So after making the Ivy mirrors for the 50 Bees exhibition back in July, I felt inspired to develop this more hands-on, representative style of making. I had hand-painted my first edition of Ivy mirrors and thought it would be a fantastic challenge to see if I could combine screenprint with lasercutting to give a styalised but more precise effect.
I thought this may prove to be a more time efficient way of making them and I guess in time it may become quicker! However, I worked out that it took me 40 hours to make my edition of 4 large mirrors and 6 smaller ones and I think I missed an hour or so here and there ! Still, I'm set up with exposed silkscreens andcoordinating laser files now to do the next edition when I need more.
This was a design challenge as much as anything, fitting honeysuckle and ivy plants around a circular mirror in layers involves a fair bit of manipulation! I wanted an abundant effect too.
The process has various stages:
First to design the silkscreen files, working out colour separations
Then to design the coordinating lasercutting files
I then got all my pieces of MDF cut to the same size, making sure they would fit my silkscreens and fit on the laser bed too.
I had to paint the boards and sand them inbetween to make them as smooth as possible with three coats of white and paint them brown on the backs.
5 hours lasercutting
I then screen printed, through a blank silk screen, the base colours for each piece
This was followed by the best bit -the screen printing ! I never tire of the magiclal experience of transfering images through a screen to another format! This was extremly time consuming process as there were so many different sections and a hairdryer was necessary to speed the process upI had to dry the screen inbetween each different shape and colour. I still think it's quicker than hand painting and I prefer the precise effect and thinness of the paint achieved.
However, I didn't print all the colours , as I decided it would take longer to register them in some cases, than to hand paint them . For example, the berries on the honeysuckle were done by hand as were the stalks on the ivy flowers.
After all had dried, I got to work popping them out of their boards and arranging them into individual mirrors.
This was followed by the big glueing session
Which was followed by a big varnishing session!
I got my mirrors cut in the local mirror shop and popped them into their new frames. Then backed them, adding the D rings and picture cord for the bigger ones.
Add Hey presto !!