Shibori and screen printing

Last week, my attempts to print with an open screen produced some interesting speckled effects, which I wanted to reproduce.

At first I thought they were caused by the paper template falling on the wet ink and removing it. But on closer inspection, my tutor Mark and I decided that they were caused by creases in the fabric (I hadn’t ironed it very well) preventing the ink from reaching certain parts.

So here are the results of this week’s experiments of printing on creased fabric.

Here I just washed and wrung out a piece of cotton calico and left it to dry. When I pinned it out, I didn’t try to stretch or flatten it. Then I did one pull with an open screen. The result is similar to last week, but over a much larger area:

In the two pieces below, I stitched along both vertical edges of the fabric and also two lines down the centre. Then I pulled them to create pleats – it felt very similar to shibori. You can still see some of the stitches in the photos below.

After pinning the fabric to the print table, I did three pulls with an open screen, which forced some of the ink through the pleated layers, resulting in a pleasing mottled effect. The shapes remind me of squid; someone else in the class thought they looked like bones and joints:

In the top photo I used translucent binder, which gave a greater range and depth of colour. The piece in the bottom photo was printed with opaque binder; the effect is much flatter and more matt.

Because so much ink was pushed through, I put a heavier piece of cotton drill underneath one of the pieces of  calico above – so getting two prints for the price of one:

Finally, I tried a similar technique using silver pearl binder on shiny transparent polyester. With only three lines of stitching, the pattern was less complex:

I love this effect, because it results in more texture. Previously, I’ve used stitch after printing to add texture, but this uses stitch to provide texture before/during printing. As Mark said, “It’s like shibori but more heavy handed”. And you know how much I like shibori!

As an added bonus,  it also means that I don’t have to go through the time-consuming process of coating and exposing a screen!

This was the final session of this term. After a very slow start, I feel that the printing sessions have finally come together and provided a base from which I can experiment further.

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!