The traditional screen printing techniques we learned during our morning session were far more complicated and involved than I expected. Sure, I knew it was complex, but the number of products, steps, and equipment involved gave me an even bigger appreciation of artists who work with this medium.
Fiber Junkie member Val McGaughey is a member of the highly respected Southern Highland Craft Guild
. Her work is available for purchase at their various shops. We were so fortunate to learn from the best......you can't imagine how much time she spent setting up individual work stations for each of us, providing detailed instructions and equipment info, plus sharing all her dyes, transparencies, and best of all the use of her personal screens, many of which held images she hand drew.
We worked on long tables in Val's garage.....an excellent workspace with access to all the equipment, water, and no huge worries about making a mess.
Val's table set up begins with a 1" thick piece layer of fairly dense foam.
Then a vinyl, flannel backed material covers the foam.
And finally a piece of muslin or other fabric to absorb any excess dye.
Here Val is removing the plastic wrapping from a small ready-made silk screen. She purchases most of her products from the artist supply company; Dick Blick. Click here
to be directed to their link for screen printing kits which may be a great way to get started.
Before the screen can be used it needs to be cleaned....Val is doing that in a utility sink with a soft brush and Bon Ami on both sides.
It's well rinsed and then placed in the sun to dry.
Once dry, she raised the frame onto two jars........a spatula and squeegee at hand.
Using the spatula Val transferred textile emulsion (Ulano TZ) evenly across the top of the screen.
The squeegee is run down and across the screen to evenly distribute the emulsion.
It's now placed in her 'darkroom' shelves. If the screen is over-exposed to light at this point, its ability to have an image burned into it will diminish or disappear entirely. Val recommended that the screen be used within a hour.