Environmentally sensitive printmaking: a framework for safe practice.
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This research is concerned with establishing a rationale which will link safe printmaking practices with artists' individual and sustainable creative practices, by investigating the preconception that printmaking practices may be limited by adopting such an environmentally sensitive approach. This has been investigated through a practice-led approach, which implicitly involves the researchers' professional practice as a visual artist printmaker. The cross disciplinary nature of this practice-led research has established that diverse and non-text based sources be included in the literature review. The resulting contextual review established the evolutionary nature of printmaking practices, the role played by individual artists perceptions of risk, and the limited ability of available literature to adequately link evolving and didactic creative practices to emergent boundaries established by environmental and occupational health and safety legislative criteria. There was evidently no theoretical framework for linking these apparently divergent criteria. The multi-disciplinary and practice-led context i. e. the research was generated by practice and carried out through practice, determined the range of methods employed: questionnaire, quantitative tests of materials; participation in, and initiation of collaborative case studies; documenting workshop practice and visual development of printed art works; and exhibition for peer review. These multiple methods and their complex interrelationships were visualised as a system of consequential actions, in order to externalise possible alternative actions and choices made by the researcher in response to this research. Analysis of these methods revealed that: the collaborative case studies and the researcher's own visual and practical response, established that a systematic revaluation of practice could link the idiosyncratic and individual creative practices to the use and selection of nonhazardous practices, which did respond to objective occupational health and safety rationale. This revealed the extent to which a systematic re-evaluation of 'established practices' may be synthesised into the working practice of the researcher and lead to the diversification of that practice - visually and practically. This process has resulted in the generation of a body of printed art works which implicitly embodied the hypothesis developed in this research; the development of a electronic database or 'morphological framework', which initiates a sequential examination of process at a structural level, collating, comparing and promoting previously un-considered alternatives based on a heterarchical model of risk. This process has offered tangible means of visualising the generative processes involved in making prints. The 'morphological framework' has implicitly linked the researcher's printmaking to a sustainable and environmentally sensitive creative practice, which is methodologically transparent and procedurally transferable.