Harlequin (2)

I am pleased with this design, no doubt. BUT I must admit that I do see what I should improve next time. I need to be more accurate in working out/ designing the repeat. I need to be a lot more accurate in marking the registrations vertically and horizontally. I need to be more careful with color – I would have loved this if the ‘mid- grey’ would have really been a tone in between the light grey and the charcoal. Finally – I should seek for inspiration in myself…  and not rely too heavily on stuff that I admire. Below is one repeat of one pattern/ repeat. The last photo shows the entire fabric and there you can see two horizontal lines, in between the three repeat rows – and they just don’t match!


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

Going Vertical!

This week my teacher de-mystified the process of covering a whole piece of fabric in a design. So with the 5 colorprint flowers I had learned how to go along the registration rail (horizontal) – tough and complex enough to have left my mind boggling about the next step… going up and vertical. I had a busy week leading up to this adventure, so didn’t get to time to work on a new design, I thus decided to recycle this one, but instead of randomly placing it on the fabric, really make sure it would make a nice overall design. And voila: Isn’t that total magic? brown on khaki v

Again, a lot of the work went into the alignments (thank God this was a one color print…): registration marks on the screen, on the rail and then up! You can see how that works here: brown on khaki















So basically, after the repeat width and height have been established, one marks THREE registration rails/ lines: (1) along the bottom rail (as in the 5 color print) (2) vertical (in the above photo in the foreground) a and (3) at the top of the last vertical repeat and on to that one notes again the horizontal registration marks. And then… one fills in the gaps… oh, it sounds so easy and straightforward writing it up in a little blog post 🙂

The Tale of Six Flowers (Part II)

I finally have received the photos that document some of the many stages of the nice 5 color flower print (design process described here):

2 of 5 colors 3 of 5 colors 5 of 5 colorsI will not describe ‘the lot’ – just point out that I prepared one stencil for each color, then one frame for each color (stencil placed in exactly the same position) and then marked the registration marks (where to place the frame for each ‘print’ or ‘pass’) along the rail: at the bottom of this print you can see the markings A and B. This is so clever: one prints all alternate marks (A) and then dries those prints, before moving to the other alternate marks (B)!!!

The Tale of Six Flowers (Part I)

I love looking back on a design process… how I started and where I unexpectedly ended up going…  so here is the pattern that was the source of inspiration, but I really had to simplify it for screen printing, especially I had to find a way of translating it into something that didn’t use any lines and also I had to re-position the flowers so I can make repeats on the fabric easily.DSCN7686

My initial colorway still relied too heavily on lines… and I realized that adding a partial background wasn’t going to improve the design at all.DSCN7688

I changed colorway and felt I had to adjust some of the flower heads…DSCN7687

…moving back to outlines made me see much better how the shapes worked together, and before adding color, I made a few photocopies.DSCN7685

Voila – and then I traced all the shapes for each individual color on a separate piece of ezicut (template paper) and cut out all the shapes  with a fine knife.









And today was the big P-Day!!! You see the result in the header, and here is a more detailed shot of ONE repeat:DSCN7733 It was exhilarating to print this – I realized quickly that I had so much to learn to get it done (position, position, position), lining up all the templates on to the frames correctly, marking the fabric along… boy… not to mention mixing the colors and washing the equipment after each color and thinking what colors to use… there were a few accidents (dropping a pot of freshly mixed paint, incorrectly positioning one of the templates on the screen, fighting with too sloppy paint, using a faulty screen that left a streak mark in each and every print…) – but that’s all part of the process. Ro took some pictures of the different printing stages, so I will post them in Part II when they arrive.

And – I have been knitting, oh yesss… but it seems I have not really posted nice pictures of the last 3 finished garments (booo!!!). Will do asap as I will get hold of a resident photographer here.

More Screenprinting

It’s been a fun day at the printing studio – there were only two students; me and Susie who is doing wood printing. So I had the entire printing table for myself. Last week I spent a lot of time getting the design together and cutting the stencil. DSCN7665

Today was P- Day (p for printing). Instead of just printing one single colored motif and hopping up and down with excitement I tried to master an entire piece of cloth. So here I tried not to smudge, not to drip, get some sort of rhythm going. Once I had the dark shapes on the fabric I squinted long and hard and a simplified shape echoing the first one seemed to be the right thing to do. But after applying the pink stencil there were still big gaps in the pattern. So I picked a gold with some metallic, added a drop of black and performed a kind of dance as I placed the yellow. DSCN7666

Finally I added printing paste to dilute the yellow, to get a lighter color and just printed willy nilly (randomly…).

It’s not a big piece of cloth, about 1.20m x 1m, so it’s too small for a table cloth. I think the pattern is too big to turn it into cushions… we’ll see what it will be turned into.

Work has not picked up yet at, it’s still slow at the beginning of the academic year, what a treat to have time for playtime!