Saturday, 4 February 2012

Better than Pronta-print!

On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to spend a day with Sue Harrison,  a local textile printing artist.  As you may already know, getting an insight into printing my own fabrics was on my new year resolution list, so you can imagine how excited I was about this!

It was a great day, with Sue allowing Josephine (my "classmate") and I to play in her studio.  We started off with simple mono-printing on paper first, to get the feel of it.  This involves painting a canvas sheet with your chosen colour and then laying paper on top.  Various techniques were then used to create a design..

We tried drawing directly into the paint with a stick or pencil (shown above) and drawing and impressing stamps and other items on the back of the paper, which then picked up the paint from underneath.
(the print take from the canvas above)
We tried cutting paper shapes to block out areas, before pressing paper on top to create a print.

We then tried adding a second colour, using the first technique, and cutting more advanced patterns from paper.  All of this was experimental and we could have played for hours with different colours and techniques.

Satisfied with the progress, we moved onto screen printing, and I used simple cut-out paper shapes to create this design. 

The difference with screen printing is that the result is a much more crisp matt image, and also that the paper template adheres to the screen, allowing you to run off quite a few prints before it starts to disintegrate.  I was amazed at how professional the resulting print was, even though I'd only spent 10 minutes cutting the shapes. I grabbed my calico and furnishing fabrics to create a few copies to take home with me.  Sue explained that we could mix the techniques to create interesting finishes, with the rougher looking mono-print over-printed with a striking screen print.  Here it is in the process:
(mono-print in black completed and paper shapes laid on top in preparation for screen printing)

(screen-printed over the top with more mono-printing highlights then added in green - remind you of 1950s wall paper?!)
More playing...and a delicious lunch, and then we had an hour or so to work on any ideas we'd had.  Josephine had chosen a hilarious moustache theme and printed a set of six napkins, along with this comedy hankie for her daughter!

And I chose text, because I thought I'd be able to cut it up and use it in my patchwork...  I spent 20 minutes cutting various letters and numbers carefully out of two layers of newsprint paper with a craft knife, and then we used the first sheet to print in black...and the second sheet to print in red.
(one of four different panels I printed in this way)
 I was so chuffed with the results, especially because I'd opted to print the text on a soft oatmeal linen that will be really usable.   The dyes are fixed using a hot iron, so will be washable and usable in quilts, cushions, bags etc

And finally, since the screen was set up up, I even printed the letters over the work I'd done earlier in the day, just to see how it looked.
which kind of reminded us of political posters,

Even from this short day, I am so excited by the potential and could see how I could add to simple designs with machine embroidery or applique, so I owe huge thanks to Sue for opening up her home to let us play for a day!

Now, is there room in my sewing room for a screen and a few tubs of dye?!!



  1. Looks absolutely amazing - well done!!

  2. nothing like it! There's always room - soemwhere! :) (mine are stashed away, must grab my dyes for the morning and some snow dying!)

  3. Oh that sounds like a really fun day! Make room! Jxo

  4. looks like great fun, love your designs

  5. Is there room? Hope so!!! You should definitely keep this up :-) (and give me exclusives when you're a top designer)

  6. Wow! That looks amazing! I love your prints!

  7. Oh that's ace! I've done batik before which was fun, but I'd love to experiment with other printing methods. You've just reminded me, my husband bought me a day's hot glass bead making at a local glass studio for my xmas pressie, I must get it booked.

  8. That looks like a lot of fun! I'd imagine I could get quite addicted to that. I bet you can't wait to use your fabrics!

  9. Is there room in your room for me?
    Promise I'll tidy up after myself.
    Lovely prints lady

  10. Love your prints! Looks like you had an amazing day!

  11. Oooh, love the look of that screen printing especially! There's a few of us from the WCS MQG that have signed up for a fabric quilting class, can't wait to see what we do!

  12. Wow! This looks like soooo much fun! And you did SUCH a fabulous job!!!