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Screen printing Saturday

February 7, 2011

I love screen prints. They are bold and graphic yet pleasantly organic. But until very recently, I had never created a screen print of my own. So, I signed myself up for a workshop at the Olive Grove Studios in Brunswick, and on Saturday, I made my very first screen prints.

Although I am drawn to the boldness of the designs which can be created, and I enjoyed the variety of intriguing techniques that were introduced during the beginner’s course, I’m not convinced that screen printing is for me.

I discovered that screen printing requires a fair bit of specialized equipment. At the very least you need a screen, squidgee and printing inks, but for the best results you will also want a special padded, water-proof work surface. You will also need lots of space to work, preferably in an area that is easy to clean and which has easy to access to a trough and hose for cleaning up. And cleaning up will get messy, so the trough is best located outside. In other words, screen printing in a cramped, rented unit, (like where I live and work), is best avoided.

I also learnt that I have an aversion to messy artistic processes. As a little girl I loved nothing better than getting my hands dirty. In photos of my childhood I look happiest when my hands are dripping with mud, paint or wet sand. These days, while I love working with inks and paints, I don’t like to splash them around, and generally prefer keeping gunky substances away from my skin. Although the inks used in the workshop were all water-based and non-toxic, I still found the process unpleasantly messy.

Despite my personal aversion to gloopy substances, I would highly recommend the workshops at Olive Grove to anyone looking for an introduction to screen printing. Rose has a remarkable practical and historical knowledge of the art form, as well as several decades experience as a talented practitioner and teacher.

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