Monday was my first day of printmaking. I was really excited to try out this new technique as I haven’t screen printed before but only lino printed, so it was all really new to me. I’d seen screen printing previously to this and I loved the effect it made and so I was eager to try it out!
Firstly we got to look around the workshops and see for ourselves how the actual screen was created. To create a screen print we had to create a design: this design had to be made in black pen ( or paint or even a printed photo) on paper or on acetate. The paper has to be covered it in in oil in order that it would become transparent.
Next the positive was put into a machine and a screen with light sensitive emulsion was laid on top of it. The machine uses UV light and vacuum to transfer the positive onto the screen itself. The screen had already been made up by Rose and Nelda so all we needed to do was put it into the machine. Once this was done, the screen itself has to be rinsed in order to take away any left over emulsion. This is done in a special room and with normal cold water. All of the excess emulsion must be removed otherwise the process cannot work properly. After all the emulsion has been removed, the screen must be dried with a hairdryer so that none of it is wet, the screen being wet would yet again disturb the printing process.
Although it wasn’t necessary we used brown tape to go around the edges of the screen frame so that the frame itself and the screen bed wouldn’t be damaged by the ink.
Next we attached screen to the printing bed, this was done with clamps and screws so that when we lifted it up and down to print and flood, it wouldn’t come off. Then we put some acetate underneath our print so that we could line it up with our paper when the time came to do a proper print. The acetate was attached with a piece of brown tape so it could be moved back and forth. We then attached a big enough squeegee for the print to the arm.
After choosing a colour of ink, the ink was applied at the edge of the print in front of the squeegee. The vacuum was then turned on which helps to keep the paper attached to the bed and the print to come out better quality. In this case we were only doing a mono-tonal print but with one colour on each side, so half of the ink was orange and the other a magenta.
The screen was then lifted off the bed in order to flood the screen by passing the squeegee across the screen but applying no pressure. Then we were ready to print so we lowered the screen and we pushed the squeegee across the print applying a fair amount of pressure.
After we were shown how to do this we were allowed to do a print on scrap paper ourselves. Here is the outcome of my first day in the printing workshop.
In the afternoon we came back and were told to go and do research about our song and come up with ideas for a print. We were also told how to create the positive for the print and the many ways in which we could do this. I knew at the end of this session that I wanted to use either black pen or paint on paper and then photocopy it.