The Print Club

Taking inspiration from Steph’s previous blog (Making time for hobbies), I followed her lead by taking part in a screen printing workshop at The Print Club, London last Saturday with my girlfriend Lucy.

As I had already had some experience with screen printing at university, I entered the workshop with a certain amount of confidence, with my files set up ready to print (or so I thought) and a swagger in my step. However, it quickly became apparent that I had only scratched the surface of this well-established printing technique, and from the word go I was learning things that hadn’t even been mentioned during my time in the student printing studios.

The workshop began with the experienced (and uber-cool) staff telling us about the history and method behind screen printing in general. They then took us through the process step-by-step with the sound of feel-good disco blaring out the stereo. Next we were shown how to set up our files properly for screen-printing. I consider myself to be experienced with Photoshop, but the techniques with halftone patterns and bitmaps were things I’d only touched upon at university.

The vibe of the workshop was very relaxed and easy-going, until we were taken into the ‘dark room’ for the next stage of the process, where it got much more intense. Here we had to coat our screens in light-sensitive emulsion. I volunteered to go first, and with 12 other people staring at me, and a trough of emulsion in my hands, I had to raise the trough very slowly so that the screen was coated perfectly and there was an even coat across the whole screen. Thankfully my hands weren’t too shaky and my screen looked alright. There was even a cheer from the crowd!

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After a very nice and cheap (for London) lunch at the Turkish place across the road, we returned to expose our screens using a lightbox, and then it was on to printing. We were split into teams, and shown how to print by the instructors once. This meant that everyone had to look after each other as they were printing, and this brought about a good sense of camaraderie (and, inevitably, competitiveness). We whooped and hollered through every print and I must say I’m quite pleased with the results.

I’d recommend having a go no matter how ‘arty’ you think you are, it’s great to put down your phone and turn off your computer to get your hands dirty once in a while.

Jack Fairhurst

Designer