Archives for the month of: February, 2011

One of my goals this year is to learn new printing techniques, so I signed up for a screen printing class at the Art Students League of Denver, with my friend Theresa Haberkorn. Side note: one ulterior motive was to check out the League and see how it felt to drive to Denver for a class. I love the building and the atmosphere, and the instructor, Mark Friday, was super knowledgeable, clearly a professional. I’ll definitely take a class there again.

Here’s what I ended up doing:

First, In class we “prepped” the screen (wood frame with mesh) by applying a photo-sensitive emulsion. In a dark room, we applied several coats and let it dry. From this point forward, the screen had to be kept “in the dark” (haha) until it was time to expose it.

Then, at home, I created transparencies of the image I wanted to print out. On a road trip last fall, I took this picture of a truck carrying a huge load of pipes. I love it!!

So I altered the picture to give it more contrast (remove detail) using <unpaid plug> Adobe Photoshop products, and then I created another copy of the image and reversed the black and white, to create a negative. I asked Kinkos to print both images onto transparency paper. (If you want to draw, you can also use a Sharpie on the transparency, but I don’t think it works to run transparency paper through most home printers.)

So now I was ready to “expose” the screen. I placed both transparancies onto the screen, and put it under a super strong photo light (500W, I think), for about 20 minutes. Trust me, you didn’t want me to take the picture with the light on – it’s like looking into the sun!

After 20 minutes, the “pink” emulsion that was exposed to the light hardens, and everything underneath the black areas stays unexposed. You have to wash out the unexposed area as soon as possible, and thoroughly – something I didn’t quite achieve, as you’ll see in the finished product.

This is what the screen looks like when it’s done exposing and washed out. All of the white areas will allow ink through, and the pink areas are all blocked. And now the screen can be in full sunlight and it won’t get damaged, in fact I think it can stay this way for years, for future use.

The screen is now ready to be printed! Stay tuned for my next post, where I show you how to screen print (and with a cracked rib no less!)…

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I’m looking at Rebekah West’s 100 Everyday Solutions to Creativity Obstacles blog today. She is deeply inspiring and works in the realm of truth.

I’m looking within for clarity on where I am going with my art, but I’m continuing to mess around in my studio and feeling more playful again. I know I get a little winter nesting syndrome, and I don’t feel super inspired. But it’s passing, despite the sub-zero (literally) temperatures right now – I’ve recently smelled spring, and I know it’s on its way. Something shifts in me, and I get back to digging.

What I notice is also that despite going through this slow period, it’s not the same as starting over, which only really happened once, within the last couple of years, as I started creating art again after so many years off. These yearly nesting periods will just be part of the process, and I still have the knowledge that I’ve learned last year and while I was struggling over the winter. It’s all learning, and just like my professional career, it’s experience under my belt.

What experience do you have under your belt? How do you know it’s still there when you haven’t used it in a while?

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