Harlequin (I)

This is what I have worked on last week in the printing studio. My challenge (=homework!) was to create a non- floral design and work out repeats on the pattern, so that an allover print would align nicely, phew! So here is the image that sparked my imagination: DSCN7789

I turned it into a black and white print to work out the repeat within. DSCN7790

But then I realized that – oh my! It’s shapes are much too fiddly for me to print – and I enlarged the image and lost most of the repeat in the process! DSCN7791

So… then I took a deeeeep breath and thought that I can can can work out a repeat “all by myself”. I did something that is called a ‘Swiss repeat’ where one cuts up the original and turns it inside out to get the pattern to match on all the repeats at the sides. So this is the result and this photo certainly does not reflect the headache involved… DSCN7792

Then I made a master drawing and I noted the repeat measurements in the top right corner, as well as the registration marks (to be put on all the different stencils). DSCN7788

Then I make a sketch how the colors should be placed. DSCN7787

Screen printing ‘the old fashioned way’ is so very elaborate – if nothing else, I hope to have conveyed that in this post!

In the meantime, I have been printing – and did not finish all 4 colors! I only have 3 hours in the studio. It took me over 1 hour to register all the (FOUR) screens, put registration marks on the rail and the fabric… mix the colors… And I did not take a photo! But I was able to leave everything on the table (re- setting it would be impossible) due to the school holidays (nobody is using the studio) and will take a photo first thing Tuesday morning.

It will be a fabric I will be very proud of, even though each and every repeat is more and more out of alignment, yes… it is. By the time I printed the top, the repeats look like I was drunk whilst printing… still, it is pretty awesome. I will re-work the entire design with more precision and do the registration marks next time with more diligence.

But what I can say – doing all this by hand is

  • time consuming
  • copying the design by hand (and the stencils) creates so much margin for error (the pencil line is 1mm – how many lines are there to give you 1mm margin of error???)
  • using old wooden screen frames (that have not got clearly defined corners and edges) creates (compounding) margins of error with each repeat!
  • amazing and so much fun – because doing everything manually leaves the residue of the process in the artwork – no mechanical process could achieve that distinct character of this work
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