Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Love Screenprinting: The First 5 Days

I am little behind but I guess late is better than never? To fill you in, I'm studying towards a Bachelors degree in Graphic Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology at the moment. The first semester (now) is all about research and writing the dissertation. Part of the course involves doing a month long internship/apprenticeship which is what I am busy with.

I am doing mine at a screenprinting studio in Observatory called I Love Screenprinting.
I chose to do my time here, as opposed to an advertising agency or design studio simply because I want to get away from the glare of a moniter, work with my hands and learn something that I am really interested in. It is also related to the topic of my dissertation, so I am killing two birds with one stone here and getting some real good research in.

I got a little bit lost, cycling to work on my first day

Anyway. My first week here was nuts, the shop had a lot of work with a tight deadlines. We printed the posters for the Verb launch, tee-shirts for the City Slickers exhibition as well as a few other smaller jobs, including some more tees and making some positives.

The Flyer for the Verb Launch/City Slickers Exhibition

The shop is super cool, with prints off all of the posters hanging up on the wall, lots of ink everywhere and stacks of crazy rad bike parts via Tobie. The computer's speakers play a good mix of music, from Bad Religion to Bruce Springsteen to Bloc Party. If you know me at all, you will know that I am in my element! I work with two guys, Barnard and Takuru. Tobie is usually here in the morning before going off to Fittees, which is just up the road, close to the Salt River Circle.

The inside of the shop, featuring the drying rack.

I learnt how to tape screens up, dry prints, strip screens, coat screens, expose screens, pick up ink, look for pinholes, flood screens, stuff about squeegee pressures and angles, cure shirts and about a million other things. It is really interesting learning about all of the different ways that things like ink density, pressure factor into the way that you make a print. So yeah, it is really fascinating and interesting to listen to discussions over things like whether it is better to coat the outside of the screen twice, the inside once or to coat both sides twice and then to coat the outside for a third time after the first coat has dried, or something like that! It is also interesting learning about ink-trappings and how to properly separate a graphic, for the screenprinting process. It is a little bit more complicated than simply splitting the colours into layers.

Takura pulling the black onto the Wesley Van Eeden posters.

This week we are printing mostly tee-shirts, as well as one or two other surprises. Barnard has gone to Namibia, so it is just Takura and I, manning the fort. Tobie pops in every now and then, but is mostly just us two. I am writing this now, as we are waiting for NSDS to deliver some more white ink and clear base.

Here is a little clip, from the Verb website, of Takura and I printing (well, me drying) Kronk's poster for the exhibition.

Cool! Mike

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