I recently spent a whole Sunday at a silkscreen workshop in Toronto. A friend and I were given an awesome 2-for-1 coupon for the workshop, held at Peach Berzerk in Toronto. I highly recommend the workshop…and I also highly recommend doing it with a friend! Much more fun that way! 🙂
I’ve always wanted to know how to silkscreen but never had the opportunity. The women running the workshop were awesome; very energetic and willing to help out, answering any and all questions, no matter how inane some of them were. They were incredibly knowledgeable about silk-screening and you could tell they had run the workshop many times before. Their props, their explanations…everything was crazy clear and easy to understand. I felt comfortable, as though I was learning along with a group of friends rather than strangers.
The workspace was quite large…which was good since there were almost a dozen of us taking the class.
After the initial introduction and explanation about the schedule and how it would progress…we were set up with our own frame, silkscreen mesh, instruction booklet and staple gun. (The staple gun wasn’t given to us…just used by us…too bad, because I need one! lol)
First step? Staple the mesh to the frame. There was a very specific way to accomplish this, starting with a specific corner, folding the edges a certain way…it had to be as taut as a drum head to work properly. Stapling that much with a gun, plus holding the mesh tightly was quite an arm workout, but I got ‘er done!
Luckily, ALL the instructions, along with diagrams and details are in the handy-dandy booklet they gave us! It’s an awesome collection of tips, advice and directions. A definite MUST for all of us at the workshop as there was so much to remember!
Next was the emulsion process; coating the mesh with a light-sensitive chemical that would harden after being exposed. Then we had to leave the screen to dry in the dark…for approximately an hour or so. I spent a good part of this time shopping in the store! So dangerous! I love sale racks and they had a great one! I took all my self-control to turn away!
Once our screens were dry, it was time to prepare the pictures we wanted to print. Each student used a variety of methods to block out their patterns/pictures. I used some laser printed shots, as well as actual pieces of material and lace.
You tape your prints/material/etc to the screen. Then expose the whole screen to light. The idea being that whatever sections of emulsified screen isn’t exposed (IE the black portion of a photocopy, or the solid parts of the material) doesn’t harden, while the emulsion around the image does. Once completed (about 4 minutes), you simply rinse the screen with some high pressure water and the portions that weren’t subjected to light rinse away. I wish I had taken a picture of the picture preparation. Instead, I have a picture of my screen being exposed to light….it’s underneath the concrete bricks 🙂
I created a number of images, but two that I want to point out are actual pictures of me from a photo shoot I did for my cooking blog, Edible Noir.
To the left and right here, you can see the images I created on my screen. The purple and white images are post-rinse and the red images are my silkscreens printed on red velvet. For interests sake, the original picture of the lipstick and bowl shot to the left can be seen HERE. The shot to the right, of me standing and looking somewhat shocked can be seen HERE.
The workshop was a blast! When we arrived, they said it would run from 11am until approximately 8pm but that we were welcome to stay as late as 10pm if we wanted. I remember thinking, “12 hours to silkscreen??” Due to the screen making process, and the wait time for them to dry (yes, THEM….we made two screens! :D)…it *did* take most of the day, but the time flew!
I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone remotely interested in silkscreening! The added bonus is that, if you wish to continue silkscreening, you can buy everything you need from the store itself, PLUS you can book their workspace on an hourly basis and make your screens on site pretty much whenever you wish!