Back in the day I did quite a bit of screen printing at university. Feels like a lifetime ago now though, and I didn’t really use it further on in my degree. Having said that I really loved this technique so when I saw a day course advertised in my happy home town of sunny (though technically currently very snowy) Bedford I popped the course on my Christmas wish list and was VERY happy to receive it!
Our tutor for the day, Katie, was absolutely lovely and walked us through a good basic technique using stencils cut out from very thin plastic acetate. Very quickly, lots of the long neglected memories of what to do came back to me and inspired by a lovely red uneven circle produced by another student on a different day I quickly began to embark on a silhouetted bird on a branch.
Here’s my first screen prepped and ready for printing:
I ploughed through and printed a load of my first shape. I was kind of heading for more of an orange but it ended up quite red so I played with the colour, adding yellow and orange to get some lovely mottled colours on some of the later prints. Katie also encouraged printing on and playing with some previously completed prints by other students.
The class was relaxed and informal and with just 6 students we had plenty of access to ask questions, other students to get inspired by and space to work.
After my circle, I designed a bird on a branch which I cut out and printed. You have to adapt designs with this technique to work with its limits – for example my bird isn’t quite sat on the branch but is hovering just above.
I went on to add some clouds, playing quite a bit with the colours and also experimenting printing on book pages to mix things up a bit.
Whilst my prints are most definitely not perfect, it was such a useable technique – easily replicable at home without all the mega equipment required for some of the more industrial techniques I have used in the past.
For a bit of fun at the end of the day I had a go a making a mini screen with a unicorn design. This didn’t print up brilliantly – I think the screen blocking solution/gunk needed longer to dry and cure before printing but was nevertheless was loads of fun and the kids loved it when I got home! (Easy to please crowd here – Unicorn? Check! Rainbow colours? Check! Big hit? Check!)
So here are a few of the final prints that are my favourites. Be prepared to see more printing soon – I *may* have purchased some silk screen fabric and have my eye on building a screen in the coming weeks – whoop!