Never to old to learn a new trick

Those paying attention this summer will have noticed I have been guest blogging for the wonderful studio Print Club London in Dalston. Getting to be their eyes and ears around London exploring the cities thriving contemporary art scene. On top of that I get a behind the scenes look in to the print screen studio and their talented membership of artists who use the space.

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As I hadn’t touched a silk screen since college I thought I was well overdue for a refresher class and very conveniently they run beginners workshops twice a week. So I booked myself in for a Thursday class and invited Tasha from Graphique Fantastique for company. Now all that was left to do was decide what I was going to print!

My botanical obsession took over my Instagram for about a week and I changed my mind about 5 times but I ended up with a simple line drawing of a Japanese Anemone. You need a single layered black and white image to work from in the beginners workshop and take it with you as a pdf, jpeg or photoshop file on USB.

So I turned up at 10:45 nice and early, helping myself to a cup of tea introducing myself around the small group of fellow attendees. All from varied backgrounds: a few graphic designers, small business owners and some people just genuinely intrigued about printing. We had three Print Club crew members helping us for the day: main man Craig with Claudia & Lewis offering up very helpful extra hands.

I am a lover of history and origin stories so Craig’s stella introduction on how print screening has evolved and how each stage links to the next was captivating. There is a real lively and upbeat atmosphere in the studio with other members printing around you on beat with an 80s background playlist.

We started by coating our screens and getting them ready to expose with our unique designs. Everyone gets their hands dirty with the whole day being completely hands on, no wall flowers or book learning here. The morning is spent preparing your screen, there are a lot of rinse, dry and repeat stages before you get anywhere near the printing bed.

After a much needed lunch break you return itching to print, which is when you get presented with a glossy selection of ink colours to choose from. Then you get a real technical bit, in fact several bits, setting up the printing bed and finally squeegeeing you first test print. The process itself is simple if you do all the preparation correctly and can be very therapeutic once you get going. It’s a process that takes time, patience and the inspiration to experiment with your results.

Only limited buy your imagination and ability to work out how to split you design in to colour layers, maybe money too as it isn’t cheap to set yourself up with the kit. Once you have had a go though, its rather addictive with a real sense of accomplishment when you look at the final result. I mean look at Tasha, she’s very happy!

My first ever professional screen print now is signed, numbered and up on my wall with pride. So when can I have another go?

Want to try its out for yourself? Find the workshop dates & info here.