Art of the Accident: Etching Final Book

During the art of the accident project I attended an etching workshop, further information can be found here, and as part of that workshop I produced a variety of hard and soft ground etching prints. These prints were based off my photography done at Brighton Beach as part of the art of the accident project. My prints were inspired by my close up photography of rusted and eroded metal, and the mark making within the etchings aims to convey the textured surface of those forms.

For assessments I made my collection of etchings into a book. All of the etchings within the book are the original prints. The book is hand bound using Japanese stab binding and has two covers made of copper pearlescent card. I choose to use copper pearlescent card as it is similar to colour and metallic appearance of rusted metal, furthermore I used this card for the covers of my art of the accident book, therefore by using the same material for the covers it links the two books together.

Art of the Accident: Final Perfect Bound Book

Above is a photograph my final perfect bound book’s front cover. The book is split into 3 sections of 4 pages/16 sides which are perfect bound together. The spine is then covered in slate grey book cloth, then 300gsm copper pearlescent card is attached to the front and back to become the cover. Below is a video of my final bound book, there are also photographs of the book spreads once bound, some of the spreads are made of paper, whilst others are acetate allowing layers of imagery to be built up.

Photographed spreads:

Art of the Accident: Improvements

Since having my group crit for the art of the accident project I have made several improvements to my book. I started by increasing the size of the book from A5 to A4, the largest size that a book can be printed at within my budget. I then added factual information to the book in order to incorporate type.

To successfully integrate type with my book I referred to my research for the grids projects. I then drew up several thumbnail sketches for layout designs. The process of researching layouts and then drawing up thumbnail sketches is what I did during the grids project, therefore I replicated it for this project as well as I believe it help me to develop my ideas better and faster.

Layout inspired by my grids project research, combining my photography with factual information about rust

Duotone image with factual information about rust

Another change that I made to my book was to edit my duotones. I felt that my previous duotones were too flat and did not fit it with the bright and textured rust photography that is also found in the book. To improve these duotones I started by cropping further into the images. The focus of my book is too look at rust in a natural settings, such as Brighton Beach, and then juxtapose that with industrial rust, such as my photographs taken at Portslade. Therefore for my duotones of Portslade I wanted to focus more on the mechanical and industrial nature of the machinery, so by cropping further into the image it focuses more on these forms. I then went on to increase the contrast in the duotones as well as change the colours to be more vibrant. These changes helped to improve the message conveyed by the images as it is more apparent not that the images are focusing on the industrial and mechanical forms. Furthermore the images now look less flat and fit in with the rest of the book consisting of highly textured photographs.

Finally I changed the font used within the book from Baskerville to Geneva. Baskerville is a serif font that appears quite old, I initially chose this font as I felt that an old looking font would represent rust well as rust forms over a long period of time on an object. However I changed the font to Geneva, which I feel better suits the book, as it appears industrial. Many of the photographs used within the book focus on industrial and mechanical forms therefore it felt more appropriate to use a Geneva as opposed to Baskerville.

 

Art of the Accident: Group Critique

The feedback that I received during the group critique for my book was very positive, the tutors and the other students enjoyed the work that I produced and the feedback given was to help move the work on.

It was suggested that the book should be more monumental and could be printed A3 or A2, however due to printing costs the largest I could print the book for a reasonable price would be A3 spreads with A4 pages.

Another suggestion was that for the cover of the book I should consider using iron filings to actually rust the cover, however this process would be quite time consuming. I could also choose to screenprint with metallic ink or use metallic card and laser cut into it. There was also the option to laser cut into a metal cover, however attaching covers to the book may put too much strain on the binding and tear the book apart. I chose to use metallic card for the cover, online I purchased 300gsm pearlescent card in a copper colour resembling rust, this card is also dyed all the way through therefore when trimmed the edges would remain a copper colour and not go white. I decided to not laser cut into the card a gaining access to the laser cutter during this busy period leading up to deadlines across all courses and years was difficult.

For the final presentation of the book it was suggested that I contain the book within a thin metal box that needs to be cut into to access the book, however once again gaining access to the facilities needed to create the box is too tricky during this busy period, I would also need to be inducted into the workshops as previously I am not.

Finally it was suggested that I add text to the book, this could be scientific information about rust or a timeline of rust. I chose to include scientific information on rust as this book includes photographs from both Brighton and Portslade, therefore two very different kinds of rust are documented meaning two separate timelines would be required which could cause confusion if documented throughout the book.

Art of the Accident: Zine Workshop

Due to a change of plans at university the graphic design students were invited to join in with the zine workshop for the illustration students. We were given a handout with various book structures on for us to experiment with for our zines. Having previously made poster books in my book arts induction and for explain the unexplained project earlier this semester, I decided to create a zine that used french binding, a bookbinding technique I have had no previous experience with.

As graphic design students were not initially meant to take part in this workshop we arrived unprepared with no imagery or work to put into our zine. What I did however was take my monoprints which I had just created for my art of the experiment project, these prints I deemed unsuccessful as they lost most of the detail from the original photographs I was basing them on and therefore did not link clearly to my concept of weathering and erosion, however I still liked the marks made within the prints. For the zine I took the prints with the most interesting marks and cut the A4 prints down to a5 sheets of paper, cropping into the most visually intriguing sections of each print with help of my cropping tools.

For the prints to be french bound the a5 sheets then had to be folded in half, the A6 pages would then be bound on the long

 

edge opposite to the fold. What I discovered unintentionally about french binding is that it is a good binding technique for monoprints. When producing my monoprints I rolled out water based ink onto perspex, then I place paper on top of the ink and worked onto the back of the paper with pencil and charcoal to pick up the ink on the opposite side. By french binding my prints you can view the marks made on the back of the paper by gently prying open one of the folded pages to view what it inside. These concealed marks are visually interesting, show process and add another way in which the audience can interact with the book.

The style of binding I used to hold the pages together was Japanese stab sewing. I first used a boning tool to create folds in each of the pages, so that when the pages were bound the book could lie flat. I then drilled holes into the folded pages along the long edge opposite the fold. Finally I used stringle to sew through the holes and bind the book.

I found this workshop to be very helpful as it allowed me to take work that I felt was previously unsuccessful and turn it into a successful book. I did not initially think of moving these prints forward by using process however by creating a zine I’ve allowed the imagery to not go to waste.

Cass Pad Competition

Brief: We’re giving one lucky winner the opportunity to be featured on the front cover of one of our award-winning pad ranges. An exclusive print run of your custom design will be available to buy online and in-store at Cass Art. Shortlisted works will be selected by CEO & Founder of Cass Art, Mark Cass, Head of Design at Cass Art Naj Ellwood and award-winning designer Angus Hyland, Creative Director at Cass Art and Partner at design consultancy, Pentagram.

The competition requirements were very open as the design did not need to have a concept and could be created using any medium, the only requirements were that the image was 203 x 206mm. As I am currently working on the materials, processes and art of the accident project I decided to utilise one of my experiments with print for my competition submission. Many of the current CASS Pad designs are abstract prints, therefore I thought the medium would fit well into their range, however I did want to make my work stand out and therefore contain a slightly figurative aspect.

I choose to use my favourite etching taken from my etching workshop, this can be seen below. I believe that the overlapping of imagery and linear qualities are figurative but also maintain an abstract quality when zoomed into and cropped.

Soft and Hard Ground Etching Inspired by Rust

Below are some thumbnails I produced where I played with different crops into the image. For my final design I selected the last crop.

After some editing using levels and colour balance in Photoshop I finally produced my CASS Pad design. I really enjoyed creating this competition entry, the openness of the brief allowed me to choose whatever imagery I saw fit and therefore utilise my etching prints which I really enjoyed producing for my current project. This also meant I had the opportunity to enter the competition and possibility gain publicity through it, without having to sacrifice spending time on my university work to produce an entirely new outcome for the competition brief.

Etching Induction

In the print workshop I was inducted into the process of etching. We began by creating a hard ground etching onto a zinc plate. The process for doing this is as follows: file the edges of the plate at a 45 degree angle, polish the plate, rub the plate with degreaser, rinse the plate, dry the plate with a hairdryer set to cool, heat the plate and apply the hard ground with a roller, leave the plate too cool, scratch in your design, place in the acid bath for 1o minutes, rinse the plate and finally print. After experimenting with a hard ground we created another plate using soft ground, this uses the same process however the soft ground never sets, so instead of scratching the design into the surface a design can be traced on or an object can be pressed on.

Brighton Beach Rust Photography

For my hard ground design I scratched the photograph above freehand onto the plate. I chose this image as I believed the linear qualities of the texture would work well as an etching. Furthermore the imagery I chose was from my art of the accident project therefore my prints could be used as part of my materials and processes experimentation. I then played with printing the plate in black and orange inks, orange to represent the rust colour. I also experimented with printing onto newsprint, for my project I have been experimenting with the idea of creating a book printed onto transparent materials, as I couldn’t print a plate onto tracing paper or acetate I choose newsprint instead. This was a challenge as the paper was to fragile to be soaked in the water bath so had to be sprayed with a water bottle instead, however the print did turn out successful.

Below are my hard ground etching prints:

Hard Ground Black Ink Etching

Hard Ground Black Ink Second Print Etching

Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching

Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching onto Newsprint

Hard Ground Black Ink Line Work with Orange Overprint Etching

For my soft ground design I traced the photograph above onto the plate. I then used my fingers to create tonal areas.

Below are my soft ground etching prints:

Soft Ground Black Ink Etching

Soft Ground Black Ink Etching with a Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching

Soft Ground Black Ink Second Print Etching with a Hard Ground Orange Ink Second Print Etching

In my opinion my these prints were highly successful, especially the prints where I have overprinted black and orange ink, and hard and soft ground plates. Therefore I hope to find a way to incorporate them into my final book.

Art of the Accident: Tutorial

During a tutorial today with the tutors we discussed through the work I had made so far in the project, specifically my photography of rust and erosion taken at Brighton beach, and spoke about where I could take the project next.

OIL & WATER DO NOT MIX by Anthony Burrill

Screenprinting was highlighted as a possible process for exploration. From the photographs you can clearly tell that the images are taken from brighton due to its prominent bright and varied colour scheme, therefore layering multiple prints of my photos with colours picked out from my photographs could be visually interesting. It was also suggested that I could take inspiration from Anthony Burrill, who used crude oil from an oil spill to make a screenprint on environmental issues, and screen print using a solution made of rust. After doing research however I found that the process for making a rust solution would take weeks to get the amount I needed therefore this idea was quickly abandoned.

“The choice of font was very simple; I needed a heavy typeface to use the oil and sand mixture as much as possible. The corrosive effects of the oil and sand gradually destroyed the screen that they were using to print which resulted in the distressed, rough feel that communicated exactly what we wanted to say. It’s intentionally blank in its meaning, the point of the poster is how it was physically made.” – Anthony Burrill

Continuing with the idea of using screen printing it may be worth experimenting with contrasting the natural textural qualities of the rust with the shapes of the industrial structures it formed on. Portslade is a part of Brighton where there is a large industrial yard, therefore in the upcoming days I intend to visit the area and gather some photographs of the industrial rust and machinery present, this I can then contrast with the more natural and colourful forms of weathering found at Brighton beach.

Art of the Accident: Monoprints

Based on my photographs of rust at Brighton Beach I produced several monoprints. These monoprints used black and/or red water based ink and was produced through a number of methods, such as applying pressure of wiping away the ink.

I choose the explore the medium of monoprinting as it quickly and easily allows for the generation of imagery, often producing unexpected results as often you can not see the design until you are finished printing. Furthermore the visual quality of monoprinting is very textural which I thought would compliment the textured nature of the rust imagery.

  
  

Although I find the gestural marks made in the prints visually interesting, I think the prints are too far removed from the concept. The imagery is so abstracted that it would be impossible to know that they are referencing rust without knowledge of their context. Furthermore the variety of bright and bold colours present in my rust photography is lost through monoprinting which normally used a limited palette. To continue my investigation of rust I believe focusing on the close up photography of rusted objects will be far more successful as it captures the detailed textures, as well as the variety of colours present in the rust.

Art of the Accident: Brighton Beach Photography

After deciding not to continue with my photography of marks made unintentionally and intentionally in the studio by students I decided to photography erosion and weathering in a natural environment where the effects would be more unpredictable. Above are contact sheets of photographs I took whilst at Brighton beach. The photographs document the natural weathering and erosion of the man made buildings and structures.

I believe these photographs were far more successful than those taken within the studio. From these photographs I am particularly intrigued by the close up photographs of rust that I found on the metal bars beneath Brighton Pier. The colours and textural qualities of the rust would be interesting to experiment and play with using printing processes. It may also be interesting to explore juxtaposing the textural and natural qualities of the rust with the cold hard forms of the structures they were found on, combining texture and linear forms.