I don’t even want to think about how long I waited to do this workshop at the Make Lounge, taken by Helen Rawlinson. But I’m so glad I finally did. After all the designing, careful cutting and finally printing, the results were fantastic. If I had a bigger flat I would lose no time in buying the kit to do it at home.
There are a few types of screen printing but the simplest description of what we did is 1) cut out a stencil from paper, 2) place stencil on the fabric and put the permeable screen on top of the stencil, 3) apply paint to the screen.
Cutting the designs out from paper took quite a long time (and gave me arm-ache for a few days), but the actual printing bit – with aprons, big pots of colourful paint and squeegees – more than made up for it in pure hands-on fun. You can’t argue with that satisfaction as you slowly peel off the screen to reveal your design perfectly printed on the fabric. I was surprised how clean the designs came out, despite some messing up on the cutting.
The red triangles was my first design, which was inspired by a Design Sponge project I did a couple of years ago decorating terracotta flower pots with masking tape and spray paint.
My design came about through messing about with lots of black triangles on a white page on a long train journey from Cornwall to London.
Design number two is probably my favourite as it brings together the knitting and Scandinavia obsessions I’ve been developing over the past two years. It’s a block version of the classic repeating Scandi Fair Isle pattern, which I would, nay, will, knit absolutely everything in once I learn how to do it. It’s hard to know whether I liked it before The Killing came on the scene and Sarah Lund’s jumper-clad anti-heroine swept me off my feet (and made me cancel all plans to leave the flat) but it’s fair to say that the TV series cemented it in my mind as the ultimate knitting pattern nirvana. So, it was a joy to be able to create it on fabric, and I dare say I like it just as much as I do knitted.
It was a great introductory course and my only frustration was not being able to cover the whole tea towel with one pattern which wasn’t possible due to the size of the screens, and the time available. But I’ve left with an appetite for more and I can tell my foray into screen printing will not end here.