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Tag Archives: Screen Print
Although I’ve finished the screen printing assignment I’ve still been doing a bit for my own enjoyment. String resist. String resist back (which I particularly like). Gold printed base with yellow & orange overlay using shredded paper resist. Patterned base … Continue reading
All week I’ve been making chemical water, thickened paste, mixing dye colours and trialling my dye screen-printing. Today I took a time out from that while my prints are batching and attended another screen printing workshop.
This one day event, run by Cath Derksema of Prints Charming, was a delight after my not-so-great experience a month ago elsewhere. Cath is an experienced printer and designer with a long history in the textiles industry. In the early ’90s she developed “Art Park” a multifaceted design studio designing prints for manufacturers including Seafolly, Billabong, Carla Zampatti, Table 8, Target and Woolworths (the Australian one, not UK). In 2002 she created “Prints Charming” selling into America and now locally through Spotlight.
A few of her currently available designs are featured here. Most of the samples she showed us were large crisp uncluttered images printed onto predyed fabric bases. I was particularly interested in looking at the same design printed in different colourways as per the two pictures above on the left.
The day was aimed at paper stencil cutting and overprinting. We were given white cotton, medium weight, around 1 x 1.5 metre to work on with several small sample pieces for us to use for initial trials.
Cath uses Aquatex fabric colours which come in concentrate form and are mixed with a clear bonder, or you could call it an extender, before use. This picture shows a few of the colours we could use because we had already made our initial choices and taken them to our workstations. There was certainly no shortage and we mixed other variations as we went.
Cath cut a simple stencil and showed us how to apply it to fabric, how to correctly hold the squeegee, how much paint to use, how to get a good clear print and finally how to clean up. Her sample is to the left. I’ve not cropped it so you can see the wonderful array of prints she has happening on her drop cloth. Frankly there were enough ideas on that just to get us going!!
I had taken along some of the images I have been developing in my sketchbook for my assignment. They are fairly straight forward and easy to cut, not too involved for paper stencils and easily repeatable when they are saturated. However, if I were to do this again I would use my plastic paper instead of photocopy paper then I could wash my stencils for reuse because I quite liked them but they are now in the bin of course. Here is the piece I came home with:
I’m extremely happy with what I learned today and the result I got. The print registration was done by eye alone, there was no measuring and I’ve done a set of 6 full repeats plus some partials. The only random part are the pink motifs which have been placed haphazardly where I felt so inclined to put them. This now needs to be heat set before using and I’m thinking of tea dyeing the whole thing afterwards as it seems a bit stark, but we’ll see.
Positives from the day:
- The chance to use yet another type of fabric paint and I’ve found I much prefer this brand to my Derivan ones. They are less ‘plastic’ looking and alter the hand of the fabric to a much lesser degree. I’m told that once they are heat set that reduces even further.
- Still on paint – it was terrific to see how easy it is to mix and ‘dilute’ colours to achieve very different effects.
- An opportunity to see how a professional prints, explore her method and see how that fits with the way I work.
- I learned that this process can be quite quick and fun and less laborious than I have currently been doing. So a change in my own practice will now be made.
- I was delighted to see the different stencil designs from each participant and how they built their surfaces. This has given me food for thought regarding my future work.
Negatives from the day:
- It’s over.
I’ve been reading up on screen printing and collecting materials for my current assignment. I did a two day course about 4 years ago but have forgotten pretty much most of what we did so thought I would do a one day refresher. It was certainly an eye-opener. Some aspects were very interesting and informative whilst other parts were pretty abysmal, but they clearly demonstrated some of the dos and don’ts of the process.
- A bound folder of comprehensive notes detailing 17 different resist and pattern making techniques.
- The opportunity to see and try some of the above techniques with a tutor advising.
- Each participant wanted to print for different reasons and on different surfaces so a wide variety of questions were asked and answered, a lot of which would not have occurred to me working alone at home.
- An explanation of the slightly padded printing board/surface – even though we weren’t allowed to use the one there and worked on folded towels.
- Disorganised, unprepared and products not readily to hand.
- Old and unprepared wooden frames. These had not been either varnished or protected by any tape so the main one we were using had slightly warped. Insufficient frames for one per person (there were 7 of us) so we all used the same one in rotation for each technique.
- Tutor admitted frames were not routinely cleaned in a timely manner so the meshes were stained making it difficult to see through for accurate placement. There were also a couple of small holes/tears in one of the meshes.
- Fabric paints were old, end of tubs, and tutor commented that she wished to use up old stock. Paints had separated and were ‘moussy’ indicating they were coming to the end of their usable life (tutor’s words). Colour palette limited to green, red, blue and a smidge of old globular yellow.
- No layering process covered.
- No information re blended colour or using multiple colours together.
- Fabrics were not pinned or secured in place during printing so multiple people had to help out for each print.
Whilst this sounds pretty poor it did provide a lot of knowledge concerning what can be done better and I’ve prepared my equipment and set my work space up accordingly. Here are my results from the day:
Powder resist – Left: on paper with the only bit of yellow we had. Right: on thick textural cotton fabric. Due to the speckled appearance I think this technique has a lot of scope for layering on top of other prints.
Foliage & masking tape resist – Left: plant foliage used over calico fabric. Right: masking tape adhered to screen with overlay of plant resist print. I tried the green print twice as it simply wouldn’t work. There was speculation that the paint had dried on the screen.
And that’s it for a 3 hour car journey in each direction and 6 hours tuition!!!!!
What I’ve learned:
- Preparing frames correctly will increase their usable life-span and paint cleans off duct tape much easier than off porous wood.
- Clean frames immediately after use.
- Stir/mix paints well before use and ensure they are still usable.
- Prepare a large print work surface where either multiple small pieces of fabric can be pinned out or a larger piece can be worked on.
- Have a water source nearby and a hose if possible.
- Have a hanging or drying area nearby as each piece needs space to dry out, preferably flat initially.
- This workshop used block printing ink. My local art shop tells me that this is designed for paper and dries out too quickly for screen printing. They suggest using screen printing inks (sounds logical to me) as they have a slight retardant in them to avoid this problem. The workshop tutor didn’t know the difference between these two products. I wonder if this is the reason my prints are so poor or was the folded towel base too soft?
I’m starting my own experimentation with Derivan screen printing inks before moving to thickened Drimarine K dyes.
I have another one day screen printing workshop at the end of May and I’m looking forward to seeing how it differs from this experience.