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Screenprinting results – first layers

Here are some of the results of my first lot of screenprinting.  The sessions have been a bit here and there because I’ve been busy with other things and have had to pop in and out of my studio a lot, doing preparation and then leaving and popping back later to do the actual printing.  So at present I’ve only actually rinsed out the following green and blue fabric, the rest is waiting its turn!  But DS1 goes off to university in Warwick on Saturday and so hopefully next week I’ll have a bit more time.

I printed this piece using a screen which had thin masking tape stuck to it in parallel lines.  I heavily overprinted it in yellows, blues and greens and I like the effect.  It might just turn into a reeds piece eventually.  I’m definitely going to do more to these pieces of fabric.

green screenprinted fabric

This is a detail of a bit of it.

green screenprinted fabric - detail

The sun was shining when I took the next piece so there’s a shadow across it!  I used two thermofax screens.  The first, with the smaller prints, was originally a rubber (eraser) which I carved into a grid design.  I then used the stamp repeatedly on a piece of paper, scanned it into the computer and made a screen from it.  Then I enlarged a section  of the single stamped design (actually enlarged several), made another screen from my favourite, and the larger overprint is that one.  Now it’s hanging up on my design wall while I decide what to do with it next.

blue screenprinted fabric

This piece of fabric hasn’t been rinsed out yet and has been batching for about 5 days now just because I haven’t got round to it!  Slow fabric…  I ‘wrote’ a random design on a blank screen with thickened black dye and let it dry (this is breakdown printing) and then printed the screen with blue dye paint and clear print paste in a variety of values.  It broke down to the dotty design and then broke down completely and I filled up the remaining white areas with the empty screen using blue dye paint to which I gradually added black.  It’ll be interesting to see what it is like when it is rinsed.

blue screenprinted fabric before rinsing

This is another piece that hasn’t been rinsed yet.  I was trying to make a design which would reflect the diagonals of the reeds in the last couple of months’ reeds photos but our laser printer had broken so I had to do it using charcoal and gocco pens.  But for some reason the screen only partly imaged so the lines were very fine.  Maybe I need to run it through at a lower speed.  Anyway, I overprinted and overprinted this in a variety of shades of yellow and green and almost to brown so I’ll see how it turns out when it is rinsed.  It looks as though it’ll make a great background design anyway.  We’ve now bought a new laser printer so I will try again and photograph my drawings and print them out.  The fabric is very stiff at the moment with the print paste as you can see from the photo but this will wash out.

green fabric before rinsing

I painted this reeds design (which is vaguely what the above screen was meant to look like but without the dots) using screen filler and screen drawing fluid and haven’t tried it yet but I thought the shadow cast when it was standing upright looked very effective.  I may use it to overprint the above fabric or discharge it.

reeds screen shadowed

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FOQ purchases

FOQ seems rather a long time ago now but I was away last weekend and I’m only just getting on top of things again.  And I did promise pics of my purchases so here they are!

goodies from FOQ 

There were some new-to-me threads by Wonderfil so I bought a special show pack of five to try out.  These are cotton threads – I love the red bag they came in!  The large cream coloured spool and the black one are thick linen threads for book binding which I bought from Empress Mills.  I also got a couple of free sample silk threads just for going on their mailing list.   I bought the skeins from Crafty Notions – one is nettle thread, the other is hemp.  I thought they would make great texture for printing.  I also bought that red stuff that looks like a washing up scourer for printing, or perhaps to photograph to make into a thermofax screen.  Great texture, again!    I bought some essential though boring dyeing supplies too – replacement fume filters for my respirator from Art Van Go and some alum for natural dyeing.

books by Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan 

My main purchases, though, are these books on Screen Printing and Thermofax Printing by Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan.  I’m hoping to use these in the next few weeks – I made the most of the last few sunny days (now sadly disappeared) by soda soaking lots of fabric and drying it in readiness.

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Natural dyeing – the results!

Here we are … some of the fabrics I printed last year and just washed out.  I’m rinsing out about three pieces a day so even this is taking time!

I printed this one with a gocco screen.  It started out as an eraser which I carved to make a stamp, printed to make a repeating pattern then I scanned it into the computer and enlarged it and printed it out.   I then overprinted it with a screen made from a letter.  This is the washed out version – it doesn’t actually look much lighter than the original (some of them lost quite a lot of colour).  I think this is logwood.  Most of these are printed on silk.

house fabric ,

house fabric flat

This one is a screen made from a photo of a tree.  I printed and overprinted it in three colours of natural dyes.  This one did wash out quite a lot but I kind of like the subtle effect.  This is the unwashed version:

DSCN6112

And this is the washed out one.  Quite a difference, as you can see.  But I quite like it in parts.

tree fabric

This one changed the most.  It consists of two screens.  One is a gocco screen made from a stamp I carved of a bird’s foot.  I printed this one first.  Then the second screen is a blank screen with roughly torn masking tape stuck across it – it is supposed to look a bit like cracked mud. 

mud and bird print before rinsing

This is the washed out version – I like it more because you can see the bird prints more clearly.  The mud cracks are in two or three different shades of brown – this is just a detail of the whole piece.

mud and bird print fabric

I don’t think I have a ‘before’ photo of this tree, but it is clay painted using ochres from Clearwell Caves, some caves in the Forest of Dean which are also ancience iron mines.  I used soy milk as a binder.  The ochres seemed to wash out a lot less than the natural dye extracts I used.  It is painted on cotton organdie which is semi transparent so is a bit difficult to photograph.

DSCN8633

That’s all I’ve photographed at the moment – more to follow!

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Gocco printing using a plastic frame

A few weeks ago, Guenther Panenka of www.patchworkshop.de sent me a sample of a plastic frame he had developed which will fit in the Print Gocco machine to enable its use with unframed thermofax mesh.  He also sent me a few different carbon pencils.  So yesterday, I decided to give them a go!  I had a play with the pencils, shown below:

carbon pencils

This is my original image:

reeds image

I decided to stick with my reeds imagery.  The lighter, thicker marks were made with a Koh-i-noor Gioconda charcoal pencil and the thinner darker lines with a Phano china marker no 77 black.  I flashed it on to some unframed mesh and attached it to Guenther’s frame:

DSCN7737

This is the frame – you’ll see that it is the same shape as the Riso hi-mesh screens so it fits in the machine well.  It is thin and flexible and went into the slots easily.

When attaching the screen, it is best to have a hi-mesh screen alongside to make sure you attach it the same way round!  I didn’t do this the first time so had a bit of reattaching to do!

hi mesh screen and plastic screen alongside each other

I placed double sided tape all round the edges of the plastic frame and then stuck the mesh to it.  I then stuck sellotape along the two long sides and a small amount on the straight bits of the short sides.   For the plastic sheet which encloses the ink, I cut a rectangle off a cellophane bag and stuck it on to the relevant edge with double sided tape.  All this worked perfectly while I was printing.

completed screen

I inked it up and put it into the machine:

print gocco machine ready for printing

Here are some of the results:

reeds card

multicoloured reeds card 

squidgy reeds card 

I think this last one was just after I had reinked it…

I plan to overprint these with various images, but you can see the amount of detail compared with the original image.  I was using 70 mesh thermofax screen – you can get 100 which is finer, but i don’t have any.   Sometime I will give it a go with a more detailed image to see how the 70 mesh holds up.

I also overprinted a few other prints:

Gocco bird overprinted

And I printed a few reeds two or even three times on top of each other:

overprinted reeds

I could see these working well as a background.

overprinting the overprinted print 

And overprinted some decorated papers…
One thing to remember is to use ink blocking to keep the ink within the frame – this is a good idea always because it keeps the ink inside the printing area and saves ink, but especially with the plastic frames which are non absorbent – you don’t want ink in the slots of your Print Gocco!

If you want to order the plastic screens, go to www.patchworkshop.de and click on the top dropdown box in the left sidebar.  Scroll down nearly to the bottom and you will see it says Print Gocco. Click ‘go’ and it will take you there.    The site is in German but if you click the contact box you can email Guenther in English.

Guenther has also got a webpage with lots of hints for using his thermofax machines, a lot of which is relevant to Print Gocco users.  And he says that “the new Gocco-successor called A5 internally is (slowly but surely) developing”.

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