Jun 30, 2008

First Screened Poster...

So...this whole trip was completely experimental. I don't really know anyone local who is doing this, and I'm basically swinging a baseball bat in the dark.

I did everything wrong. I used old curtains, not silkscreen. For the black, I used housepaint with about 10% floetrol and not any kind of a proper screening ink (it got really gummy and gross). I used a couple different kinds of paper, with different surfaces, just to see what each would do. And with these piss-poor tools, I chose to attempt a good-sized two-color piece. My philosophy is, if I'm going to screw up, might as well screw up early, and big. Figure out what's ok to skimp on, what's better to spend the money on.

That said, the thing that completely tripped me up was my own stupid noodling. I had pieced together about 8 sheets of actetate per screen. A bit of light had burned through the less opaque areas of my acetate, resulting in a little bit of blocky (from the overlap of the acetates) haze on the clear parts of the screen. I was concerned about that blockiness showing up in the print.

What the hell. I'm a painter, I got my screen cleaner and a small paintbrush and cleaned up a few of the larger areas, them some of the medium areas...then calamity. Literally, on the word 'Calamity'. I don't know what I was thinking, but at one point, the 'MIT' just disappeared. So-so-so stupid. Dummy, this isn't like an acrylic painting you can just wander around the canvas touching up this and that. Now those letters are just gone. I got my screenblock stuff, laid the acetate under the screen for guidance and tried to touch it up, recreating the letters as best as I could. Which wasn't too horribly awful. I let that dry overnight, went home to brag about how I was the stupidest moron alive.

Next morning, the screen block didn't really hold up to a lot of passes and started leaking at about my seventh print. And it was leaking that gummy black I described earlier. Rather than go nuts trying to salvage any more, I called it a day, with lessons learned. I ended up with six prints that look ok. And a lot of lessons learned about paper, curtains, exposure, inks, and patience. I may re-burn that screen this week onto a real silkscreen (the curtain was a bit too low of a mesh for the details on my black screen, but it did ok on my less-detailed red screen), and finish my print run (about 30 pieces total was the plan).

Well... Here's one of the final prints. You can see the issues with the lost letters. Again, the red was designed to be rough, so that if it came out sloppy (which it did in places), it wouldn't ruin the overall piece. This isn't one of the 'better' prints, it's about where the screenblock started breaking down. The other issue I was having was that the ink was getting sloppy at the top of the red plate, and what I discovered was that the small bits of board I was using to align the paper was a bit thicker than the paper.

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