Wednesday, 16 November 2011

handprinted: catching the wave

Well phew, I didn't drown! Actually, these look more like clouds don't they? I have been thinking of them as crashing waves, like really rough surf. perhaps because I had a pretty rough time getting these done.

I was so inspired when I became aware of this fabric swap - oh and an apology to my swap partners or Leslie the organiser if they happen to be reading this, the responsibility for taking this on was completely my own and I was delighted to participate but do have to be honest about the process - and jumped right in without really thinking what it would be like for me to have a deadline. Now I know - not good.

When it's up to me I work furiously on things for a few days, or even weeks if I'm lucky, then let them lie fallow until the creative spirit moves me again. This can take a long time. I also make my stuff at home, by myself, no requiring any technical assistance which is why it can also take a long time if there's a thread colour I need, or a type of ink. Needless to say, this style of making stuff is not really compatible with a deadline and a screenprinting project that was really beyond my at-home resources.

LinkFirst of all, I had to burn the screen, that is use a light-sensitive photo emulsion to create the screen image ready for printing. No, first I had to buy the screen, a big one to make a fat quarter size print. And for that I went trekking across town, kids in tow, to an industrial screenprinting place that sold me a used one for $15, once I found them in an old building in Interbay, down a flight of stairs and through a door, and down a hallway. Actually, that bit was quite fun - I enjoy exploring.

Then I bought the photo emulsion and a pouring device and the light bulb for the exposing and then decided that I just couldn't face it and booked in some time at the Vera Project's silk screening studio. That didn't turn out so well - apologies now to the Vera Project in general because I think they have a great facility and programs going there - but the day that I went in the guy 'helping out' in the silkscreening studio was a total ... if I used the same language that was in the music that he had playing in the studio, I would have to rate this post 18+.

I mean, the screen got burned fine (although not large enough so I didn't manage to print fat quarters) but I found the whole experience incredibly demoralising. Perhaps it was just my own self-consciousness about being there (which was sky high), that I wanted to ask them to turn off the insulting music but didn't dare and then was frustrated with myself, didn't really know what I was doing and wasn't getting any help - whatever. Anyway, I felt really old.

But, I got four pieces of re/upcycled linen printed with the image of a block print that I made, taking the design from the end papers of an old book. They are not great - the printing is not great, they are not large enough - but they are done and I am happy with the visual effect and I stayed true to my values by using recycled fabric. I particularly like the slightly offset version where I used the black and silver. And I got awesome swap fabrics in return (more on those next time).


Di said...

Sorry the experience wasn't so good for you, but glad that you got it done! You live and learn. I think perhaps a case of aiming for the sky (yes, like clouds I think) when it may have been less demoralising/frustrating/hair tearing if you had aimed lower (which is what I did... however I am eager to try something a bit more adventurous now, although I think the photo emulsion process is still a bit too much for me to embark upon just yet).

Di said...

Forgot to say I do like those clouds (or waves) and yes the overprint one is gorgeous- Silver no less!