Monday, December 24, 2012

Watermark Animation Project

The watermark animation project I've been working on since last semester finally took a few big leaps forward. The first few experiments for this project were carried out at Auroville Papers in Auroville, Pondicherry. They have always been supportive of my work and generous with their space, materials and brainstorming!

This was the starting point for the project. A set of pencil drawings that I later used to create the marks

A soldered watermark or wire-mark I made using 7 pieces of copper wire.
In order to replicate each frame exactly, a soldering jig needed to be made

I carved out the 'jig' on a soft piece of stone so that the wire could be moulded using the incisions

These indentations would help hold the wires in place while soldering. That was the hope anyway

Frame 1, almost ready

Using a piece of metal to hold the pieces down and deflect the heat

Sewing the wire-mark onto the mould surface

I used the pulp available at the time. Auroville Papers' alphabet paper

The pulp could stand to be shorter, but the watermark seemed to come out just fine


Readying frame 2


The piece to be attached onto the second frame was tiny! It was very difficult to try and solder. At this point, I decided to switch tracks. Soldering wire to make the frames wasn't a viable solution, especially if one were to make 1000s of frames for a longer film!


So I decided to lasercut the frames. The list of materials that could be used now expanded, but choosing the right one took a while. Some of the materials I tried included Plexiglas, Mylar, Adhesive-backed mount board and a mark made using a 3D printer. The paper on which the marks are placed was made using the 3D printed mark and short cotton linters beaten for 1.45 hours

The Biology department's awesome laser cutting machine was used to cut these watermarks out of Delrin, a durable plastic. Jeremy Richardson who runs the shop suggested that this might be the best material. He helped iron out all the kinks after watching the papermaking process and helped find the best solution to adhere the mark onto the mould surface without compromising either the mark or the surface or the mould

Tim and Jeremy were pretty excited about this project. This was the second set of marks that were made for the project. Each piece was looked at under the microscope to ensure there were no burrs as these would catch the fiber and make couching very difficult

Freshly formed sheet waiting to be couched. This sheet was made with the first set of marks and adhered with spray-on adhesive - nasty stuff! The adhesive was extremely sticky and not only made it very difficult to lay the marks onto the mould, but caught onto the fiber during sheetforming and couching!

Water needed to be applied to the back of the mould to help the sheet release during couching

The spray-on adhesive still made the process difficult and extremely disappointing.
The sheets just would not couch!

The adhesive wasn't strong enough and ended up releasing the marks into the sheet itself

Not to mention the other damage it caused


This is what the finished sheet ended up as!

After trying a number of adhesives over weeks of experimentation Richards finally devised a method of applying and using Epoxy. The only downside - it took an hour minimum to set!

But once set, it could withstand the pressure of the water during cleaning, the papermaking process as well couching. This adhesive despite its downside was a success. Not to mention that it came off easily without compromising either the mould surface or the mark!

Thanks to all this problem solving and the right material and adhesive, the watermarks came out clear as day!

The detail was amazing! But there was one last thing I wanted to try.
Something to speed up the process - superglue!

I tried 12 frames with Epoxy and 10 with superglue. The Epoxy won hands down, because as you can see the superglue, though it took only 10 second to set, held onto the little fibers and created an unclear watermark.
The entire process of sheetforming (4-8 sheets were made per frame), including wait time took about 30 hours

After discussing the animation with Richards, he devised a jig to register all the frames at the same position.
This was a great help.

He also came up with a jig that would be able to register frames that move across the surface of the mould - something I am excited to try next semester!

Here is the completed animation! A big thank you to everyone who helped make this a possibility!

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Chaos Never Dies

The theme for this month's Anthology poster was Chaos Never Dies! I was nervous about creating something that would be up all over for everyone to see. I felt better about it after I was told that it has a pretty short shelf life - a week at most. Phew!
I decided to make a collagraph for the image and would figure out the rest as and when I got the rest of the information for the poster. This ended up happening only a few days before it was due, and I threw together the type at the last minute. Oh well!

Mock up for the poster.

Glued string to a block of wood to make the collagraph.

It printed better than expected. And because I didn't coat the whole block with glue, the texture of the string printed as well!


And done! Well, they still need to be trimmed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Watermarks Conference 2012 : Cleveland, Ohio

This year the Watermarks FDH and IAPMA joint conference was held in Cleveland, Ohio. It was great seeing all the people I had seen two years ago at the 2010 FDH conference at Arrowmont in Tennessee. This year Tim encouraged me to present my findings from my research trip to Sanganer. I decided to do a comparison to a few papermills in India. Starting with Gandhi Ashrams to Auroville Papers to Mohammed Hussain Kagzi in Sanagner. It was very well received and people were very interested in supporting the traditional papermakers.
This post has photos from the presentation as well as photos of the various demonstrations that took place at the action-packed conference.

The demos I went for were held at the Morgan Conservatory. A huge warehouse-type building, fully equipped with all sorts of papermaking equipment. They have also recently added letterpress printing and bookbinding.

Winsome Jobling's demo. There were so many people that it was hard to see. Luckily there was this mirror ball on the ceiling that made is possible to see everything that was going on - well, sort of.

Her demo was on watermaking using all sorts of materials to create marks in paper.

Large dyed handmade papers hanging from the ceiling.

She uses alot of found fabrics and underwear - which she gets from goodwill. This piece has 4 colours. A very skilled series of dips into different vats of pulp. The vats have pulp, water and a very small amount of formation aid.

Here's a plastic doily that she used to make this watermark. Just a guess, but the white was likely the last layer.

And Catherine's amazing encaustic presentation! She got everyone from uiowa enthused about encaustic.
Hopefully we will have her over for a workshop next year sometime!

The elevator at Tom Balbo Galleries. A huge freight elevator, the interior of which was designed by Julie Mclaughlin. It had crazy objects inside, including a couch you could sit on for the ride all the way up to the fifth floor.

This is the 4th floor.

This is the 2nd floor.

This might be the 4th floor again.

The 2nd floor. Bizarre collections of rare objects strewn all over. Quite amazing!

The basement.

Tom Balbo's 3-dimensional pulp paintings.

Timothy Moore's mould weaving demo was at Tom Balbo Galleries. This is what he uses to weave the laid mould surfaces. If you order a mould from him now, you would be in a waiting list 2 years long.

The wire straightener he uses to straighten all those wires before weaving them.

Korean Hanji used to make this beautiful piece

I still wonder how she made all these tiny holes. The shadow it cast was amazing.

Peter Thomas running the tiniest beater ever and dyeing the pulp with wine!

Presentation time!

It was pretty nerve wracking

Relief!!! I was SO glad when it was over!

And when we came back, fall had really set in

The tree outside North Hall. 

It has beautiful pink and white flowers in the spring.