Conclusion-Screenprinting on MDF to Reflect Environmental Splintering, Shattering and Fracturing
As previously noted from prior sampling processes using MDF this material proved to be well suited to screen printing with its increased absorbancy and lack of bleeding out of printing ink. Through getting to know and understand this substrate I felt confident to upscale to a 4ft x 8ft MDF panel as one of my final pieces for the Personal Specialism course. I felt that to do so would generate greater visual qualities and impact given the overall imagery. From the outset I wished to conclude my investigative process with a creative process structured around the struggle for survival. I reflected upon a range of ways to express struggle in the visual sense, of the wrestle, scuffle, brawl, scuffle and tussle with the need for survival. I started to review the terminology used to describe what can be seen through such struggle…I immediately related to the idea of different fragile materials splintering and shattering, of materials being under increased pressure and tension as with screen printing processes, of the need to generate imagery based upon ideas of rupturing, shattering and breaking to reflect environmental disruption, of being broken and damaged beyond repair.
Some of the initial imagery used for screen printing was based upon natural textural surface qualities gleaned from coastal forms using dull ochre printing inks. From then hand cut stencilling was used on a series of blank screens to mask off to create a more dynamic, immediate and personal reposnse to what I felt in process with the material in use. I created a number of screens using newsprint which was torn and ripped to create sharp, jagged, and raw edges, dynamic shapes and lines which interjected both the exposed imagery of natural textural surface qualities and beyond. To increase the range of mark making and dynamism resist was used on the screens and the MDF to further break up any sense of flow with small squeegee use.
Although it was a struggle to use such a large piece of MDF to manovre and move it around different sites for screen printing I felt this was part of the process, to convey struggle from start to finish. Through the screen printing process however MDF worked extremely well with its absorption and lack of bleed. The smooth surface lent itself to screen printing and the MDF responded positively as the imagery was accurately defined with every nauance captured with every print. Every tear and rip was realised as the range of squeegees in use applied varying degrees of pressure through the screens. I felt that the hand made stencilling processes contrasted well with the chosen elements of natural textural qualities from the coast. The natural curved lines and shapes juxaposed with the more jarring line and shape which was created by myself as this resonanted more approprriately with the overall context and themes…of natures struggle for survival against man’s destructive encroachment into their habitats especially the marine and coastal ecosystems under ongoing threat. I liked the overall composition as I felt despite its increased size it worked well as a cohesive whole with a strong underlying narrative of man versus nature through the imagery and process itself. In this instance I was careful not to overdo the use of print and imagery, to have a mix of printed to unprinted areas to use the MDF surface itself to demonstrate sparseness and disappearance with more populated areas of print to denote collusion and conflict to produce a well balanced material piece. The adage less is more was well respected as I related and responded to the materials while in process, to respect the physical qualities and to work with such properties to showcase and respect. The darker cornor which was printed with a blank partially masked off screen using mid-grey printing ink was created to add specific areas of interest and contrast alongside a backdrop for loosely deconstructed scrim which would act as the base for weave and the use of entangled and unravelling warp and weft from previously worn and dyed knitwear used at sea.
Throughout the screen printing processes I was conscious of my preference to use an aspect of the very large MDF panel for weaving, to create a quality of richness with variety, to evoke a quality of response which resonanted with my context of environmental breakdown and its survival, of my focus to capture this in print and weave. With my own identity based upon the the Scottish Coast and marine environment I found materials which have been used and repurposed from such settings including scrim netting and a worn fishermans sweater which was donated from a male relative. The used scrim netting was already ripped but I pulled apart further strands to degrade and loosen the overall composition, to let the mid-grey screen printed MDF to be seen alongside other areas surrounding this area of focus. The dyed woollen grey coloured fishermans sweater was ripped and unravelled beyond the ribbed section bottom up to create increasingly dynamic and expressive use of looser weave, of disintegrating yarn bearly held together. I felt that the ripped and fragmenting taupe coloured scrim contrasted well with the grey coloured unravelling wool. While stitching was used this was removed as it seemed to detract from the freedom of the scrim and wool together to avoid any form of restriction and restraint. I felt the process of unravelling mimicked the disintegration and destruction of the environment as sections of the jumper increasingly disappeared from sight. The effects of unravelling were well suited to the narrative, as the yarn came apart it naturally created entanglements and beautifully formed knitted threads as the wool held on to the shape of the stitching. This then conveyed the stitching I was looking for alongside the woven effects as the remanents of the knitted jumper held its sculptural form.