Back in the Print Room after 20 years.

November 21, 2017 by Emma Davies   Comments (0)



A couple of weeks ago I had my 'refresher' course in the print room led by the brilliant Kevin Holdaway. An 'action packed' hour, crammed with instructions, hints and tips. I frantically tried to write down everything thing he said as we went along, as I did not want to break or ruin any equipment. I then went off for lunch to compose myself and gather my thoughts.

It really is a case of going for it. But sensibly (as in when attempting anything new and long forgotten). I took a deep breath and centered my paper. I followed each and every instruction. Kevin was trying very hard not to directly watch me as he was being busy around the print room, while I was trying not to look an idiot in front of the two students who were very competent around the equipment. I fessed up to one of the students - 'I am just going to watch you and do what you are doing!' 

I am screen printing.

The first muck up was that either I a. didn't add the mixer to the ink or b. I didn't add enough pressure. Either way - I know for next time. I'll do both.

As I got the hang of it my confidence grew. It's like riding a bike Kevin said. You'll never forget. By the end of the session my body was maneovering around the equipment like it was yesterday and I was a lot younger. It reminded me of muscle memory. Place my hips here, stand like this, stretch my arms there, put this amount of pressure on now, flick this like that......

Here is a list of things that I did:

Applied a ground coat of ink.

Applied a second coat - but rough, so it's mottled.

Made stensils of words from newsprint.

Centered them on the paper and ran over third colour.

I am making protest posters. These particular ones will be as my own fine art prints,  inspired by protest posters made by participants during the pilot of the participatory project 'You Can't Shake Hands with a Clenched Fist'.  

The next time I am in the print room is tomorrow. 

My plan is: Experiment mixing my own colours. Create some new grounds. Make new stensils. Experiment with layers of colour - see what works. Practice with the watercolour crayons - do they create the effect that I am looking to acheive? 

My first task is finding the same screen and remembering how to attach it - and if I can't, taping up my own screen to the size I need it. Hopefully there will be a student in there again to come to my rescue..... 

And if I could work out how to put images on this blog I would show you the results....