Screenprinting is one of those things I have wanted to learn to do for ages and when I say ages I literally mean years. But you know, life gets in the way and it seems hard to justify spending the money on doing something fun and just for yourself, so you keep putting it off… But at the beginning of this year I promised myself I would finally learn and dragged my sister along for the ride too.
Our course was held at Handprinted in Bognor Regis. It’s about half an hour’s drive from me, but not a part of the coast I’m at all familiar with. The classroom and shop is on an industrial estate just outside town which doesn’t sound terribly glamorous, but it does mean they have a big workspace upstairs and a large area downstairs for all the stock they carry.
Our first task of the day was to create simple paper cut stencils to try our first printing exercise with. Being asked to come up with a design off the top of your head in front of a group of strangers is quite daunting, but they had some great printing books to browse, including this book which is full of really inspiring doodles (and there are loads more in the same range too)
I started with a bird and turquoise ink (can you tell it’s my favourite colour) repeating the pattern across the fabric and getting to grips with spreading the ink on the screen with the squeegee. Jane did a bird design too, in pink.
Next we moved on to photo screenprinting which uses light and heat to transfer a stencil directly on to a screen, with this process you can create more intricate designs which you draw by hand on acetate and then you can print on top of paper stenciled screenprints. I decided on an abstract design with repeated circles and Jane printed plants.
We nicknamed my rather Ikea-like design “Slavodd”
Afterwards we still had a little bit of time to print a couple of t-shirts which I had brought along. Printing t-shirts has been one of my main motivations for learning to screenprint and I couldn’t wait to try one particular idea out…
The stencil took about 15 minutes to make and then about 2 minutes to print – I think I love this process already!
I left via the shop having bought a starter kit and full of ideas!