Asemic

I spent most of today wanting to stab myself in the face with a fountain pen but the Mr., with his astonishing tenacity, saved me, yet again, from yowling despair.

After some weeks dithering in the stagnant pool of procrastination I woke up yesterday knowing what to do to pull my exhibition together; I could at last get on with the job of forming an actual thing. The utterly delectable photo paper I’d ordered had arrived on Saturday morning, I had the ink I needed (for stamping, writing, and printing), the tools, the supports, and an idea I could barely wait to try. It involved printing fifteen six and a half centimetre, square cropped, photographs and arranging them like tiles on a rather nice chunk of old wood (from some lost item of furniture) I have, before writing over the whole lot. I spent some time choosing and cropping the images before lining them up for printing; it would take only two sheets of paper. The first one came out brilliantly – good paper makes such a difference! – but the second sheet wouldn’t go through the printer, or, rather, the printer couldn’t grip it. I googled. Sometimes the coating on photo paper can make the rollers of the printer slippy I was told, clean them and things should be fine. After about three hours I worked out how to clean them, cleaned them, and tried again. The paper still didn’t go through. I tried with ordinary cheap paper, it worked, so I tried photo paper again (a precursor of the delectable stuff) it didn’t work. I googled some more, then gave up. I fell into bed last night totally spent.

This morning the Mr. tried from his computer with a photo of his own but my super paper, it worked; maybe the printer had just needed to compose itself after being harrowed by its cleaning the day before. I set up my shots again, put a sheet of paper in the printer and pressed print; the paper wasn’t taken up. The Mr. tried again, ditto. I looked at the pieces I’d made so far, and pulled out every printed image I had lying about: nowhere near enough for an exhibition; how, I wondered, was I going to get past this problem? The Mr. kept trying, but I felt sunk.

I gave up and went outside to fill two old chimney pots with rocks and compost ready to plant with summer bulbs. When I reentered the house I found the Mr. bent over his screen still trying to solve my problem, and getting nowhere but frustrated. Now I felt despair and guilt, so I went out to buy tobacco. While I was at it I got some paint stripper and chatted to Davy in the hardware store about the weather; picked up some chocolate and talked to the women who served me about hair (theirs is gorgeous, mine is the sort children point at), and, as I passed, noticed cheese scones in the deli window so went in and got one for the Mr. (and grabbed myself one of Julie’s Tarte Tatins). I also dropped into the bookshop, having been struck by an idea, and after a calming browse left with some ancient, shabby sheet music. By the time I returned to the house I had resigned myself to never printing another photograph again, while ideas for making the prints I already had fill a gallery were percolating like sewage in a heatwave. As I stuck my head into his room to give him his cheese scone the Mr. told me he’d found a way round the problem (multiple exclamation marks). Gentle force.

Sometimes with heavy paper the printer’s rollers struggle to get purchase; the solution is to give the paper a shove as they spring into action. My first attempt at this was not good, I must have pushed off centre, and the image came out squiffy. For the second I made sure to push precisely in the middle and it was better. I guess I’ll get better at this with practice, but now what am I going to do with all those new ideas (not to mention the sheet music)?

19 comments

  1. Welcome to my world. I get to the point with a project where the next stage is to print and I sit at my desk gazing at the printer and ponder the hell I am about to put myself through. I put off printing. Sometimes I am successful and other times I end up sobbing in a corner. I’d love to own an idiot proof, tough printer that had psychic powers and would understand exactly what I wanted it to do.
    I printed on canvas recently…. the trick was to feed it through with another piece of paper that came with the canvas…. it worked like a dream… ! I was beside myself that I hadn’t spent hours on it!
    Good luck, Eyrl and I hope your printer continues to play nice!
    Sx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m ashamed to say I giggled…but felt sisterly frustration at the same time. So pleased you have a tenacious Mr.! Where is the exhibition being held..I shall want to see it.

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  3. I feel your pain! I almost killed my sweet Canon printer, shoving heavy printmaking paper through it.
    And what a wonderful place you live in! Here, I have only Americanised strip mall supermarkets. How wonderful to chat with a chap at the hardware and pop into a deli and be able to buy ONE cheese scone.
    Looking forward to the exhibition!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Are you saying you have no small independent shops? Cripes, I don’t know how I’d cope if I couldn’t buy one (handmade) cake, or pop into the hardware store to ask for advice on mothballs.

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  4. I confess that I gave up on printing. I only use this thing here for simple DIN a4 b/w text things, and that is it. I once ruined a printer cleaning it, the material of the rollers became too brittle afterwards.
    Anything else I put on a stick and bring it downtown to a printing shop. Always the same, for years. They do nothing else but printing on diverse surfaces, textile, plastic, papers, you name it. Nearly any size, we even made one time (years ago) kind of flags. They have the right cutters – there is nothing as good & satisfying as an industrial cutting machine that takes off these damn two millimeters exactly, it’s always two millimeters. Sometimes precision counts.
    It will be good what you do.

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  5. You’re probably very wise, I should go to a specialist printer and get the job done properly, but I’m so indecisive I’d spend my time running in and out because I’d changed my mine yet again. Once I’ve printed all the small stuff I’ll know, I hope, which photos need to be big and will send them off to be done professionally.

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  6. Well, I’m impressed. I mean, I’ve been patting myself on the back for FINALLY learning how to cast on for a knitting project after a l o n g, l o n g time of practicing. But an exhibition? Thought, prep. execution, and then presentation? I’d be in a corner asleep!!! Well done you and well done, Mr! xoxo

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  7. Printing — I know, even the word makes me qualm. I do what 63mago does — take it to a bloke who has been printing since the Boer War, and who has printers the size of cars to do it with.

    And re your correction above — I would hope that the launch does indeed come with at least a wee bit of lunch! πŸ™‚ Good luck!

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