I’ve spent a few days grappling with various pieces of equipment in an endeavour to work out a system for making screenprints at home. Previously, the screenprints I’ve done have been made at Edinburgh Printmakers. Their old studio has now closed and they are getting ready to open in new premises at Castle Mills soon. I hope to be able to join again and spend a bit of time making bigger pieces there when I can find the time. But Edinburgh is many miles away from Mull and it is nice to be able to make prints without the travel and time pressures.
At Christmas, I was given two screens by my husband, together with drawing fluid and screen filler. I tried to make a print with that, but I was disappointed with the results, and I knew I had to find a way to use photo emulsion and to be able to expose my own screens. I found an excellent little exposure unit online. It’s basically a clothes rail and a very bright light! A 1000W bulb. It certainly brightens up the room when it is on.
Last weekend I coated my screens with the emulsion and ran a step test to find out how long an exposure was needed. Then I set to work on a design to try it out. The designs exposed and washed out really well and I was delighted. Until… I spotted a typo on one of the screens! Then my printer ran out of black ink so I couldn’t print another transparency, so it was all very frustrating. Luckily, I had also printed a simple little Orla Kiely inspired floral design on part of the transparency so I cleaned off the incorrectly spelled words and repeated the process with the flowers.
Today, I set to with printing. I did two different one colour versions in purple and a sky blue, and then added yellow centres to some of them to make a 2 colour variety.
I’ve learned a few things along the way, and I’ve really enjoyed the whole process, even when there were setbacks.
Hopefully my new ink for the printer will arrive soon and I can make some more!