Some of my favourite shops on Folksy are the printmakers, my house is filling up with these inexpensive, beautiful artworks! So today we are finding out more about screenprinting; you will need a bit of space, a little bit of equipment and some practice, but the results can be stunning and you can screen print onto a range of materials, paper, fabric and even glass! Essentially you need a screen (frame with fine mesh materials stretched across, ink and a squeegee (some links with full instructions below and hundreds more can be found with a quick internet search), it is a very versatile technique, as some Folksy makers explain below
Lil Sonny Sky makes her screen prints in a fairly traditional way, “I create my screen prints by developing an idea from my sketch book into colour separations to the size I want my final print to be. These separations are done on trace in ink, china graph, scratched with a scalpel and pieces of pattern from Japanese copyright free source books. These are then photo copied onto acetate and used to create the screens for each colour. I then screen print each layer building up the image! I do my sketching and separations at home and then go to West Yorkshire Print Workshop to use their equipment to screen print my final prints”
Snorkus make their quirky designs using modern digital techniques, “I usually work from drawings that I work up first with an blue animator pencil and then scan the drawings into the computer, making up stencils and separations – I also find this useful for trying out colours..”
So where do our printers get their inspiration from? Lil Sonny Sky clearly enjoys her medium and gets her inspiration from the world around her, “I love screen printing, the little imperfections on each print making each one unique and hand made, that’s what makes it special… I would describe my artwork as narrative, characterful, honest and with a sense of humour, I’d like to make the onlooker smile. This is inspired by so many things, I have a passion for children’s picture books, old and new. Also Japanese graphics, surface pattern, Tumblr to mention a few! The main source of inspiration though are my 3 children, their art, energy and imagination is wonderful!”
Snorkus has a more historical, literary perspective, “I am inspired by British folk traditions and tales…I love the work of Edward Bawden, David Gentleman and Eric Ravilious.. with the animal and cats prints, I look to designers from 1960’s like Fiep Westendorp, Herve Morvan and Lucienne Day.. and I like to have something humorous in the wordplay of the text”.
Fancy a go? Then have a look in your local area, Snorkus uses Inkspot, Brighton (an open access print workshop), Lil Sonny Sky mentioned her local one in Yorkshire and my local one is the Double Elephant Print Workshop in Exeter, all of which offer a wide range of courses, from taster sessions to longer courses and many cities around the country have similar facilities or private artists and colleges that offer teaching too.
There are lots of resources on the internet, You Tube is a great source of ‘how to’s for screen printing, I liked these guys wolf tee shirt project: You tube video – wolf tee shirt project
Or look here for a quite detailed explanation of the process print process
There are also lots of lovely books dedicated to screen printing as well, which are just nice to have if you never get round to actually doing it!
More about our columnist
Take a look at some of the other fascinating handcrafts that Amy has tackled in her Inspiring Creativity series. Thanks for reading, we look forward to hearing your comments.