It has been just over a week since I finished my one-month residency at AGA LAB, Amsterdam. I’ve only just managed to unpack all the physical output from my stay there, and am just sorting through the intrinsic baggage now. At some point, I will post a re-cap of my time there, but for now, here’s a top ten (two-a-day for the rest of the week)
10. Coffee grounds hand soap
A revelation! Take spent coffee grounds – there are plenty available as the Netherlands is a coffee-enthusiastic country. Put them in an open pot. Apply cheap hand soap to hands. Put hands in grounds to make them stick. Use as you would any expensive pumice or industrial grade soap. Rinse! There were cotton hand towels at each sink to dry off, and only one paper tower dispenser in the whole workshop.
There were many simple, low-cost, sustainable solutions to practical problems within the LAB, and this was a great example of that.
9. The Gym
The workshop is a converted gym, replete with high ceilings, basketball nets and floor markings. Somehow, the sportiness of the space really adds to the physical atmosphere of printing. As there were no solvents in use, it is entirely open plan, with screenprinting, relief, etching and litho housed on the ground floor, and digital printing and finishing on the mezzanine. Everyone can see what everyone is doing, which I found quite inspiring, although I can understand that traditional, 19th century-style etchers (!) might be alarmed by the sounds from screenprinting.
There are adjacent wet rooms for screen reclamation and
plate preparation processes, as well as a separate space for darkroom
photography, plate exposure, and a semi-closed space for aquatint.