March 5, 2018

Photo-emulsion screen prints

I posted this first by mistake on my In the Kitchen blog. Now I'm putting it here where it belongs, and have added a brief comparison to thermofax screen printing in the first paragraph.

Last week I made a couple of silk screens using a photo-emulsion process for getting the image onto the screen. Here's an explanation of photo-emulsion screen printing. Happy as I am with the napkins I've printed with paper laminated screens, I was interested to try out the photo emulsion process, as certain other things are possible with this method.  (The same things are also possible with a thermofax screen, but the maximum width of a thermofax screen is 8.5." I could make these photo emulsion screens 18" square, and one could go larger.)
  • I can print a sharp-edged image, including a fine-line drawing (detail above, and image of whole screen below). I wrote out in caps the same quote from Martin Buber that I've used before, but I did it on a much smaller scale, writing onto a Wacom tablet so that the image went directly into a Photoshop file. I wrote on the diagonal, and then, in another layer on Photoshop, superimposed the diagonal going in the opposite direction. I like very much how this came out, though I would have preferred a somewhat larger scale.  

  • I can print a line drawing, as above, and have the line be what prints (here dark blue). When doing a line drawing on a paper-laminated screen, what prints is the background, leaving the line itself white.
  • I can play around with a photograph, using filters in Photoshop to abstract it, looking for an interesting design.  Here's a photo I took of a sheet of baklava I had baked, and then the printed result of a filtered image that I put into a repeat:

Many thanks to Andrea Ferrigno, who teaches printmaking at the college where I worked for many years, for taking the time to teach me how to use the photo-emulsion equipment recently purchased by the college, and to student assistants Kristina Mengis and Kristen Marvin who helped me step by step through the process.  For my ability to use Photoshop, a shout-out to the Pixeladies, Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki, with whom I've taken three online classes--their classes are great!

February 15, 2018

Napkins--patterns, colors, sets

I've been working on screen printed napkins off and on for about 18 months now, since a workshop with Claire Benn in October 2016.  At this point, I've developed nine patterns that I like, and about 10 colors, with about that number again tested and put aside. Through the sample making, I now have a large supply of lovely napkins for myself, and I look forward to making more for occasional house gifts. I'm thinking that before a stay, I would send my host pictures of the colors, patterns and possible types of sets, and ask what they would like as a gift.  

Double-click on any image to see it larger.

Here are some sample sets:

ONE BASE COLOR, four different patterns, 3 different screened colors (navy, black, burgundy, black)

ONE BASE COLOR, four different patterns, one screened color

on each napkin, ONE COLOR, TWO TONES 

ONE PATTERN, different colors

ONE PATTERN, different colors

ONE PATTERN, different colors




Here are the color combinations that I like. (For variations of blue on plain muslin, scroll down to the table of images of all the patterns.)

light blue and black
light blue and dark blue
blueish green and black

blueish green, 2 values same color
gold, 2 values
gold and black
lavender and black
lavender and dark blue
lavender, 2 values
light gray and black
light gray and dark blue

medium gray and black
magenta and dark blue
magenta and burgundy

magenta and black

rust and black

rust, 2 values
rust and red
turquoise and dark blue
turquoise and black
turquoise, 2 values
red and black
yellow-green and black
yellow-green and dark blue
yellow-green, 3 values

And here are all the patterns, screened on a base of plain muslin with either one pull of dark blue, two pulls of dark blue, or two pulls of one dark and one medium blue. Further explanatory notes on how each screen was made follow the photos. (Note, there is some backstaining when washing out the dye, so the base color on plain muslin ends up a very pale grayish blue, rather than the cream color of the original muslin.)

bowls-over-printed horizontally

All the above designs were made with paper-laminated screens. For an explanation of the basic process, scroll down in this post. I realize that much of the explanation below of individual screens will likely be confusing to someone who hasn't done screen-printing, but at least it will give you some sense of the method. And since the original post, I made a couple of additional screens through a photo emulsion process, described here.

baklava (photo emulsion

quote-diagonal (photo emulsion)

BOWLS: I made a dozen or so stamps in a bowl shape, cut from a double layer of adhesive foam sheets and then stuck on foam core (easy stamp method learned from Carol Soderlund). I stamped onto the screen with matte medium. For the more complex over-printed design, I printed once with the screen in a vertical orientation, and then a second time with a horizontal orientation.
CLOVER: This is a motif taken from line-drawings I did several years ago. I put the design into Photoshop, made it into a repeat, printed it out, and then put the printout under the polyester to serve as a guide for drawing the design onto the screen with matte medium. (The drawing implement used is a squeeze bottle filled with matte medium.)
CROSS-HATCH: I ripped up pieces of masking tape and applied them to the screen in broken vertical lines, then pulled matte medium through the screen. When the medium had set, I pulled off the masking tape. The cross-hatch design was made by pulling the resulting screen twice, once in horizontal orientation and then in vertical.
QUOTE: The quotation is from Martin Buber: "When one eats in holiness, the table becomes an altar." I wrote out the quote in capital letters with matte medium. The screen has been pulled twice, once vertically with a dark blue and then horizontally with a medium blue. On the first version, the lettering is somewhat readable if you know what you're looking for. For the "fragmented" version: I made a reversed second screen from the first, so that I could be printing the letters themselves rather than the background. Much detail of the letters was lost in the process, but I love the fragmented look.  This was printed twice, horizontally and vertically, but all with the same color blue. 
SQUARES: These two screens were made by using a 2" plexiglass square as a stamp (method/design from Claire Benn). I brushed the square lightly with what Claire calls a "manky" brush--a brush where the bristles have been cut into. In the first screen, the matte medium was applied rather heavily, so the squares are almost entirely blocked from the screened dye, and you see mostly the margins between the stamped squares. This was screened twice, horizontally and vertically, to get enough of a design on the cloth.  In the second screen, the matte medium was applied less heavily, and you get more of a sense of lines across a number of the squares. This was screened just once.
VINES: This design is based on a quilting design that I use frequently. I drew it on the screen with matte medium. The screen has been pulled twice, once horizontally with a dark blue and then vertically with a medium blue.
BAKLAVA: I took a photo of a recently-baked tray of baklava and manipulated it through filters in Photoshop to get a simplified image. That photo was then used to make a screen through photo emulsion.
QUOTE-DIAGONAL: Same quote as for the other screens, but printed out quite small in capitals using a Wacom tablet, so that the image goes directly into a Photoshop file. In another layer, I turned the diagonal 180 degrees to get overlap, leaving one with the sense of letter forms, but the words are not readable.

And for any bloggers out there who wondered how I got the images nicely set into tables, see this helpful tutorial by Sharon Brennan.