I finally had some success, right before SXSW, in teaching myself how to screenprint. A few years ago, Barb and I bought one of those nifty little SPEEDBALL learn-how-to-screenprint kits. (To give you a hint about how old it was, it came with a VHS tape containing what surely must have been many delightful instructional techniques.) It sat in the closet of one apartment, and then another, and then another, and then our current closet. Every time we moved, I’d think (in my head), “Gosh, why haven’t I busted this out and tried to learn how to screenprint? That is a thing that I would love to do.” Barb and I, you see, are crafty people.
Also recently, a group of friends and I have started a creative group of folks– our own little version of an Algonquin Roundtable or a Bloomsbury group, only with more scatological humor (if you remove Dorothy Parker from the equation, anyway). Our group makes art and sends it to the other members. I figured that it would be a wonderful time to finally learn how to screenprint. So I broke out the years-old speedball kit and encountered an embarrassing string of failures.
I hadn’t figured that the photoemulsion fluid would have gone bad in the five years or whatever that we’ve had the kit, but it did. It went very bad, and in a very blatant way; so I had to get some more supplies, which I dutifully did. I didn’t have enough dough for a ‘scoop-coater,’ which is a fancy-man’s way of applying the emulsion to the screen, so I just used my squeegee. The emulsion dried an eighth-inch thick and was utterly broken.
But I’ll cut to the chase. After four weeks of horrible failures, including getting a finer mesh, several different types of lightbulbs, and melting a couple of plasticine transparencies to a piece of glass, I have achieved success! Success that I present now here for your amusement.
You can click through that to see a slightly larger version.
The blue glows in the dark!
NEXT UP: AN EIGHTEEN-COLOR PRINT ON HANDMADE PAPER MADE OF HUMAN BONES