Screenprinting warm up

I seem to have much more time on my hands without Facebook and Instagram! Surprising how both eat into the hours, and I've actually found myself pacing the floor wondering what to do next. There's always the awful chores of life to be done of course, but I'm happy to put those aside for a little play.


A couple of weeks ago I bought a lovely box full of postcards of different beetles which I'm using as inspiration for...well, if I'm honest I don't know what! I find them fascinating. I'm sure you've seen those big cases full of pinned samples that the Victorians were so keen on collecting - they have a good example at Snowshill Manor in the Cotswolds. Always good to have a go-to motif for experiments.

It struck me that I hadn't done any screen printing for a while, so had a quick hour this morning working on beetles. Lino cuts work well but are a bit fiddly for the intricate bits such as legs.

Some recent beetle stuff.



Here's today's victim! He's been enlarged on the photocopier.



(below) Cutting out the shape using a very sharp craft knife.



I now have 2 shapes that I can use - a positive and a negative.




(below) I've placed the paper with the cut out hole of the beetle onto some fabric and placed the screen on top. This fabric was made using a gelli plate and is acrylic on cotton.



Having found a good position, I've added a couple of extra sheets of printing paper around the beetle to keep the paint off of the fabric underneath. Only the beetle will be printed.

(below) Colours for today. These are all fabric paints and will need to be heat fixed if I want to keep the results.

Here he is, with a spot of marker pen definition just to see what it would look like. Don't like it much, so will put this one in the bin. I like the idea though and will come back to it, just not this particular technique. Monprinting the beetle details would have been more exciting.


Switching to the positive shape (the beetle shaped bit that was cut out). I'm using open acrylics for this as they work really well. My screen is blemished so I don't mind if this causes me problems if I forget to wash it all away when I'm done.  If it was a good screen I'd be really careful to make sure no paint dried on the mesh. 


You can see the blemishes as white bits and noise on the background. This isn't for keeping either, but it was fun to do and I'll do it a bit more carefully and maybe use thickened dyes and a new screen if I want something I can use - all helps to build confidence with a technique though so not wasted!


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