more experiments

My friendly local screenprinter, Gareth at I Love Screen Printing, tells me that there is hope for my buggered-up screen. There is some special stripper I can buy, apparently, but that will have to wait til next week: my days go pear-shaped quite often, plus I’ve already moved on to the next experiment:

thurs1

I traced the design onto the screen with a soft pencil, then went over the lines with powder paint (mixed with water, obvo!) and let it dry. In this **%#@ hot weather we’re having here, it took all of 5 minutes :(

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Then I carefully painted over the rest of the screen with the dreaded blue block-out  (this was after Gareth had told me about the stuff that will save my screens).

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Left it to dry overnight, then washed the whole thing. The idea is that the powder paint will wash away, leaving a beautiful clear design.  hmmmm, well, that only sort of happened.

The dried block-out bits were all soft and wrinkly round the edges, and tried very hard to peel themselves off the screen as I worked on it with a sponge. I tried digging at them with a toothpick then an earbud and eventually a scalpel, but there was no disguising that this was another balls-up.  What did not help the situation one bit was that Jessy’s cat litter tray is also in the bathroom where I was faffing around with the screen, and she snuck up behind me and laid the stinkiest foulest dropping of her entire life.  Eventually, I left the screen standing next to the bath and went to bed, disgusted and cursing.

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Next morning, however, the blue stuff had dried hard and crisp.  Yo! There was only one thing to do – I grabbed some sandpaper (always useful to have a couple of squares lying around), and actually sandpapered my screen! The professionals would have laughed themselves silly, I’m sure, and it certainly isn’t ideal, but I was determined to get something out of all this effort !!

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So, it’s not quite what I had in mind, but I quite like the rough textured look (!). At least, that’s what I tell myself. Market Rabbit is just in that pic for added interest, by the way.

Anyhow, it’s possible that I will soon stop with the block-out experiments and switch to using emulsion, like normal people.  Doreen gave me some screenprinting mesh that she’d found in the back of her cupboard, and Rob is very keen to help me make some wooden frames for the screens. Aren’t you, dear?

 

not so clever after all

After the success of the first experiment, I moved on to the second one with all the forethought of a pig jumping off a cliff.  I painted my design onto the screen with modge podge (thinking it would easily peel off when dry).

modge podge

Then I filled the screen with block-out, a really good thick layer, and let it dry outside overnight.

screen filler

First mistake.  I’d laid such a thick layer of filler that the excess seeped through to the other side of the screen and dried in big fat pimples.

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That alone would have made it unusable. But wait, there’s more – thinking I could at least salvage one aspect of the experiment,  I tried to peel off the dried modge podge. Second mistake. Dried modge podge on a screen mesh does not peel off no matter how hard you try.

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Okay, bloody bugger, but still not the end of the world. I could wash all the stuff off and try something else, because modge podge and block-out are water soluble, right? Wrong. I’ve soaked it in the bath for hours, scrubbed it with Vim and acetone and washing soda, cursed at it, kicked it a couple of times for luck, but nothing. Unless I can find some kind of special chemical remover, this is now a permanently stuffed-up screen.

So, what can I take away from this fail?  Don’t experiment with a brand-new screen; test out a theory on a scrap of mesh first. Like when you think it might be a good idea to use Nair on your upper lip instead of just your legs?- test it first on your inside wrist. If the skin revolts within two seconds, you’ll know you just saved your face from disaster.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing :-)

block out

I read about a screenprinting technique where you use powder paint to apply your design to the screen, and then bituminous paint as a screen filler.  I scoured the hardware shops for the right paint, but nothing seemed anything like what the author had used.  Googling and YouTube led me to products made by Speedball and Jacquard in the US, but none of the online stores delivered exactly what I wanted to South Africa.  Not even Amazon, the rats.

I had to wait for the 4th of January to contact local screenprinting suppliers because they were all closed for the week between Christmas and New Year.  Mighty frustrating. When I want something, I tend to want it right now, so this was a real test of my patience…

Anyway, to cut this short, I managed to find a place in Maitland that stocks Saati products imported from Italy. The most likely thing was stuff called Block-Out, but the guy couldn’t be sure that it would work like my book suggested.  Only one way to find out!

I laid the blank screen over the image I wanted and, using quite a fine paintbrush for the fiddly bits and a thicker one for the big bits, painted out the background with the block-out.  I let it dry overnight.

saati    drying

I hadn’t realised that the block-out would penetrate the screen enough to make the paper underneath stick to it, which is what that white stuff is. Lesson learned!

Here is the first print:

red bird

I was really pleased with this, but if you look closely you can see two tiny areas where I’d missed bits.  Second lesson learned.

This block-out stuff is water-solvent, so I was worried that it would all wash away under the tap when I cleaned the ink off the screen after printing – in which case, this process would be the opposite of useful – but it didn’t…happy dance :-)  The screen definitely looks pretty mucky, though:

screen

but I ignored the muck and made another print, which turned out just dandy:

bird1

While all this was being done, I had another idea about how to make a positive instead of a negative along similar lines. I’ve prepared the screen and it’s drying outside tonight, so if the idea works you’ll get another scintillating post tomorrow.
xx

Night Market at Rondebosch Park

Yesterday’s Rondebosch Park Market is the last market I’ll be doing this year. There’s lots of planning to do for 2016, but I’m going to take a few days to catch my breath, do some admin, sew some stuff for my very own self, and spend time with the people I love. Might even fit in a trip to Dizzy’s!

Nici and Tonya have worked their little butts off this year to reenergise and revamp this particular market, and it’s now growing and evolving and doing wonders for our community here in the southern suburbs of Cape Town.

The night market ran from 3pm to 8pm, which is perfect in Cape Town because the heat starts to lessen and usually ushers in a nice cool evening. We had rain late last night, but luckily about 3 hours after the market ended!

Some random photos:

And some more…

Wishing you all a happy holiday season, with love from Jill, Rob, Jessie, Choco, Carol and Grommit.

Taking stock…

Inspired by Rachel in her Little Room:

Making : pillow cases with butterflies on them
Cooking : absolutely nothing
Drinking : coffee
Reading: Adam’s Navel by Michael Sims

adams navel
Wanting: the two women on either generational side of me to find peace in themselves
Looking: out of the window at a beautiful green garden and a very untidy patio
Playing: the occasional game of Minesweeper
Deciding: on a more streamlined business strategy, with Rob’s help
Wishing: I hadn’t picked up 4 kgs in the last few months
Enjoying: my new car
Waiting: for the pillow cases in the tumble dryer to be ready
Liking: the reappointment of Pravin Gordhan as our Finance Minister
Wondering: how the hell I’m ever going to find the discipline to lose weight, and what Rob will cook for supper tonight
Loving: my cake-fork ring

Pondering: how best to screenprint designs on duvet covers
Considering: having to cancel next week’s treat pedicure since dropping a tin of cat food on my big toe last night, which is now blue and bloody and the size of a kiwi fruit. I was so looking forward to that pedicure….
Buying: only the essentials  (except for the cake fork ring)
Watching: Cuffs. and Transparent. Up to about episode 6, I think. 
Hoping: that I haven’t already walked through the remains of the gecko that Jessie caught last night
Marvelling: at the stupidity of some people, and geckos
Needing: apart from my prozac, very little!
Wearing: a very old animal print kaftan, completely torn down one side
Following: News24
Noticing: how much my kitchen needs a good clean
Knowing: how short our lives are and how we need to keep things in perspective
Thinking: that I must try harder to keep things in perspective
Admiring: Miss Columbia’s poise
Sorting: huh?
Bookmarking: the fanfare stitch that Kathryn told me about
Coveting: nothing comes to mind!
Disliking: the arthritic aches and pains in my hands, and knowing I will have to deal with it sooner rather than later
Opening: a jar of peanut butter
Feeling: relatively content, all things considered
Snacking: peanut butter on crackers
Helping: I don’t think I’m much of a helper. You’d have to get opinions from other people!