KAT WOOD

Darkroom Construction Day 5 and 6

Day 5, plumbing in the sink. The darkroom sink is now flowing with natural spring water from the farm’s well, which collects the water running off the surrounding hills. Installing running water and expanding the darkroom will allow me to continue to experiment, develop my work further and eventually offer tutorials and workshops. 


Gelatin silver prints - Stage 1

Gelatin silver print is one of the most common form of photographic paper, introduced into general use in the 1880s. The prints are made with silver halides suspended in a layer of gelatin on fibre based paper. Gelatine silver prints are my go to when printing in the black and white darkroom, however as two of the main themes within my artistic practice are ecology and traceability, I am interested to know where the gelatine is sourced from and I decided that the simplest way to find this out was to make the paper myself. Local butchers Littlewood’s, who carefully source sustainable meat, set aside some of their bi-products which included pig offal and bones. These are then simmered on the aga for 12 hours, left to cool and then strained. 


Sheepdog Trials

Working dog behaviour is modified predatory behavioural pattern, developed through selective breeding, humans have been able to minimise the dog’s natural inclination to treat sheep and cattle as prey, whist simultaneously maintaining the dog’s hunting skills, thereby creating an effective herding dog.

 Essentially, working dogs have so much respect for their owner that instead of hunting the animal for themselves, they herd it towards their human.

A sheepdog trial is now a competitive dog sport, and is often a huge social event for rural communities. I headed over to Hayfield, The Peak District with an aim to meet local hill farmers and introduce both myself and the project. 

Sheepdog trail rules


-The dog must leave the handler and fetch sheep that are some distance away

-The dog must take control of the sheep and bring them to the handler

-It is against the dog’s instinct to drive the sheep away from the handler so an away drive is a good test and should be included

-The dog and handler should be able to combine to move the sheep into a confined space, typically a pen but in some trials they are asked to load them onto a vehicle. Other popular test elements that are often added include:

-The dog must separate the group into two groups in a controlled way in accordance with the instructions from the judge. This may involve some sheep being marked and the dog and handler working together to separate them from the rest or some variation of that. This is known as shedding and is almost always required to be done in a ring marked out on the ground.

-Singling is another test in which the dog and handler combine to separate one sheep from the group.

-Most trials include a cross drive where the dog is required to move the sheep in a controlled way in a straight line from one side of the field to the other in front of the handler but some distance away from them.

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