June 17, 2015
Screenprinting: Such A Good Intro
Written by Chris Jones
One of the great things about Open Studio classes is that students are permitted to work at their own pace. We all start out in the same place, working on the course-outlined projects, but pretty soon some are speeding ahead while others, yours truly for example, fall a little behind. Consequently, some participants manage to complete more projects than others.
Watching my classmate Joana print (below), I was struck by her calm facility, she prints like she’s been doing it for years.
“I find graphic designers really take to screenprinting,” noted our instructor, Meggan Winsley. And it so happens that I was in a class with three of them, above from left, Joana, Andrea and Lisa, and that’s Meggan on the far right.
My final class was a bit of a washout. I had coated a screen with photo emulsion the previous week so I’d be ready to dive in and print one final project before wrapping up the class. But a personal emergency made me more than hour late, which meant there was no way I could finish the Photoshop prep, shoot the screen, wash it out, tear my paper and print the darn thing in the allotted time. Alas.
At least I was able to complete a second photo emulsion project the previous week. All my work during the class was based on photos I’d taken in India the year before and there was a nice symmetry to the fact that the cow from my first project returned in a completely different treatment for my last project.
It had been years since I dabbled in visual art and Meggan’s screenprinting class reawakened old lessons I’d forgotten about colour, value, composition and workflow.
Learning screenprinting felt a lot like learning to drive; each element is easy enough on its own but once you’re in traffic all the learning seems to fly out the window and panic joins you in the passenger seat.
Meggan sensed my unease and frequently reminded me to slow down; she provided advice and sometimes she stood back and let me hang myself, knowing there was more to be learned in a gaffe than in hand-holding. And what is a mistake anyway but an opportunity to get it right, or at least more right, the next time.
And for me there WILL be a next time. Open Studio’s screenprinting class did more than introduce me to a process and a medium, it inspired me to keep going.