At my last posting in July, I was in the midst of a setback with my four screens I was using to make the new serigraph print. I had to stop what I was doing and just build 4 new screens and start over making the four value separation stencils. I accomplished that and have documented the procedure with a couple of videos. At the same time I’ve been learning how to operate my video camera and edit the clips to make acceptable videos for YouTube. Well, mostly acceptable! It’s a work in progress just learning this stuff, but as long as it’s fun, that’s what counts, right?
I now have the screens all ready to print again and just this week began printing the first and second colors on my 19 pieces of paper. I stole one piece of my printing paper to do that small portrait for my friend in Florida. I’m not sure these prints are gonna come out good enough, quality wise, to even think about selling…but you never know.
As I plow through this whole process, I keep learning and relearning concepts and procedures that I thought I already knew. For instance; My registration technique. This print has four colors and the whole idea is to print each succeeding color in exactly the same place as the preceeding color so they are visually in synch…and I am supposed to do it 20…errr, 19 times. That’s the number of prints I’ve chosen for this first edition.
Stuff happens! Each step of the process is dependent on the prior step being done with precision. If the first step is not done right, then the whole thing will be off as you move from one step to the next, and well, by the time you’re done, it hardly resembles what you had in mind in the beginning. What you end up with can range from a royal mess to some prints being “acceptable” but nothing perfect. The main objective every printmaker has in his mind is to make every print in an edition exactly the same! That is just not gonna happen here for me. I’ve stumbled around the learning curve way too much. That all said, once I develop a registration system that works for me, and can confidently print each color in the correct place on all the papers, then I can spend more time working on additional ideas and cooler images.
I just printed the second color today, and pretty quickly realized that my little paper registration tabs were just not suitable. During the first color printing the tabs apparently moved around on me as I went through the 19 prints. Then, today I noticed too late that the same tabs were weak and being pushed up, down and sideways by the paper when I placed the paper in the tabs to print. You have to understand, even a millimeter or two of movement will cause problems. The tabs in the photo above are a new registration tab idea, taken from watching another printer do this.
I use my vacuum table to hold the paper steady for the most part, but I believe the movement of the squeegee across the screen is making the paper slide down ever so slightly. But that may just be my imagination. I’ll have to get back to you on that quasi observation. But I have been out there playing around with another type of registration tab today. One that I noticed while watching “The Little Friends of Printmaking” printing some of their posters in their shop. I have gotten quite a bit of help from these guys. They sent me on the right track for my “Sidekick” support and offered insight into water based inks they use. I tried those inks and really like them now; Speedball and Jaquard inks that is. On a side note, It’s very hard to find other silkscreeners who print on paper. Most just do it on fabrics, like tee shirts, etc.
That’s about it for this installment. Maybe soon I can post a finished print and move on to the next image. I want to have 3 prints ready for the Williams Station Day here in Atmore.Please share... ...You'll be glad you did!