November 1, 2016
I’d just returned from working on the MsAmsterdam and we’d been down to Hawaii, which is 3,000 miles from the west coast of America and a long way from anywhere. It took 3 long flights and over 20 hours to get back home. The jet lag took about a week to shake off, which isn’t as bad as it has been and fortunately I didn’t get a cold afterwards either.
So off I went to Leicester to join the lovely Zoe Potters textile screen-printing class for the whole weekend. I’d booked on this class weeks before so I’d have a treat to look forward to when I’m crammed in a cabin with someone else s crusty flip-flops under the vanity unit and flush free toilet. I even went to the gym one day wearing the previous occupants puma socks, not realizing that they’d been left in a drawer and weren’t mine!
In my mind I’m always superbly Miss Moneypenny prepared. The reality is I like to give myself the challenge of “winging it” to see how interesting that could be (it’s also a bit more stressful using this method). Consequently, I took no sketches, drawings or ideas for prints preferring instead to grab my sketch book on the way out. Its the paper place my brain likes to vomit into.
I picked a number of choice doodles which were enlarged on the photocopier and then traced over using an opaque pen of varying thicknesses onto acetate. When the acetate is exposed onto a coated screen using a light box the drawn areas wash away, which is where the ink will go. Next up it’s choosing and mixing colours. Ugh, Oh, the bit that gets my brain so scrambled because I cant pick one and I don’t see black and don’t want to outline anything in black. So instead I made a very, very dark green. When I mixed up the other 3 colours for the print I added a tiny blob of the green to each of those colours too (my thinking was that they would be more harmonious?)
It’s so bloody frustrating because I want the design to have a repeat, but obviously that’s not what I was there to learn. Instead i cut out a stencil for each colour and printed those using the lightest colour first. The process thus far had taken me a day and when I started to mix the blue I decided that I didn’t like it (I could punch myself in the face sometimes!) I printed it anyway and then decided I really liked it. I’m chuffed to bits with my first screen printing effort after 27 years. It was like riding a bike but with a it more jumping up and down and spontaneous clapping.
We tried using transfoil which Ive used in my textile work and sewing. The adhesive is printed onto the fabric, I mixed a little bit of mauve into the adhesive for colour. I lay the foil across the print and peeled it away. Then I off set the print slightly and reprinted. Im so pleased with what I’ve achieved and plan to maybe make some book covers. I’ve been on classes before and have just left the stuff I’ve made lying around because I don’t know what to do with it afterwards.
I’m now planning to become a member of Leicester Print Workshop and have already started on a printed clothing range. Its so important to take some time to indulge and connect with the things you love, to never stop learning…