In April the lovely people at Print Club London invited me to go and try out one of their screen printing workshops. Little did they know that it was perfect timing as the week before they contacted me I'd actually been looking into printing my Girl Power design onto t-shirts and what the best options might be! I booked onto their T-Shirt and Tote Printing Workshop with Kim and off we went for a day of getting messy and creating...
If you've ever wondered what goes down in a screenprinting workshop I'm going to break down our day for you! This was a workshop for beginners, and although I'd tried screen printing before at school and uni, that felt like a lifetime ago and printing on fabric seemed like a totally different ball game to printing on paper as I did at uni. We were asked to bring some cotton t-shirts or tote bags to print on and a USB stick with a black and white design on. I'd recommend having a few different options for your design since a couple of people's designs weren't quite suitable on the day and they had to use their back-up options. If you have any worries about what to print, just email the technicians at Print Club and I'm sure they'll advise you - they were really helpful in the run up to the workshop and on the day!
Technician Oli made all of our designs print-ready and printed them off onto tracing paper while Indra introduced the group to the tools we would be using and showed us some examples of prints. Having somebody who knew what they were taking about explain halftones and showing the clever uses of CMYK prints was really interesting, particularly as the group was very mixed-ability in terms of design knowledge. Total beginners and those with a knowledge of design and printing processes were both catered for in this beginner's class. One thing I found particularly interesting was that Indra showed us the tools we could use to draw out a design directly onto tracing paper or film ourselves, without having to print them (or to add to and edit our existing prints). Oli showed us how to get our artwork print-ready in photoshop and explained bitmaps and halftones to the group - even as someone with a good knowledge of photoshop I always find it really interesting to see how other people do things, so this was really helpful.
Once we had been introduced to the process we had to get our screens ready by coating them with photo-sensitive emulsion - again, technicians were always on hand to show you exactly what to do and explain why we were doing what we were doing. After a lunch break (Kim and I headed to Hackney Pirates - who doesn't like eating lunch on a pirate ship?!) we went back to expose our screens and prepare them for printing!
It's worth noting that we had the option to print in either black or white ink and I think online it said we'd have a choice of a wide variety of colours so check ahead if you want to print with a specific colour. I found it really interesting to see other people's designs, one woman printed her logo in white ink onto black aprons which looked great and there were so many awesome designs created by the group! We were quite a big group - about 15 of us, and there were only two vacuum tables available to use so there was quite a lot of waiting around. Luckily the Vicky's Donuts kitchen is a five minute walk away so Kim and I did sneak off to visit our pal and get some sugary treats while we were waiting... shhh!
I managed to print 4 Girl Power T-shirts which I was really happy with - they were by no means perfect but I think I made my life harder than it needed to be by printing a small chest print onto baseball tees - everyone else was printing A4 size onto the front or back of t-shirts and totes and their prints all looked very professional. Overall I had a great day printing and learning new things and left with a much better idea of what the t-shirts I've been wanted to produce will look like.
Once everyone was finished printing we were shown around the Print Club Gallery where there was lots of work created by members to swoon over and we could get some inspiration as to the kind of things you can create with this technique. I particularly loved Aleesha Nandhra's work (her condiments print can be seen in the photo below). There's lots of work available to buy on their website - how great is this Iris Apfel print by Jordan Andrew Parker?!
Memberships are available at Print Club for £100 a month which gives members unlimited access to the studio and 9 hours pre-booking time per week (alternatively you can join for 6 months and it only costs you £75 monthly). If you haven't screen printed in the last 6 months Print Club ask that you complete one of their workshops before joining the studio. Since I am going to be selling Girl Power T-Shirts soon (I'm hoping to get them up for pre-order this weekend!) I'd definitely be signing up and printing my t-shirts myself if I had some more time on my hands, but unfortunately it just wouldn't work out financially for me right now.
If you have any questions about the workshop or if there's something I haven't covered that you'd like to know get in touch on instagram or send me an email. For now here are some Boomerangs of our day where you can see some of the work that was produced... Thanks again to Print Club for having me!
Disclaimer: I was invited by Print Club London to take part in this workshop in exchange for a blog post. Prices were correct at time of posting - May 2017.