I went into the printmaking workshop with next to no experience in the practice, I didn’t know what to expect but I found that the process was actually really relaxing and although you could just print out something on paper with a printer, I began to see how the process allows you to experiment more with the materials and textiles you print on.
Starting off with my design, it had to be split in 4 layers (for the 4 colours I’d be using) which had to be black in order for a stencil to be made. This stencil then allows the ink to be pushed through to create your print. Firstly though I had to rub vegetable oil into these layers that were printed off, this was to make the paper translucent apart from where the design is.
These then go through a pre-press process in which the screen is covered in a chemical or emulsion before an exposure unit burns away the unnecessary emulsion, leaving behind a clean area in the mesh with the identical shape as the desired image.
Then what’s left is to wash away the sections revealing the design.
So the screens were setup to print with, next I had to mix my colours using acrylic paints and a medium, this was to ensure the paint didn’t get stuck in the mesh, it allows it to pass through easier.
We set up the screens with layers 1 & 3 on one and layers 2 & 4 on the other, this was so after washing the first screen, it could be left to dry whilst I used the other one for the next layer. Before actually printing I had to cover part of layer 3 with tape, this was just so when I was printing the ink wouldn’t go through the other design and ruin my prints/make a mess.
I made a lot of test prints to start with to get used to the technique which I didn’t get right the first time, the angle I was holding the squeegee at was wrong and it pushed more paint through than I wanted. You can see the ‘blurred’ bits around my design, that’s just where more paint went through on the bottom of the screen. We had to wipe this off and make test prints until it didn’t do it any longer.
Eventually I got to the actual printing and I had a lot of fun, using registration points and a large plastic sheet I lined up my paper to print. I acquired a variety of coloured 150gsm paper to do this because of my projects roots in William Morris work. I wanted to play with different backgrounds and see how it affected the design overall just by changing the colour.
I took a lot of photos during this process so I’m going to place them all below before then posting photos of finished prints. For these I used the colours green, cream, yellow and a light blue. Please click them to see larger versions!
After spending most of my first day getting used to the technique, I spent a second day in the workshop doing a slightly different colour variant that I thought went well with the backgrounds I had gotten.
I haven’t got every step for each print unfortunately but when I do more I will try to document each print better with each layer. Again just click the thumbnails above to see larger versions of them, I’m going to post my favourite ones underneath this bit of text, I really liked the gold one and the glittery one because they both added something extra to both pieces. I chose varying colours based on Morris’ work, my aim was to almost mockup my own wallpaper and with the gold one, I felt like it added a really luxurious effect to it and the glittered card had a similar effect but it was much more subtle. I really enjoyed experimenting with different textures and finished card, I found that the paint transferred better on some and worse on others. I also found that the colour of the layer I was printing, changed sometimes depending on the colour of the background.
Thankyou for looking at my work, please feel free to leave feedback if you have any, I’m always looking to improve my work!