Annis Fitzhugh





Paper title

Digital at DCA Print Studio - Making the most of new technology without abandoning traditional skills


This paper explores the impact of introducing a range of new technology to a traditional open-access print workshop. The model envisaged is one of maximizing the potential of interfacing digital manipulation and production with traditional print-process, in order to exploit the best of both. 
DCA Print Studio currently offers an unparalleled range of equipment in a public facility, and is extensively used by artist members, students, schools, colleges and community groups. (Slides 1-4) Thanks to a successful application to the Scottish Arts Council (SAC ' now Creative Scotland) we are currently investing ú75,000 in new technology to be embedded with traditional print equipment. Already furnished with world-class facilities for screen-print, etching, relief and lithography, our strategy is to integrate high-specification computer-aided design technology in a way that enhances rather than replaces these analogue processes. 
A major aspect of the DCA programme is the production of editions with artists in the exhibition programme. The enhanced facility will offer a unique environment where artists can select from or combine digital, photographic and autographic print-media in one studio, using the most contemporary technology available as well as the most antique. (slide 5)
The new technology includes:

• Digital laser-cutter for accurate cutting and engraving of paper, wood, acrylics and stone.
• Digital router/engraver for metal, plastic and wood matrices.
• Digital knife-cutter/pouncer to render imagery in opaque film (Rubylith) and/or vinyl.
• Large format digital printer for creating halftone positives and for high quality inkjet printing.

All the new technology described requires minimal physical dexterity or strength and will greatly enhance the potential of users with disabilities to work independently.
To my knowledge no other public-access facility offers such a symbiosis of old and new technology. 
The new equipment has been procured and installed over the course of 2010.  This paper will therefore be the product and record of the first few months using the new technology and will seek to illustrate the following questions:

• How are traditional print processes enhanced or transformed by the availability of the new technology?
• How much does the new technology contribute to the adventurousness of users, previously limited to traditional processes?
• Does it encourage users who would not previously have used digital technology to incorporate these interfaces?
• Does the new technology bring in new users, from further afield, and increase footfall in the studio?
• Are users able to move between digital and analogue processes seamlessly in the production of their work


Wednesday 28 September


11:00am - 12.30pm





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