Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Screen printing!

I took a two day workshop this past weekend to learn silk screen printing. It is the latest "thing" for our customers, and I knew so little about it that I wasn't even sure what to supply. Now I know enough about it to have a reasonable supply. I cannot, contrary to my hopes, instruct customers in all the methods of using the media during their visit to the shop... it's pretty involved.

In the class, I went nuts printing because... you can. You can whip out copy after copy of the image until you've had enough of it and tried it on every surface you can think of and your classmates start to give you room just in case you find them sitting still long enough to print them. At least, that's how it was for me.

In order to stockpile prints to collage, and repurpose later, I printed on cardstock with and without designs, a canvas, watercolor paper, tinted pastel and charcoal papers, and velvet. I didn't print on clothes only because my designs were faces, and that seemed unclothing-like.

Today at the shop I prepared a screen with photo emulsion. This is the one technique we didn't learn in class, and the method that most of our customers are using. So, I'm going to try it on my own in the coming days. Right now the screen is drying.

I learned that with silk screens you can:

  • paint your design directly on the screen, do some mojo, and print it
  • paint directly on the screen what you don't want to print (reverse process)
  • use black markers, sumi-e ink, or whatever you want to draw and then reproduce that image
  • use ready made stencils or cut your own out of anything, including just freezer paper
  • print through a plain screen to print a colored background (and you can mess with that too)
Honestly, I was hoping that I'd learn the techniques and then be able to say, "This is nice, but it's not for me." Instead, I found I loved doing it, despite the messy, involved, cluttery thing that it is. So, you can expect some prints to be showing up in my images here in the future.