Translating this blog IRL

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I was invited…

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to show my photographs…

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at the new Walter Fedy architecture/engineering/construction firm’s new building on Queen St., which is…

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cool, and just…

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my kind of place.  The show curator, Suzanne Luke, encouraged me (and the other photogs in the show) to do something different for presentation.  So I thought about building a physical instantiation of this blog. Linear display, small prints, top to bottom.

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I picked up some 3/16”x3/4” hot-rolled steel angle and some complementary flatbar at the fabulous Metal Supermarket out on Forwell Rd.  Also picked up some sheet metal.  Three great things about that place are (1) the have everything (steel, aluminum, copper, brass), (2) the prices are *way* better than a typical consumer store like Home Depot or CTC, and (3) they will make as many cuts as you like for no additional charge (thanks Loong!).  Oh, and no minimum order.  Sweet.

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The thing you gotta know about any steel that you buy is that it will be lightly coated in oil to inhibit oxidization.  So you gotta clean it before you…

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paint it.

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In case nobody told you, when you finish a coat of paint, invert your spray can and press the nozzle for a couple of seconds to clear it of paint.  That way you avoid gumming it up (thanks Pops!)

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I reckoned it was a good idea to get one light coat of paint down on the steel after stripping the oil off and prior to construction to prevent rust.

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Once I had everything cut, filed, drilled, and assembled, I hit it with another couple of coats of flat black paint.

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Fortunately, these days, we know enough to wear a respirator when painting and nitrile gloves when working with solvents.  Right?

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I sprayed the 8”x12” sheet metal plates black on the back and white on the front.  These provide support for the prints and prevent curling (thanks Suzanne and Dave!).

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The plates are fastened to the angle rails with neodymium magnets.  Infinitely adjustable and all clean lines with no fasteners.  For you perfectionists: yes, there’s a little overspray of the white paint, but…

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the front looks great, and that’s the business end of this rig.  I created the prints with a generous white border and use 5mm x 7.5mm neodymium cylinder magnets from the awesome Indigo Instruments right here in Waterloo to stick the prints to the plates.  Painted the magnets flat white so they would be more subtle.  Thanks to Meghan Kreller for help with the on-site assembly.

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I’m really pleased with the overall effect.  Once the rails are hung, the photos will sort of just float.  I hit my reuse design criteria in that the plates can be mounted either portrait or landscape, any number of plates can be used, longer rails could be built to scale the rig up, and smaller multiple prints could be stuck to the plates a la Hockney for a different effect.

Hoping (and by “hoping” I mean “about to volunteer so that”) we can get ourselves organized to have an artists’ reception for friends and family.  Stay tuned for that and then come out and see the whole rig in place.  Also hoping to sell some prints, so if you like anything you’ve seen on makebright, just reach out.

Happy making,


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3 Responses to Translating this blog IRL

  1. H. says:

    Keep us posted FOR.SURE.

  2. JB says:


    I wonder how they would look with an Ambilight ()

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