Artworks ready to print…the Oregon Maple

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All set to start printing the microscopic imagery on the swathes of yellow lycra material. These lengths of pattered fabric will be stretched between the trunk and branches of one of the Oregon Maple trees in the main square.

Materials – yellow lycra fabric, black screen printing ink and fixings.

I will post more images of the set up and process of screen printing the Oregon Maple artwork.

Screen printing yesterday

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Yesterday Olivia Hassett spent the day printing the linear cellular imagery from the Oregon Maple onto fabric, which is soon to be hung in the Oregon Maple tree. Under the direction of Hugh McCarthy from RUA RED and with the kind help from Peter Hassett they completed printing on over 16 meters of yellow lycra fabric. The fabric is now ready for installing.

See images below of the process involved.

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Before the artist could begin screen printing she had to liaise with the printers to develop a screen specific to this project. To create a screen for printing with firstly the artist spend a week working on the imagery (in black and white) to send to the printers. The printers then made a transparency of the image, which was then photographically etched onto the mesh screen. The transparency blocks where the image is black and a blue photosensitive ink was laid down in the white areas. The final result is that the black areas are clear on the screen to allow ink to be pushed through creating the image.  Initially the artist did some paper tests to check out the ink consistency.  Also whenever the screen was over flooded it needed to be cleared by printing multiple images on paper.

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Firstly the Screen must be flooded with ink then laid down in a very specific position on the fabric. The squeegee is then pulled from the top to the bottom of the screen pulling a layer of ink before it and through the open printable areas in the screen.

After one image is printed the fabric is pulled through ready to print the same image on the next section. The fabric must be partially dried with a hair dryer before the artist could go any further otherwise the wet ink would have printed itself onto the underside edge of the screen. Before printing the next image it is crucial to line up the printed image with the screen exactly so that there is no large gap or overlap of the images.

This process is repeated until the fabric has been covered in its entirety. As the fabric had been cut into two long swathes it took 24 repeated prints before the job was done.

Then came the job of drying the fabric ready to move. Finally the fabric will need to be ironed to set the ink so it will not run.

Behind the artworks – The Oregon Maple


The Oregon Maple, location: Main square.

The main point of interest for our team and key inspiration for the artwork was the bracing system. This is a very precise system of high tensile stainless steel cables that have been stretched between the heavy limbs and the main trunk thus spreading the load of the heavier branches throughout the tree.

An interesting piece of information is that when the tree surgeon has drilled the correct size holes to insert the support rods he has only a 30 second time frame before the tree will start to repair itself and begin closing the holes.

Large yellow tendon-line artworks have been created by the artist in response to this tree.  These swathes of fabric will be stretched between the limbs and the trunk of the tree on the left mirroring some of the steel cables in the bracing system.

The material used for the artwork is a large continuous length of elasticated lycra. The imagery printed onto the fabric is inspired by the microscopic photographs taken from a cross section of a small branch highlighting the linear cellular pattern of the maple.  

The team will post some images of this art work after the exhibition opens to the public on Friday 29th of September 2017. 

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Image 1: the scanning electron microscope image that inspired the artwork for the Oregon Maple.  

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Image 2: the in-between image. The artist worked with various photoshop filters and touchup techniques to arrive at the final result.  

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Image 3: is the final artwork that was transferred onto a printing screen.