For years I’ve been dreaming of owning a proper drying rack. By this I mean one of those vintage wooden racks, beautifully carved, with glass marbles nestled in the holes to hold the paper in place.
Up until now, I’ve dried my prints flat – laid out along the table and all along the floor. This is extremely impractical for all sorts of obvious reasons and it was time for a change, not least because I now use oil based printing inks, which take a lot longer to dry.
My studio was built as an extension at the side of our house, in a long and narrow unloved side-yard. We basically put a roof over the space, and because there were no walls for windows, we built a big glass roof lantern into the ceiling. It struck me one day that this was the perfect space for a print rack – up high, out of the way and in a warm and light place, catching the sun’s rays. I spent days researching racks and trying to find one to fit into this space. Then I panicked about the budget and spent yet more days researching home-made racks and planning complicated construction methods involving wooden dowels, metal hooks and bulldog clips. I was going round in circles, never satisfied with the result.
But one morning I woke up calm and clear headed, went to the shed and came back with a roll of steel wire, a pair of pliers, some tacks and a hammer. I raided the peg bag and within an hour had rigged up a not-very-beautiful but perfectly serviceable drying rack. And it hadn’t cost me a penny.
The rack is now my favourite part of the studio. I love that my prints have their own space to dry and I don’t need to worry about treading on them or accidentally putting something down on top of them when they’re still tacky. They look lovely hanging above my workspace and cast beautiful shadows about the place. The only tricky bit is climbing the step ladder to hang or retrieve a print!