CC/21 - Monday Morning Setbacks II

Jon Wheeler

Emulsion on silk screen

This blog post is a continuation of last week’s situation, of which you can read more about here.

After taking notes from last week’s unsuccessful screen exposure, I adjusted my course a little in the hopes of avoiding disappointment. I added another whole minute to the exposure time so the emulsion would adhere better to the mesh. It’s always a bit of a nail-biting experience when you begin spraying, hoping that the stencil retains its shape.

Just as the washout was nearly done, I noticed some edges of emulsion begin to peel off (you can see at the centre of the image above where parts of the violet emulsion has lifted off the mesh). Lo and behold, another week’s worth of prep work literally washed down the drain before my eyes. To hold an unusable screen in your hand after all that effort is utterly disappointing. At this point, I’m not sure if it’s because I need to cook the screen even longer in the sun, or if it’s because the emulsion I’m using is too old, or if it’s because of the way I’m washing the screens out. Whatever the fuck it is, it's back to the drawing board as I figure out how to solve this issue.

That period when you're fuming after a setback is undoubtedly the most frustrating, but I've found that if you can force yourself to jump straight into troubleshooting mode, your brain can override your emotions. If you can make a habit of kicking your logical/rational brain into gear immediately after a negative situation, it makes subsequent incidents easier to stomach. Turning things over and over is the surest way to lose your motivation since emotion takes a hold and strangles your willpower to actually resolve issues. Acknowledge the disappointment, but let it wash over. Use every single setback as a chance to glean some sort of insight, even if it's tiny.

Everyone says it’s challenging to learn a new skill, and no matter how much you acknowledge this fact, you will never fully appreciate it until you actually do it yourself. It’s unbelievably frustrating to fail time and time again, but I'm gradually coming to accept the ironic beauty of the process. The struggle is what makes that feeling of accomplishment so extraordinary. Once I’ve correctly exposed these screens, and printed the entire collection, I’ll look back on this experience and know that I persevered. Writing this and sharing it with you is my way of keeping myself accountable. There’s simply no way that I’m not figuring it out - I’ve made a promise to myself and to you that it’s just not an option.


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