On Friday, December 8, I completed my fall semester Screenprinting class in the Printmaking department at NSCAD. I learned an abundance of information, made new friends, spent a lot of time away from my sweet family, was exposed to new art and ideas, had epic days in the studio where at times I felt frustration or elation with every new layer I printed. But that's the really cool thing about screen printing. I printed the colours. I created the positives. I put the emulsion on the screens, cut and tore the paper and printed the layers and when I curated and editioned the work I felt like I really, really accomplished something. I created the print! Entirely!
The pre-requisites for my final project included:
- 30"x22" - that is double the size of anything printed previously. I learned I like to print small.
- On an unusual material - something other than paper. I chose frosted mylar because it is like a drafting film used by architects whose job it is to imagine and create within rural and urban landscapes.
- 4 different positives, including a photographic layer
- 7 colours. When I started this class I thought maybe I would do 3 colours max. This was huge for me.
- Installation in a space in the NSCAD building where we took our class
My first two projects had a Cape Breton theme. My third project used a photograph and more graphic elements - which I am more comfortable with as a graphic designer and photographer. The 4th project was inspired by the Cape Breton landscape but interpreted in more of an imagined way.
In Photoshop I converted the digital images to bitmaps. Then I placed the main image, along with a few other images – the ferris wheel and the trees in the foreground into InDesign so that I could do a mockup with placement and colour. I would be interested in printing these as giclees on watercolour paper to compare the result with a screen print of the same size
The first layer (pink rectangle) was created from torn paper. Doing a flat at this size was much more difficult than I anticipated. The rectangle is 22" x 14". I found it hard to control the ink, but that colour sure is pretty. I mixed all of the colours for this project, which is exciting in its own right.
Test Prints: Colour and registration testing on paper. Both colours are a bit darker than I was expecting as I wanted to include a transparent layer or two in the foreground. I really had to think this one through. I printed five prints of the sepia/purplish colour on the right and then took a different route.
I love using bright, playful colours in my design work. The same is true for me in screen printing. I also enjoy mixing real and imagined landscapes which I learned from this piece, has a more universal appreciation. This is six layers in to the 8 or maybe it was 9 layer print.
A final pre-requisite was to install the work in the building at NSCAD. I chose to suspend my piece - it is back to back with a piece of stonehenge paper between. I chose a wooden frame to reflect the rural setting. In the third photo you can see the images that are back to back. It was a surprise for most of my classmates that the prints were different. A happy accident as my instructor put it : )
It was truly interesting to hear from my classmates and teacher that this print looked like the Yukon or Newfoundland to them. Even though I was inspired by Cape Breton, the landscape is interpreted differently depending on your experience.
I'm very excited about this direction and plan to continue screen printing. I'm hoping to set up a small studio space in my basement to practice this winter. I hope to do more prints, like these, on paper.
Stay tuned ...