Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Welcome to December

This is a month when so many people are busy preparing for the holidays. I hope you will have time to check out my posts on a dozen uses for a silk screen. I really had to search my mind for an actual dozen but here they are...

One of the things I have learned about silk screens and their many uses is that each technique produces and effect not attainable any other way.

I want to start with a technique that I have found to be very misunderstood by so many people in my workshops. That technique is flour paste resist. Whenever I mention flour paste resist, I hear people groan, "It's so boring". I beg to differ. When you start to scribe into the fine layer of dried paste, tiny bits of paste come off in a very organic way. Also when setting up the screen, tiny voids sometime occur when the paste fails to seal one tiny opening in the weft and weave of the screens. This produces tiny dots of color when the screen is pulled.

Let's start with a silk screen. If you would like to make your own, please check out this free tutorial


 I started out by placing a small piece of waxed paper on my counter with the screen in this position.



I put some white flour in a bowl and added enough water to create a pancake batter consistency. I used a steel whisk and cold water to make it very smooth.


Next I used my squeegee to apply a relatively thin film of paste on the screen. This is a bit more of a challenge than it sounds. Getting just the right thickness may take a few tries. You want coverage but not too thick and not so thin you can see through it. I took a picture of my screen when it was covered and the waxed paper had been carefully remove while it was still wet but the actual screen had strange stains of it that didn't affect the use but would be a distraction. The photo below is the dried screen after scratching in my design with a sharp wooden (bamboo) skewer. You want to scratch hard enough to remove the dried paste but not so hard you damage the screen. When you look at the design you can see the scratchy organic feel of the image.


Believe it or not I used turquoise, chartreuse and purple dye. Was it the lighting?? Anyway, I pulled the screen id various positions including on point (diamond shaped). I really like the organic feel of flour paste resists.


Close-up



And here it is batched washed and ironed.



Here are a few old prints from flour paste resist.




8 comments:

  1. Nice, Beth! The first screen I learned how to make was with flour paste. Thanks for the reminder... your designs are fun and interesting!

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  2. Screen printing is on my to try list. How many prints can you get with your screen this way using the flour paste resist? Is it hard to get the past out when done?
    Jo

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  3. I do believe I have a screen somewhere in my 'had to have but never used' pile. This looks great! :)

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  4. I think it depends on the paste mixture you make. I have had the design start to "go" after 10 or so pulls then I've had them stay and stay. If I leave it in the screen too long or dry multiple times it can be a bit of a problem to get out. Usually I just soak the screen in warmish water and use a scrub brush.

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  5. I love the look of the results from the flour resist--depending on the colors it's either fireworks or pine needles. Gorgeous. My only adventures with flour resist were straight onto cotton. That didn't work out so well....

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  6. Eager to try this! I want to be sure I understand. You put the waxed paper on the front of the screen (where paint/dye will be pulled), but put the flour paste on the back of the screen, yes? And what is the waxed paper for? Why did you cut it smaller than the full interior size of the screen? Thanks for any further details!

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  7. I put the waxed paper between the back/bottom of the screen and the table to keep the table clean then applied the flour paste to the inside/top of the screen where I will pull the thickened dye.

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  8. I love this method. It is time consuming but you can get really detailed marks. I have never done it with the paste on the inside of the screen though.

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We would love to hear from you and even better have some links to your work!