Screenprinting for the first time

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Last week I attended my first ever screen-printing class. I have adored this technique from afar for many years but always thought it was just far too technical and complicated, and that I would muck it up somehow so never actually tried to do it. It wasn't until The Design Kids advertised that they were going to have a class run by Home-Work that I thought "why not" and signed up the moment tickets were on sale!

I have loved playing with inks since back at university where I took as many letterpress and printmaking classes as I could and thinking about it, screen-printing is a very similar act, you have the ink, the plate (in this case, instead of letters it's the screen) and your end product (in this case we had a tote bag).

The way that Home-Work taught us how to screen-print simply made it so much easier for us to replicate again. Which was one of the things I really wanted to get out of the class, because knowing me I'd want to do it a hundred times again as soon as I left!

Traditionally screen-printing involves light exposure, and for every design you make you are required to have a-completely-nother screen. This has just sounded like a whole lot of work and so much room for errors. Home-Work taught us that we don't have to do it like that, and instead we can use a 100% exposed screen and just block it out with stencils using easy-cut paper, which is a thick glossy paper that is also (you guessed it) easy to cut out; meaning you can wash it and then re-use everything again!

My good friend Hollie (from Black & White Studios) came with me to the workshop and we collaborated on a design together. Because we're typography obsessed, our design of course simply had to include typography! We decided to go with doing a bunch of symbols in a grid-like format - an ampersand, a hash, an at, a question-mark and an exclamation mark. These simple yet dynamic symbols that when combined together just looked super kick-ass!

What do you think of our design? I think it's very on-brand for the both of us! (modelled by me standing in our bath at home with my pyjama pants on)

I loved the screen-printing process. Playing with ink and getting all hands-on with my work is so therapeutic to me. I love working on the computer, don't get me wrong, but changing it up and working analogue was a lot of fun!

My local art shop, Gordon Harris actually sells a bunch of screen-printing tools, including the ink that we used (Permaset Aqua) which is waterbased (so no gross oils going down your drains) and has incredibly strong pigmentation. I'm thinking of actually buying a set of tools so I can do some screen-printing at home, maybe turn some of my print designs into tees or totes hmmm?


I want to say a big thank you to the ladies from Home-Work for coming over to New Zealand (they're from Melbourne, Australia!) to do their screen-printing classes. And also a big thank you to The Design Kids for getting the ladies to do a special 101 class for us - and to Kelsey for the photos!

Have you ever done screen-printing before? Do you have a set-up at home, or do you go into a studio? Let me know in the comments below!

- Louise x

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