There were a lot of problems with St. Vincent’s, and it didn’t happen over night, but I want to save the stories of the place, even if the hospital itself is beyond repair.

Here’s an example of what I mean, from the Save St. Vincent’s facebook page:

There is a digital memorial, or archive of this type for stories about 9-11. It’s called the September 11th Digital Archive. St. Vincent’s deserves the same. Something alive online, where previous patients, workers, politicians, etc can add stories and images, so that history will be preserved. That is what I propose for my final project. I’ve reached out to a few people, but I’d really like this project to be bigger than the class if I can talk to the right people.

Here are some photos I took last week exploring the site.

 

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click images to visit my new tumblr blogs!

Over the past few weeks I’ve developed a new addiction … TUMBLR! I’m constantly collecting images as sources of inspiration, so tumblr became a great way to do this online and document what inspires me. I’m hoping this collection of images, words, and thoughts will help inform me for possible for possible thesis directions. I’ve expressed my frustration of our lack of making in the MFA program, so quite simply, my inspiration tumblr serves as an outlet of documenting beautiful things, and so what what if I like beautiful things?

THAT SAID, it’s important to consider why I find this work beautiful, figure out what makes it successful, and see if I can apply that to my work. The second tumblr account I created is solely for my thesis. I finally had a thesis BREAKTHROUGH last Friday. It looks like my thesis is simply turning into the search for joy: my personal search, and searching for it around me. I’ve been working on visual essays (I plan to finish them over break), and have a list of side projects and explorations to do soon. My previous post serves as a manifesto to create this work, and see this idea though. Why can’t design be full of joy? If I can’t find joy (and happiness) in my work now, while I’m in school, then what’s the point? In a ideal world, I’d love to find a job that is a creative outlet, but the pessimist in me finds that unrealistic, at least at first. I know I’m going to have to “pay my dues” and do some shitty work before I really find my place. And in today’s economy, I might be doing shitty work for years to come just to hold on a job.

In closing, I’m so happy to be where I am (thesis-wise). I have the green light to start screen printing over xmas break and things seem to be falling into place for most of my projects. The jury is still out in my technology class — I haven’t felt a connection to that class all semester. In my visual language class we’re doing another “Place Project” — pick a significant place in nyc and create a book or something about it. I chose the recently closed St. Vincent’s Hospital in NYC’s West Village. Here’s my introduction for the project:

Just to give you a taste of some of what I’m looking at, I grabbed these from my tumblr accounts. If any of y’all have accounts, I’d love to follow you! Or follow me!

http://dcwdesign.tumblr.com AND http://sharedjoy.tumblr.com

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