I’ve been screenprinting on and off for nearly 50 years, but it’s only in the last couple of years, now that I’m retired, that I can focus on it.
What I love about screenprints is that they are great for graphical work. You can get solid blocks of vibrant colours, and produce large runs of very high quality and highly detailed images (especially by using photographs and using photosensitive emulsion to transfer the images to the screens). They also generate a number of technical challenges, which makes it even more pleasing when a multi-colour print emerges as planned!. Screenprinting may have been invented in China sometime around 1000 AD, and introduced to Western Europe in the 18th century, but in many ways the 60’s were the heyday – think of Warhol, Rauchenberg and Leichenstein (and also look out for Sister Mary Corita Kent).
I did a short evening class course at Putney School of Art in the late 1970’s and then bought a screen and inks to enable me to produce some images at home. In those days it was all oil-based inks, so the smell was at times overpowering and a lot of turps was used up cleaning screens, equipment, hands etc. Nowadays the inks are water based so it’s a lot easier, though with oil-based inks you do get a fabulous glossy finish, which I miss.
Initially I painted directly onto the screen, but in and around the 1990’s I started making more and more complex cut-outs, though as I just used thin paper they tended to disintegrate rather quickly!
Since I retired in 2010, I’ve renewed my interest, and initially did a 2-day workshop in late 2015 in Dalston (http://printclublondon.com/workshops/ – high recommended!), and then (in Jan 2016) another 2-day course at Oxford Printmaker’s Co-op (http://www.oxfordprintmakers.co.uk – also highly recommended!). These courses introduced me to the use of photographic techniques, and I have been going through my photos, manipulating them on photoshop, and discovering various ways to produce multiple colour prints. It’s all a steep learning curve!