I started my experiments in screen printing with the masking tape stencil method, the main pros of this method being that it does not commit a screen to one design. Providing you do not leave the tape on too long it is easily removed after use. I used both torn and cut tape to create a design on the screen then played around with it for sometime just getting used to the screen printing process. Loosely based on some of the background work on pylons in my sketchbook.
It became a very steep learning curve! I had always assumed that screen printing would be quite an easy, simple process. It certainly looked it when I have watched others do it. It took me quite a while to get the hang of the squeegee and the amount of ink required for each ‘pull’ when I started I didnot mix enough ink to get a fully covered print. I also had a slight issue with newsprint paper that I placed undreneath my fabric. as it got wet it tended to crease which left lines on the print. It was an interesting effect but not one that I wanted this time. I rectified this by using some wall paper lining paper intsead.
My second attempt at screen preparation used a sticky backed plastic stencil, again this is not a permanent method and is easily removed. a simple motif that had been extracted from a section of one of my drawings was out of the sticky backed plastic with the ‘islands’ being carefully placed to create the negative spaces. I decided to play about wthe motif, printing on both plain, ready printed and and patterned fabrics from my fabric stash and achieved some great effects. I used a really cheap book covering type sticky backed plastic which obviously had very little adhesion and washed off far too easily. I am going to try some better quality material if I use this method again as it had started to peel off by the time I had managed a few prints! I really liked this motif and decided to keep using it going forward.
My third experimental technique was using a vilene stencil to create a background and texture. I really enjoyed this process and found it far more interesting than using a more traditional stencil. I loved the way you can build up colours to create both background and foreground together and felt this would make a great background for my final panel. It works really well in these sunset colours!
Yellow overlaid with orange – my favourite in this series of prints, I would like to carry this technique forward for my final print.
Preparation for Assignment 2
The course materials state that ‘ An important part of this assignment is that you show that you begin to understand the design decisions which lead towards a well-considered design on a piece of fabric of a set dimension.’
In preparation for my final print I experimented with some different ideas in sketch format as suggested they were no larger than a playing card. These can be seen below, various ideas emerged based on my sketchbook work and my printing experiments.
Some of the more successful ideas were then developed further and at a larger scale until a more complete idea was achieved. My final design is based on pylons ‘striding’ across the countryside against a sunset coloured sky. Using a repeated, overlapping motif developed during my printing experiments.
Once a final idea had been decided upon I started to work on the background stencil. As I mentioned earlier I chose to use the vilene method to create a background for my large-scale single design. I was delighted with the result. The only con being that I only had one shot at creating a background before having to wash the screen and allowing it to dry before trying again.
I then tried a couple of different ways of stencilling my design. because I wanted to print the positive shape and it was quite complex it was a little problematic and I started to wish that I had designed it the other way round!
Firstly I tried using the drawing fluid which came with the printing starter set I had purchased. The idea being that you paint the image you want to print onto the screen with the fluid, apply a blocking agent to the entire screen and rinse away the original drawing fluid leaving a stencil. Sadly this did not produce the sharp lines that I needed to make the design successful. As you can see below! A re-think was necessary……