Monday, 20 August 2012

'Print the Past' workshops - Cooke's Creative Heritage project.

It was great to pay another visit to Cooke’s studios last month and work with the volunteers in a new ‘printing the past’ workshop. After the fantastic images that were made in the last sessions, creating computer-generated patterns based on Cooke’s history, I was really keen to get us doing some printing! Once again, drawing inspiration from the colourful and rich timeline of the building, we put together some shapes and images that related to the former use of the studios. Some taking part wanted to continue the same theme that they were working with before, others wanted to try a fresh subject and chose something new to illustrate. The up to date computer equipment at Signal Films meant that we could create shapes and patterns in the design program ‘photoshop’ and print these out to make stencils. Everyone did a brilliant job cutting all of their detailed computer designs out of stencil vinyl (a plastic sticky paper) and we mounted these to the back of silk screens in order to print multiples of the designs. We had fabric to print onto that will be turned into shopping bags to accompany the exhibition for the project. A lovely little reminder of what the building used to be!

Some generated images of the tools that would have been used in the top floor workshop; others illustrated the dress sales and haberdashery link to the building. We even printed some of the designs onto paper, and used the negatives of the stencils to make screen prints too! A really productive couple of days where everyone had a go with the modern technology as well as the traditional printing method.

After two weeks of image-making up at Signal Films with all of the volunteers, I have more than enough designs to start putting together a really special item for the end of project exhibition. Not only are we going to have a collection of shopper bags with the Cooke’s designs on, but I’ve been commissioned to make an extra piece that will reflect the building's history and contain all of the artwork too. After spending so much time in a store that used to house a cabinet maker's on the top floor, you might imagine what I'm planning to make....

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