£75 (30 x 30cm) each
(Shadow box framed by Manchester Custom Framing)
Building work is so much easier when you invest early on. Encourage one child (or preferably two as it is always good to have a back up) to take things apart and occasionally put them back together again from an early age. Nuture a love of ‘making’ – Airfix kits, quilts, simple electronic kits, glitter covered gluey messes, Warhammer soldiers, tin foil covered shields and swords, anything they want. Support said child when they want to make a living by working with their hands. Provide interest-free loans with the Bank of Mum and Dad to buy all sorts of serious looking wood working and picture framing tools. Then sit back and enjoy decades of payback.
Yes, said son Cal (check out his framing business) put in a solid 6 hours yesterday during which he installed three LED lighting panels, the polystryene panels to make a 6.6m design wall, a bookcase and a CD rack. All for the price of a McDonalds!
When we first built the studio we spent a lot of the available money on insulation as I knew that it would be hard to form a good studio practice if the studio was cold in the winter. With the rebuild the main investment has gone on lighting. Because I have a day job many of my studio hours are in the evenings. I originally installed 6 fluorescent strips and although I used ‘cool white’ bulbs the light was still not great. And the light fittings hum. And they cast shadows which makes it harder to photograph my work. So yesterday we swapped 3 of them out for 60W LED panels. They are brilliant. White light without shadows and without hum. The other 3 have been ordered and Cal is on standby to install them. It pays to invest.
Happy today? (detail)
When I needed to photograph a really big Ruins piece in August I ended up borrowing a studio and some lighting. (The design walls in my wonderful studio just weren’t big enough.) And whilst I was happy with the result it was a lot of effort to ‘book’ the studio, transport the quilt etc. So, with help from son Cal, I have built a system that will allow me to photograph big pieces and 3D pieces in the comfort of my own studio. Just in time to photograph my latest piece ‘Happy today?’ which is a double sided long thin piece designed to hang from the ceiling and pleat onto the floor.
We brought a 2.7m wide roll of photographic backdrop paper which sits on a narrow shelf built onto one of the long beams in the studio. This allows me to drop the paper down and along the floor. We brought a roll of metal mesh and used wood battens to fit a length to the ceiling in front of the backdrop roll. In the photo below Cal is using picture hooks and nylon hanging thread to suspend the quilt about 30cm in front of the backdrop. Cal made me two lighting stands. Each is a 6ft length of timber with four 10inch shelf brackets attached to the base to provide stability. He drilled out 3 holes on each upright through which he has attached regular bayonet light fittings. Having inherited my ‘tidy’ gene Cal put a junction box on each upfright so that each is run off a single plug. We used six non-directional cool white light bulbs to gave lots of good light although I need to invest in a better way of cutting the light from the french doors as this gave us a bit of problem with shadows.
Once we had finished photographing the piece we rolled up the paper and stored the lighting stands. (And moved tables, chairs and print benches back in place!). We have already decided that the system could be improved. Sometime before I use it again we need to get a 2.8m wood or metal pole to hang the roll of backdrop paper from so that it drops without any distortion. We need to replace the wire mesh with something more heavy duty especially if I want to photograph bigger, heavier pieces. And we need to paint everything white so that it looks nicer! Well maybe ‘need’ is a bit of an exaggeration but I do have the ‘tidy’ gene!