Just finished preparing the latest screen for printing. This was a screen I made from start to finish… well I didn’t grow the trees or weave the mesh but I bought 4 pieces of plain sawn pine 34mm x 34mm for £7.99 from Trago’s, enough to make at least three screens and bought a couple of metres of T43 screen mesh, used abought £1.00’s worth on this screen, the cost of printing the acetates was pence, having first drawn the image and photocopied in in black.
After making the screen, I stretched the mesh using my work station to clamp the screen onto, rolled the rest of the mesh around a piece of dowel and pulled really hard, stapling as I went. Reasonably taut, there may be a better way. (When I did this as a job I had the use of a proper screen stretcher, what a luxury!) I already had site lamps from Screwfix and last night, having coated my screen and dried it in the bottom drawer of my plan chest, (only dark place I could find) I rigged up a way of hanging the lamps over the screen to project the image, through the acetates with the image on, onto the screen. The lamps were on for 3 minutes but 2 would have been enough, I think. I hope to print later today. Watch this space!
I loved the process of producing a screen almost as much as printing, it is a magical process – I realise that my admiration for The Bloomsbury Group was as much for their capacity to make what they needed to create, as their bohemian lifestyle – I love the idea that if you wanted to make tiles, you dug the earthenware clay, made your own glazes, if you needed cloth you wove or printed it, wallpaper? cover the wall with decoration. I love that idea that if you want something you can usually make it, as long as the raw materials are to be found.
I had some table looms, and made some frame looms for me and the kids, years ago, and spun Jacob sheep’s fleece to weave, when I ran the pottery at Kilworthy House, I made my own glazes, learnt from a ceramic teacher who employed me as her technician at Knutsford Comprehensive, so already that desire to start at the beginning to make the means by which images can be produced and reproduced, was very strong for me.