During my MFA coursework at SCAD I constructed my first large canvas, while encountering numerous problems and structural issues related to building larger frameworks. Years ago I discovered an article about a new way to stretch canvases, which introduced aging issues for consideration. My initial large stretcher did not address tension adjustments and required restretching due to flimsy wood and other missteps causing sag. I wanted to learn more about conservation and fluctuating tensions in stretched fabric. Commercial alternatives are an option for some artists; however, the cost of aluminum solutions with hefty freight fees meant they were financially prohibitive. Also, I wanted a personal system based on self-reliance, so I began designing a flexible aluminum stretcher system I could use for large work using off-the-shelf materials at local hardware stores. Screen enclosure aluminum is readily available at Home Depot and informs the system's moniker.
After some trial-and-error I had notes, a system, and took a few pictures along the way to document the system, subsequently sharing it with a professor. He suggested that I make a video for students. While they're cheaper than commercial solutions, the project requires a budget, planning, and significant time and I had no experience creating videos so I dismissed the suggestion. But, this past spring I created an internship opportunity out of producing and documenting Florida Stretchers.
Along the way I also prepared a demonstration model with the intent to donate the work and system to the broader artist community to modify for their purposes. And, that is how this project emerged. The enclosed system is for artists to take and use as-is, or custom tailor as a template and foundation for your own ideas and project needs. Florida Stretchers provided new areas of learning and is perhaps a little hokey. But, it is also a first attempt at video, 3D, and animation. I do hope you find it useful.