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MA progress: screen printing onto fabrics

5 Mar

Here are some pics of the stuff I came up with at my ‘screen printing onto fabrics’ workshop a couple of weeks ago. I decided to stick with a simple chevron design which I’d intended to use as a repeat pattern…
…then I learnt how actually do screen printing onto fabric and quickly realised that this was a ridiculous thing to try and do! The results came out pretty nicely all the same, so I was chuffed.

Tests onto different fabrics:

Then I got all over excited and used the jersey fabric I’d printed on to make this dress:

As I have mentioned on here before, I have pretty much no knowledge about different fabrics. I have about 1% skill and patience when it comes to pattern cutting and machine sewing too, so it’s not a great combo when it comes to couture fashion design. That said, I did wear this dress for an entire day and it did not fall apart, nor expose any embarrassing parts to the general public, so I am happy with that!
It has quelled my need for a chevron print top and only cost me about £2.50 to produce, so you can’t argue with those sums. I took the pattern from this American Apparel dress which I have already in three different colours and wear continually.

The file I created to make the print looked like this:

Hand cut rubber stamps

2 Mar

It’s always such a great feeling when you FINALLY get round to doing something that you’ve been thinking about for ages…

Here are some stamps I carved out of some old erasers for making patterns.

MA Progress: heat transfer printing onto fabric

2 Mar

We did this workshop about heat transfer printing onto fabric a couple of weeks ago. This is a process that I previously knew nothing about really.

We started by making our images onto cheap newsprint type paper using disperse dyes. Once the dyes had dried, we literally just layered up the paper next to the fabric on a heat press, sandwiched the whole thing together at a really high temperature for a couple of minutes and hey presto, the ink was transferred permanently into the fabric!
It was completely bonkers and I have never seen anything like that before. Such a simple process and so quick to get results!

Here are some pics of my results. Firstly the paper with the dye on before doing the transfer – I made the pattern by applying the dye to the paper using a paintbrush and using masking tape with different layers of washes:

and here’s the fabric after it had been with it in the press:

– nice!

Other experiments:

It was a really fun process to work with and it is cool because you could totally just do it at home by yourself with an iron – you don’t really need any special equipment or anything.
Drawbacks would be that the colours are completely unpredictable (I was playing it safe with sticking to a bluey-grey!) and that the process only works when you use it on 100% synthetic fibres like nylons and polyesters. The fabric samples we had to test on were pretty rank and  I don’t really know enough about fabrics to know what a nice polyester would look like. I couldn’t think of any applications for this method that I thought I would actually like – but I am pretty sure that I would feel differently if I knew a bit more about fabric…

MA Progress: Laser Cutting

2 Mar

So I have done some bits and bobs with laser cutting in the past – mostly for wedding invitations – but I have been able to have a proper play around with the lasers since I have been back at college. I’ve got a much better understanding of how the whole process works now and it’s fascinating.

Here is a Christmas card that I made whilst doing some experimentation:

I only had time to cut 2 in the end, which was a shame. One for keeps and the other went to a favourite client.
I’m hoping to get a bit more time in the laser suite soon to try out cutting into some other materials and working on a larger scale. The potential seems mind-boggling!

MA Progress: Ceramics

1 Mar

So the last time I made anything in clay, I was at Brownies or something…

We did this one day workshop in the ceramics room at uni to try and get a taste for it. The day was taught by Sophie Woodrow, who is some kind of clay goddess and who just so happens to have a space in the same studios where I work – yay!

We could pretty much do whatever we wanted (which is a brief that never fails to draw a blank with me). I eventually opted to do a beetle thing and I am quite pleased with the results 🙂
I started by carving the beetle design out of a block of Plaster of Paris using various modelling tools:
(apologies for slightly odd photo taken with phone)

Once the mould was finished, I pushed clay into it to make a relief image. This finished piece which has now been fired is made out of porcelain:

Pretty cool, huh? As an object, it serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever, but I’m down with that. It now has a special place with all my other useless crap in my living room.

Then, I got a little ahead of myself and decided to make these little votives in the few nano-seconds that I had left in the workshop. They turned out rather nicely I thought. I made the holes in the porcelain clay by taking the end out of a bic biro and using that as a punch – classy! I’m sure that’s how all the pros do it…

I think my time as a ceramicist may have to end here and much as I enjoyed it, I can’t imagine I’ll be back in that workshop any time again soon.
Nothing like quitting whilst you’re ahead!

MA progress: Screen Printing

29 Feb

So, I haven’t mentioned on here yet that I started a Masters in Multidisciplinary Printmaking at UWE Bristol last September.
It is a 3 year course that I am doing on a part-time basis, so just one day a week.
Man, it’s been a tough gig so far. It seemed like a brills idea at the time, but then I got up the duff on literally the first week and life has been a struggle since then, woah Mama…

The course has been a mixed bag so far, with some really brilliant days and then some really annoying times too. It has taken a lot of getting used to being back in the university system again. It is 11 years since I finished my degree in Graphic Design at the same college. I am so used to working for myself these days and often have very tight time restraints on everything whilst working around childcare and general life duties. University life in comparison is   s   l   o   w   and disorganised and there seems to be a disproportionately large amount of time factored in for tea breaks. On the face of it, that sounds quite nice, doesn’t it? But in reality, I find it  incredibly frustrating and I’d rather just be making the most of my time.

Aaaaanyhoo – I thought I should post up some of the things I have been working on. The first module was all workshop based, so there has been lots of experimenting with different techniques. We never worked on any one method for longer than a day, so I have lots of random samples of different things.
The first week was screen printing. It was kinda cool. We made images on Folex, exposed them to the screens and then made a couple of prints from that before washing everything up again. It was short but sweet.

The image I made on the Folex was made by sticking on torn up paper and painting with ink:

Here is a pic of the finished print:

I quite like it, but I think I could have mixed the colour a bit better. I am so used to doing everything digitally, it is really hard not to look at something like this and not want to just tweak it by 1mm here or there or to change the colour by the odd %.

Screen printing is cool, but there are so many people who are completely brills at it, that it kinda puts me off…
That sounds ridiculous, I know. Maybe I’ll pluck up the courage to try it again one day!

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