Monthly Archives: February 2014

Making: New Prints for 2014!

 I’m very excited to share these 2 new prints with you! I’ve already leaked them a bit on Instgram and Facebook but here they are as well as some more info on my process to make them.
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I really like making test prints, it’s one of the many joys of screen printing. When you are printing an edition- or anything for that matter- you typically print the image a few times on scrap paper or the back of something or whatever you have lying around. I like the randomness that happens with test prints, layers from different editions pile up and create a new print or dialogue that maybe would never occurred to you.
Earlier this winter I was struggling a bit as to what to print next. It had been cold and dreary and I wasn’t that inspired to leave my toasty inside studio playing with a new sewing machine or leather projects. But that creative itch to make something to contribute to my body of print work was also demanding some space. I had a few screens exposed with patterns that I had cut in Rubylith. Based on my experiences with the randomness of test prints I decided to use that as a jumping off point for creating a new edition print. I cut down paper, applied registration tabs and then I printed one of the patterns. Then I printed it again, and again, and again. More times that I can count. I continued mixing shades of blue and green with additional clear base until the paper was completely filled up. Well, not completely- I still wanted a bit of the white for contrast to show through. Just like a test print.
Because it’s an edition print each of the 20 of the edition are alike,  but within the whole print is the creative process that happens when you don’t know what’s going to happen next from laying down multiple test layers. After I determined that there were enough layers I considered leaving it alone but I knew I had to add something else to set off the pattern.  I have a wonderful falcon skull that my mom sent in the mail one day. It’s been right in my studio in front of my work area for a few months taunting me with it’s beautifulness. I took a bunch of photos and tinkered with the contrast to get what you see below.
I know I wanted it to be a half tone print, that really is the best way to represent a photograph in screen printing. Especially in only one layer. Thousands of tiny dots line up to create the shadows and highlights. I can’t print half tone films that big in my home studio so a friend who just opened his own shop offered to print the film positives for me. They’ll print your films for you in even bigger sizes than this and are quite reasonably priced. If you’re in the L.A. area and need films for screen printing you should check them out! Their main focus is working with other artists to create edition screen prints of one of a kind artwork. Serio Press.
When I printed the falcon a wonderful subtle relief pattern was revealed by the layers of accumulated ink. This is another one of the beautiful effects of hand printing verses digital. Each layer of ink is a separate physical layer of ink and a texture slowly builds up.
Pulling any larger squeegee is hard for me since it requires both hands to have even pressure, which mine do not. Getting each and every corner to be sharp and clean is also a challenge. I started with 20 pieces of paper and it’s an edition of 20. I don’t make huge editions, it don’t feel the need to print 50-60, hundreds of the same print and then pull out and destroy the less than perfect ones. I would rather make far, far fewer of something but really challenge myself to make them as consistent and alike to each other as possible. There is a a bit of shift here and there, that’s the lovely nature of hand printing- but none of the edition were crummy enough to pull out. I’m really happy with the way it turned out!
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“Falcon” 16×20, closed edition hand pulled screen print, edition of 20
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Here’s a close up of that layered texture!
Then I had dots on the brain! Because I was getting one film printed for the above print I decided to pull the trigger on a print I’ve been wanting to do for a really long time. I do a lot of prints that are multiple layers, I can often tile those together using a smaller process for printing films or I can hand cut something larger. But with photographs having them printed larger really is the only way to do it and having them printed as films instead of large format copy paper makes sure you’ll get each and every one of those teeny, tiny dots.
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“Moon over Los Angeles” 16x 20, closed edition hand pulled screen print, edition of 22
I walk a lot a night and watching the moon rise over the mountains is one of the greatest joys of living where I live. So often I look up and it’s sitting there, just hovering and GIANT over the beautiful Los Angeles Mountains. It takes my breath away every time. To play on that feeling when it feels like you could just reach out and grab the moon I designed this print for the moon to be just as huge as glorious as it is in my mind when I close my eyes after seeing it like that. It looms over us as if you could reach out and touch it.  The actual image for the moon I got from an open source site online- I wanted to have something that had all that detail I can’t get with my iPhone. The image of the mountains below is a photograph I took on a walk in the mountains across the valley from my house with my iPhone.  My husband works at JPL (Jet Propulsion Labs) so we spend a lot of time with me asking naive questions and him telling me about Deep Space and Rovers and the Moon and Mars and then I make up stories in my head about what he told me. It’s pretty great.
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I pulled 22 of these prints and there are 22 in the edition. As mentioned above I like making only a few of something. and I really, really like being able to keep each pull in the edition. It’s a weird totally unnecessary to anyone but me detail.  These all turned out great, with just enough variation to showcase a hand pulled print but all tight and clean and just beautiful. The color is the deepest, darkest blue black. The photo above shows that it’s not black at all and you can see how small the dots are. Teeny, tiny wonderful dots. I may at some point print this in additional colors…I think white on gray would be extra special as well but only time will tell.  I also ended up with 3 very unique test prints in the process of pulling this print, I’ll be sharing those with you as well but I think this post is long enough.

Thanks again to Serio Press for printing the films for me, can’t wait to do more! I’m working on some other new projects that are extra exciting, hopefully it all goes well. Good stuff happening in 2014 so far!

Posted in Making: From Art to Craft...