In a natural state peat lands act as a long term sink for for atmospheric carbon dioxide. Bogs which are actively forming peat play an important role in combating climate change by removing excess carbon dioxide from the air and keeping it in storage for thousands of years. Their capacity for undertaking this function is far greater than forests. They also act to purify water and reduce the risk of flooding by absorbing, holding and slowly releasing water.
I have been photographing the sunrise since we arrived here to live in November. This selection is random, the intention is to make a daily record of the sunrise here as part of the ‘Sea Change Project’ that I am working on with Frances Carlile and Jane Harding. I am researching the possibility of live streaming a daily video of the sunrise to be used as part of an installation at the exhibition.
Getting to that interesting phase where the research and enquiry into responding to the subject, in this case Sea Change, moves into the making stage. The artefacts represented here are copper plates made by stereotyping a modern version alchemy using electrolysis. There are over thirty plates measuring 50 cm. x 20 cm. In the process of manufacture they have become richly patinated. The plan is to make more plates and mount them as six wall plaques measuring 55 cm. x 120 cm. Telling a narrative of fragmentation and deterioration.
Illustration is of a piece I made at the workshop led by John Grayson at the Ruthin Craft Centre 16th. March 2019.
John has spent the last five years researching Eighteenth-Century South Staffordshire Enamels to understand the crafts and skills used in their manufacture.The enamels were decorative objects such, as snuff boxes, and candlesticks. They were made from thin copper foil coated with layers of lustrous enamel.
In his research John examined the crafts used in their manufacture, focusing on the making of the copper substrate that gives each enamel its shape. In his workshop he demonstrated how the objects were constructed and the techniques used to make them. Participants then used the techniques to make and enamel a heart shaped box.
I came away from the workshop thinking that there is an area worth exploring in my own work of using electrotyped forms as substrates for enamelled sculptural objects. There is also a visual link in the box I made in the workshop and my interest in the Japanese traditional Oribi ceramics.
Stereotyping makes it possible to edition plates as well as prints. The plates become works of art in their own right. They can be enamelled or plated with a different metal.
Nineteenth century 3D printing, a process called stereotyping using electrolysis to make an exact copy of an object. The first picture is the artefact and the copper stereotype made of it. The second is of the mould made of it in latex. The mould is made conductive with graphite and placed in a frame to hold in place in the electrolysis tank. The electrolytic process plates the graphite with copper making a perfect copy of the original artefact.
At last a twenty-first Electroplating in the home workshop can seem a daunting task due to the range of chemicals, the unfamiliar processes and the underlying chemistry involved. However, the results of a well-cleaned item and a well-maintained electrolyte are overwhelmingly impressive and, compared to sending parts to be industrially electroplated, are very cost effective. The practical advice given in Electroplating will provide you with the confidence and ability to create an electroplating tank of your own. This book will guide you through each of the processes and the equipment needed to start your own plating system and, alongside detailed step-by-step photographs and diagrams, provide instructions on their most effective use. Gateros Plating
As part of the Wrexham Print Centres Harts heath Project I have made an electrotyped plate of a workbench that was estimated as being first used in the early nineteenth century. Unfortunately I was only able to take an impression from a small part of it before the bench was removed to a museum. The image on the left is the reverse of the plate which is still attached to the mould and on the right is the part of the bench from which the impression was taken from.