Screen printing: how I created project two

I forgot what it was like to be a student and take a class that requires a lot of outside class time. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but whoa ... it's a lot of work. You may know what I mean, learning how to do something new with so many variables for mistakes. It's stressful and exhilarating. Every step I take in the process is new and scary and I mess up a lot! As a graphic designer, I design pieces on the computer and then I upload them online or send them to print. DONE! With screen printing, it's a WHOLE process. I'm going to explain the steps for my second project. Must haves for this project included use of:

  • cut paper as a stencil or burned onto a screen
  • rubylith (really good for doing a large flat of colour)
  • velvetone (great for doing rubbings or frontage)
  • use of any other material we've already used (acetate, tracing paper, etc)

The first step for me is to consider the imagery to use. With this class, my focus is the Cape Breton landscape. I have a bunch of Cape Breton photography and for my first project I based my print on a Mabou sunset. It didn't go as planned and I made a lot of mistakes but I really did learn so much. By the end of my 5th colour I think I got the hang of pulling that squeegee across the screen.

I went to Cape Breton for the Thanksgiving weekend. I took a piece of velvetone to the beach with me and did some rubbings on driftwood, beach rocks and plants and then on the siding of the cabin where we were staying. I also took some photos of the local scenery and for the first time in my life took photos of the schoolhouses in Glenora Falls. These two abandoned buildings are next door to my parents-in-laws' home. There are 'No Trespassing' signs on the lawn, which I stayed behind. I see lots of photos of these buildings in my Instagram feed during the summer months and I thought they'd make a cool print - what I created is not an exact replica, but a re-imagined image. 

Inspiration Image: Glenora Falls, Cape Breton Island

Inspiration Image: Glenora Falls, Cape Breton Island

I used cut paper for the background colour of the hills. I cut the rubylith in the shape of the houses and then I used cel vinyl on the acetate for the sky. Cel vinyl is a really fun material to work with. I drew the details of the buildings on tracing paper. One of the velvetone rubbings is used on the sky. 

THE PROCESS: from creating the positives, to burning the screen to printing two different editions (same design, different colour scheme).

No Trespassing I

No Trespassing I

No Trespassing II

No Trespassing II

This project took 20 hours to complete. I KNOW! It's crazy... but also I'm new to screen printing and just learning the process. I'm sure it would take less time with more practice. The steps included:

  • putting photo emulsion on 2 screens
  • creating positives on rubylith, velvetone, and tracing paper
  • burning positives on screens
  • choosing 2 sets of colours - this took forever! Mixing colours.
  • cutting newsprint, mayfair and 2 different types of paper to size
  • punching holes in the paper for pin registration
  • printing 4 layers of 2 separate editions - allowing each layer to dry
  • tearing paper to size
  • cutting interleaf to place between each print
  • curating (choosing the best prints that match each other) and editioning work (signing)

Complete!