Blind Embossing Development

I have been working hard on developing my blind embossing from my previous post (https://laurendailly12.wordpress.com/2016/11/15/barely-there-prints) to make them larger and more enticing. After researching urban voids in Dundee, I came across an area of empty land that once played host to a jute mill at the Stack Leisure Park, Lochee. I used this site for my fashion film but I also wanted to show the importance of this site to my concept by using it in other aspects of my work. The striking gate that stands alone on this land adds to the emptiness this area brings in striking opposition to the bustling shops that lie adjacent. I wanted to incorporate this gate into my ‘barely-there’ prints on a larger scale.

As shown in my previous post, I started out making my embossing by using a photo plate. However, this technique limited the size of my print as the exposure unit itself was not very large. I decided to pop into the MakeLab at DJCAD and ask the amazing staff there if they knew how I could create a blind embossing on a larger scale. I was encouraged to use their laser cutter to engrave mdf and put this through the press with paper. I sourced an A1 board of mdf but due to the size and the detail of the image it was not going to be a quick affair. After multiple days on the laser cutter I finally got the depth of the cutting correct which resulted in a 10 hour session.

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After the laser cutting was complete, I put the board through the press in the print making workshop with dampened Fabriano paper. The softness of this paper works well with embossing, something I discovered last semester after trying out many different types.

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Here is a sneak peak at one of the prints, unfortunately they do not photograph very well but I believe in person they are quite striking. I will still need to work on lighting the print to get the full effect of the drawing and I may scale the print up again.

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When thinking about how I will display my print, I considered projecting a video, perhaps my fashion film, onto it which would display my models directly onto the site. However, after a discussion with a tutor I felt as if the prints were strong enough on their own and did not need the projection. I did not want to try and make one piece of work say everything.

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So with the end of first semester here, I am excited to continue developing my ‘barely-there’ prints to encourage viewers to notice the unnoticed, the forgotten land. When I am fully happy with the success of my embossing of the Stack Leisure Park, I may try making an embossing of different urban voids in Dundee that I looked at when deciding on a site for my fashion film. Stay tuned to see how my work develops in semester 2 as the Degree Show creeps closer.

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Shooting my Fashion Film

After the long build up and stress of gaining access to land; making the costumes; organising my models, photographer, and assistants; and worrying about the weather, the day finally came. That day was Friday. The skies threatened to pour in the morning which had me worried about the safety of the expensive video camera I had rented from my university but it came to nothing more than a drizzle and the temperature wasn’t too cold for a December morning (although my poor models would disagree). I got started early so as not to take up too much of my helpers day meeting just after sunrise to gain the best light for this time of year.

The night before the shoot myself and my amazing Granddad went to the site of my fashion film, the Stack Leisure Park, to mark out the land. As mentioned in a previous post, my aim was to spray the footprint of the jute mill that once stood there and this would act as a stage/catwalk for my models. We used string and rocks to mark out the shape and then sprayed on the inside of the string with white chalk spray. Thankfully the rain stayed off during the night and the footprint was still in tact for filming the next day.

9am Friday morning finally came so I set off with my video camera, still camera, two tripods, ladders and my amazing crew. Modelling my costumes were fellow fine art students Kate Forbes, Shannon Murray and Rebecca Etchels. My photographer was textiles student Aimee Keatch and also on hand to assist was my Mum, Gran and Granddad. Once the cameras were set up and in position I got the models in their costumes and started filming straight away so they did not need to be out in the cold for too long. Firstly I had the girls walk around the white lines as if they were on a catwalk.

I brought ladders and a towel to get both low and high shots and put myself in the centre of the lined area to pan around the girls. I had the models dance and make big gestures to catch the attention of those walking past.

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The lone standing gate was the backdrop that framed the busy retail environment surrounding the empty land on which my film was being shot. Shoppers in cars, buses and on foot looked on as the models strutted, posed and danced on the land. Some pedestrians even stopped to watch for a few minutes before carrying on with their day. My photographer Aimee took both behind the scenes photographs as well as stop motion images that will be used in my film. The girls posed in a dramatic, high-end fashion style again attracting attention to the themselves and the land.

I also brought a prop for the girls to use, shaving foam. This medium has been used in a lot of my work this semester and even on the costumes that the girls were wearing. I wanted to add a fun aspect to the shoot through the use of this prop. The girls ran around the marked lines spraying each other with foam and seemed to enjoy it a lot which came across in the film.

It was cold and stressful but it was fun. All of the planning for the shoot and it was over in less than 2 hours but I am very happy with the photographs and the videos and believe this to be a successful shoot. The main idea of the shoot was to fill the empty void of this land with my models and to get people who would normally walk past this land without a second glance to take notice of the strange emptiness in this urban environment. The stressful part is over but now the hard part begins, editing the film. I hope to make the film visually exciting while holding onto the theme of the void and highlighting the emptiness of this urban land.