02 December 2012

Monster Mash.

This weekend I had the absolute pleasure of meeting some new folks! I enrolled in a quick tutorial workshop on screen printing with Joe at Monster Gallery.

I've done screen printing many times before, but always on screens of my own designs that I had made elsewhere. Never had I experienced creating the image on the screen myself. And I was amazed at how simple the process was.

We enrolled ahead of time. I found out about the class on Facebook, through various arts organizations that I follow here in Singapore. (See, Facebook is good for something!)

On the night of our class six of us showed up, each with our own black and white drawing. When I walked into the studio, The Velvet Underground was playing on a record player. I knew instantly that I was in the right place and completely happy to be doing this on a Friday night after a long week at school!

The drawing I brought was a tracing of one of my nephew Oliver's drawings. It's probably my favorite. It looks like a Picasso. It's a portrait of my sister dancing. Have you seen my sister dance? It looks just like her. And he even incorporated foreshortening. He's 6.

We sat down at a small round table. In front of us was a little dish filled with screen filler, our screen, and a packet of various-sized small brushes (a regular pack of 4, soft bristle). After tracing our drawing onto our screen lightly with pencils, we began painting the screen filler onto the part of the screen that was not to be printed (the white or negative part). It took me a minute to figure this part out because I had so many stripes, but I managed. (My attitude with anything creative:  it's all fixable, just do it.)

Once the screen filler had been painted onto the screen, that was it! We let the screens dry and we were ready to print!!

Since we were printing onto small bags, test prints were required. Test prints help to discover if you have any areas that need a second or third coat of screen filler. I had a few spots that needed to be touched-up, but for the most part it was a pretty clean print.


The ink we used came from Speedball and was specific to fabric. But Speedball sells all different kinds of ink, so it's best to have a look around before you decide which one to buy. I've never had a problem with Speedball and the colors stay vibrant forever, which is great! It's also important to make sure that the squeegee you are using fits nicely in the screen, and one run is all you need (especially with a small screen).

I really love how loose this process is . . . For me, it opens up another avenue for drawing. As a 3D person, I have a tendency to get stuck when entering 2D land. This really helped me see different ways I could approach drawing, and where aspects of drawing might be able to fit into my sculptural work. I could basically do free draw with the screen filler on the screen and print the results. Awesome!


My little bag that I printed on is going to be turned into a gift bag for Christmas. My plan is to sew additional colorful elements onto the bag and then stuff it with goodies.

Feeling a bit nervous about learning this process alone? Sign up for a workshop with Joe, or look for one in your area. I know that Joe is hosting several more workshops before the end of December, but spots fill up fast! Check out monster-gallery.blogspot.sg for more information.

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