Guinea Fowl Feathers, Screenprinting, and Summer

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Today, we had sunshine. We adventured, and enjoyed the lazy warmth. Tomorrow is a bank holiday. We have packed our bags, made the sandwiches in advance. We're setting off early for a road-trip up to the Lake District. We're going camping. 

I've charged my camera batteries and have readied my foraging bag: I'm going in search of design inspiration for painting, printing and stitching. There's been an awful lot of all of those things happening here, but not a lot of photographing. That's mostly because, in addition to a bit of camping preparation, we're also packing. We're moving house in three short weeks. There's just no space to set things up, or to get close to a window for some natural light. 

So, as Miranda says (and I do so often quote Miranda in my daily English life), bear with. 

Instead, I shall show you what we've been up to in Screenprinting Class. This week, (week five already!) we focused on registration techniques and continuous prints. 

We printed up my guinea fowl feathers (a firm class favourite) in a light grey silver. Print, print, print! Hairdryer! And then, all of a suddenly, your plain calico is transformed into a designer drape a la feather print. We've been using a new kind of paint and it's really very good; it just prints straight into the fabric weave and binds fast when you heat-set it.

We used masking tape to register our small screens, and pattern print-outs to figure out which bits go where. This is the least technical way of doing things, for sure, but it's quite nice to see how to go about things with minimal equipment. And you know - our prints were spot on. Even when we realised that we had accidentally diluted the paint at one stage and needed to redo a print. We just zip zipped straight over the light print and voila! Done, and done.

Also, accidentally-on-purpose table prints. I love the layering of paints on this leatherette! I wonder what else we could print straight on to? Walls, floors, seat covers? Definitely. I'd love to print a wooden chopping board. With small screens and minimal fuss, our printing equipment is quite portable. I'm looking forward to using more technical methods in the coming weeks, but - for now - I'm really quite pleased with the experimentation phase. 

And now, the final camping packing awaits. My worst bit: trying to choose a minimal amount of clothes that will last us four days in unpredictable weather. I've set myself a goal: all of our clothes in one small bag - with books, sketch pads and knitting too. I might put the kettle on. See you later this week!

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