Two-tone turtle prints

At last I managed to expose two screens without incident this week, so was able to experiment with adding a second colour and different finishes to the first colour I’d already printed.

(Incidentally, rather than using the design on tracing paper to expose the screen, I photocopied it with higher contrast onto white paper, and then made two copies on acetate, which I taped together. This resulted in a much sharper design on the screen.)

As you will see, registration was a problem. I tried to line the screen up by marking the positions of the corners on the print table with masking tape, but it wasn’t entirely successful!

Anyway, here are some of the results.

Deep pink ink:

Copper foil:

Silver pearl binder without any pigment added. Ironically, though it is also shiny, it actually tones down the red foil that I printed last week:

White flock:

Puff binder with red pigment added. This binder is much thicker than normal binder. You pull it through the screen as normal, let it dry, then put it in the heat press – but without applying any pressure. The heat makes the binder puff up, producing a slightly rubbery embossed effect. Very interesting:

Finally, I had a bit of time to experiment with an open screen, so I cut out some “paper chains” and used them to make positive and negative prints on a bit of faintly-dyed pole-wrapped shibori calico:

As ever, it’s the bits that go slightly wrong that are the most interesting. Because I used newsprint, it got very soggy with the ink, and as I lifted the screen, the paper lifted up and sometimes dropped back onto the fabric.

You can see where this happened along some of the edges and in the corners, where the ink is speckled as it was disturbed. I actually like this effect – maybe something to develop next week!

Abstract turtle prints

I haven’t written much about screen printing recently, mostly because my progress remains painfully slow. This is partly down to problems with equipment and space, but also due to silly mistakes that I’ve made – of which more later.

To cut a long story short, I abandoned my first turtle design after printing just one colour. It wasn’t really working for me, and given the time it takes to make each screen, I didn’t want to waste time on something that didn’t inspire me.

So it was back to the drawing board (literally) to come up with some new artwork. This time I decided to go more abstract, based on the pattern of a Testudo radiata shell.

I made a couple of different separations, so I have a couple of different first layers:

I also experimented with foiling the first version, which is a bit overwhelming:

And I also printed the first version onto transparent polyester in a couple of different colours, which creates an interesting effect when overlaid on the cotton print:

This week I was supposed to print the second colour on top. But a problem with the exposure machine ruined one screen, and when exposing the other I managed to place the artwork the wrong way round, so it didn’t line up with the first layer. Aaaargh!

Our tutor, Mark, said I shouldn’t waste the screen, so I used it to experiment with foil and flock.

The foil one turned out quite well, but the flock was less successful because the fabric was synthetic, so the flock stuck to the binder on the first layer as well as the glue on the second. But I learnt that if this happens it can be brushed off with a dry toothbrush. I also learnt that it is much more difficult to line up the screen properly, even without ink or glue, if the fabric is dark rather than light!

Hopefully next week I will finally get round to printing a second colour on top. In the meantime, I tried adding a second colour with embroidery, using a bit of wadding to add extra texture and evoke a turtle form (not very easy to see in this photo).