The start of Shabby Bear Co and a day of screen printing!

So finally Shabby Bear Co has launched and I’m hoping that it will be a great way to start sharing my hand made goods and Ideas with the world! I will share some of my processes and of course my final pieces which I will eventually start selling. So for my first post I thought I would share my experience of screen printing on a course I took a few days ago.

holding print

I had wanted to start screen printing for a while but never had my own equipment or enough space to do so. I’ve always loved the process of printing your design yourself, either when I carve my own stamps, lino printing or screen printing. I first had a go at screen printing while studying art in sixth form, but that was by creating your own stencil out of paper and placing it between the screen and the paper you are printing on. This is a great beginner process but it isn’t great for detailed or long print runs as the ink starts to degrade the paper stencil.

I was getting to the stage where I wanted to create bigger print runs and complex designs, so I did some research to see if there were any places around Norwich that allowed people to screen print their own artwork. Thats when I came across Print to the people! It is an amazing place run by many artists and was the creation of Jo Stafford and Vicki Johnson. The aim of print to the people is to make screen printing and other forms of print accessible for artists and designers and to promote printmaking to everyone! They run a number of courses as well as having open access sessions for any PTTP member to use which I will be taking advantage of now that I have taken one of their screen printing courses. The screen printing course taught me everything I needed to know about the process and using their facilities. On the course we had Jo teach us the screen printing low down, she made it very clear and was always happy to help anyone that needed it.

Lets get down to the nitty gritty of how I made my print. I created my design in photoshop with a wacom cintiq, however there are many other ways to create your design and it doesn’t have to be digitally, it’s just the way I wanted to take the process the first time around.

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The design is then printed onto either acetate or tracing paper. As I was doing a course this time around PTTP organised this so it was ready on the day.

acetate bird

The guys at PTTP had prepared the screen with the photo emulsion ready to be exposed, they also offer this for open access sessions for a small charge. Once the screen has the photo emulsion applied you must wait a couple of hours before you expose it to light. Once its ready, the design on the acetate is then placed into a big screen exposing machine with the screen placed on top. The machine exposes the screen to a very bright light which the solidifies the photo emulsion, the photo emulsion that is covered by the black bits of the art work doesn’t solidify. You then spray the screen down with a strong jet wash which then reveals the stencil!

stencil 2

Once the screen is dry its ready for printing! Woo! The screen gets set up on hinged clamps or a big screen printing table. You spread the ink at the top of the screen and then run the ink over the design with a squeegee. With the screen raised off the paper, you run the ink back up to the top of the screen with the squeegee which is called flooding the screen.

screen boards

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You then lift up the screen and voila! You got yourself a darn’ nice screen print! Let em’ dry and then you can do all sorts of pretty stuff with it. Like putting it on a wall! The perfect place for your pride and joy!

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final print

There we go! Thats my first post over and done with. I plan on selling a few of these prints very soon once I have got my online shop set up, so keep an eye out for that! Hopefully some people would like this little birdie in their home too! Come back and see what the bear is up to soon! x