Saturday, December 5
Wednesday, December 2
The Beverly Owens gallery, located at 1140 Queen St. W. Toronto, is holding an exciting group show centred around the theme of lust. It's the first in a series of shows inspired by the seven deadly sins. The show runs from Dec.3-Jan.3, and the reception is coming up this Saturday the 5th at 7pm. There are over 100 artists showing work, including me! It should be a sexy and stimulating show. Here is one of the pieces I did for the show:
Monday, November 2
If you're interested in purchasing a zine, they're $5.00. Just let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, October 25
Yes, it's that time again! Canzine! For anyone who hasn't heard of it, Canzine is Canada's largest zine and DIY fair. Last fall I was too busy to go due to OCAD overload, so I'm super pumped to be going this year. I'll be selling my usual wears, (prints, t-shirts), and will also have a couple surprises if all goes according to plan. There will be loads of exciting talent there, so if you can come out, do.
Sunday, September 6
Monday, July 20
Friday, July 10
Thursday, June 18
Tuesday, May 26
Saturday, April 4
Thursday, April 2
Monday, March 30
You can also make stationery...
So let's do it.
Sunday, March 29
*Silkscreen(s) - The cheapest one I've ever bought was $28. There are wood frames and metal frames. The wood frames are cheaper, but they warp over time. However, the screen can be replaced on the wood frames.
*Sqeegee - There are cheap plastic sqeegees and more fancy squeegees. Honestly, the cheap plastuc ones work fine.
From the photo place:
*250 watt photo flood bulb - Less than $5!
From the hardware store:
*utility lamp - Preferably one that is mobile and one that can safely manage the 250 watts. *Masking tape
All of these items will make more sense as we go through the process. So let's begin!
You will need to choose an image that can be easily reduced to a high-contrast black and white picture. For the at home method, the image should have little to no gradation in colour. This is because using a photo flood bulb is not precise enough for the gradation in colour to register on the screen. There are amazing fancy light machines with wild UV bulbs that CAN pick up extreme detail, (OCAD has one), but unless you have access to a machine like this, keep your image simple. I choose this image, which is an illustration of Clytemnestra:
As you can see, it is two colours, black and red. If I want my final printed image to also be two colours, that means I have to split the image onto two separate screens. Thus, I need to separate the two parts onto separate pieces of paper. So Clytemnestra and the bathtub will be on one screen and the blood will be on the other.
Here is the blood. As I'm sure you've noticed, the red has been changed to black.
The next thing you need to do is get these two images printed onto acetate.
First of all, wash your new screen with a regular cleaner and let it dry. You want to be sure the surface of your screen isn’t dirty.
Now you’re ready to coat the screen with photo emulsion. From now on, try to work in a dimly lit area. You want to keep the emulsion away from light as much as possible. Follow the package instructions for adding the sensitizer to the emulsion. Now, pour some emulsion into the screen coater. Let it sit for 5 minutes or so, to let the bubbles settle.
Take a deep breath, get Zen, and coat both sides of the screen twice. With the screen coater helping you out it’s really not that difficult. Here's a video of me pretending to coat a screen. I didn't record the real thing because I didn't want to expose my screens to any light.
This is where you’re light bulb and lamp come in. Set up your lamp above a table. You can use a pie tin or tin foil around the light bulb to help the light spread more evenly. Prop your sensitized screen up under the lamp. You want the flat side of the screen facing down, but you want a space between it and the table. Place your acetate image in the middle of the screen. Put the piece of glass or plexi-glass on top of the image. (In my example here, the screen was a bit small for my piece of glass, so I had to just tape the acetate down. But the glass helps make a sharper image).
Arrange the lamp the appropriate distance from the screen, and turn it on. Let it expose for the appropriate amount of time. Speedball has a chart of guidelines regarding exposure times for a 250 watt bulb:
Screen Size . . Lamp Height . . Exposure Time
8" x 10". . . . . . 12 inches . . . . . 10 minutes
When the time is up, take your screen to the nearest hose or sink, and rinse, rinse, rinse. Use cold water. You’ll need a strong blast of water pressure, and it takes a while, but you’ll start to see the emulsion rinsing out, leaving a stencil of your image.
Hold your screen up to the light and be absolutely sure that all the parts of the screen that need to be open, in fact are open. You can use a toothbrush to scrub stubborn areas. If you’ve underexposed the screen, the emulsion will not be hard enough, and you may have chunks of the screen washing out that you don’t want open. On the other hand, if it’s exposed too long, the emulsion will be too hard and you won’t be able to rinse out your image, leaving you with a blocked screen. In the event of either of these cases, (and they’ve both happened to me), you have to wash the emulsion off with emulsion remover, and start again. Which obviously really sucks. If it does happen, don’t wait to clean the screen. Emulsion becomes impossible to remove fairly quickly.
Check your screen for any holes where ink might leak through, and patch them with masking tape. You can also use screen filler if you want, which you can buy at the art store.
Clamp your screen. Prop up the corner with a roll of masking tape and spoon a line of ink onto the bottom of the screen. With your squeegee, push the ink to the top of the screen. This is called "flooding". You need to flood after each print you pull because it prevents the ink from drying out and gunking up your screen.
Now pull a print! Using your sqeegee, apply firm even pressure as you pull towards yourself. You want to print the image onto the acetate first and use it as a guide for all future prints.
As soon as you’re done printing, use the spatula to scoop up the excess ink from the screen and put it back in the jar. The get to cleaning the screen! You do not want to let the ink dry in the screen. Warm water is ok, but hot could still damage the emulsion if it’s fresh. Hold the screen up to the light to be absolutely sure the stencil is completely clear.
Don't forget to clean off the acetate so you can reuse it. Just water will do the trick!
Now repeat this process for the other layer(s) of your design.
And here are a few more random footnotes:
- If you've printed onto fabric, you need to iron the image. If you don't it could fade in the wash.
- In terms of sufaces to print onto... different surfaces may require different amounts of pressure, or more or less pulls with the sqeegee. For example, if you're using glossy paper, you need less pressure, because too much will cause the ink to bleed. You have to experiment a lot. Generally speaking, I'd say more absorbant surfaces are easier to work on.
- If you're pulling lots of prints, your screen can dry out after a while. This is where the squirt bottle can help you out. Using a few squirts and a sponge you can gently clear any parts of your screen that are getting blocked by drying paint. Then pull a few prints on scrap paper until the consistency is good again.
- I usually keep my screens permanently. But if you want to wash it out, do it ASAP. The emmulsion is really difficult to remove and if you wait more than a couple days, it's pretty much impossible. You have to use the special emulsion remover I mentioned in the materials list.
- If you're using the same screen to do multiple colours, sometimes the squirt bottle trick will be enough to clean the screen and start the next colour. But if you need to rinse the screen in the sink, you can speed up the drying process a lot with the use of a hair dryer.
- If you need to, you can touch up your prints with a paint brush.