Heart Zeena Screen Printing Workshop Class
It’s a cold winters day, how else would you spend it then to take a course learning to screen print and make exciting designs. I find myself at Heart Zeena studio. Zeena who is a textile designer based in Hoxton, Shoreditch. I found out about Heart Zeena through a recent craft fair where I saw some of her wonderful products, and by coincidence Zeena also teaches a small print class to small groups, who wish to have fun and print, something which I have wished to learn for some time, to add another dimension to my own illustration work.
Once in from the cold and into Zeena’s studio, who has an amazing creative space where she designs and teaches from. The studio is full of creative material such as workstations. Books for inspiration and an array of printing materials.
The day is started with a warm greeting from Zeena, and then up to the studio, where I meet the others who are taking the course, it’s a nice mix, who are here to have fun and learn about printing. During the introductions, as part of the day, we have time for tea and mince pies, obviously because of the cold winters day and the pies for that added Xmas factor.
Zeena starts the course talking to the small group about the different types of screen printing processes. The printing method that will be taught is to learn how to print straight from a stencil cut design onto fabric, which was a tote bag and a tea towel.
The group was given waxed wrapping paper, the type, which is used by, butchers apparently. The waxy texture of the paper is ideal for creating stencils with as the property of the wax paper helps to stop the ink from seeping though the stencil, yet allowing the ink to pass through the rest of the un-stencilled screen. The screen fabrics come in a varying degree of sizes Zeena explained, the size we would be using would be A4, which is a good size to print with onto the Tote bags and Tea towels. The nylon mesh of the silkscreen also comes in different sizes, Zeena explained that we would be using a silkscreen with a mesh size of 42T which is ideal for screen printing on to fabric, however, there are many other screen sizes for varying uses, to print onto paper and fabric.
The group set off on the task of cutting out the stencils, it’s a tricky task, drawing out you’re illustrious onto the wax paper then, to cut them out with stencils and scissors while at the same the trying to mind not cutting away at your fingers. Once the stencils are all cut. Its time to lay the stencil designs flat onto to the tote bag laid on the printing bed ready to be screen printed. Once the stencil is laid flat the screen is placed over the stencil and positioned into place.
Its time to screen print the design, I choose to use a dark navy blue colour for the print. Zeena instructs me to spoon the ink at the top edge of the screen, the term for this is the well. With a rubber squeegee, which is held at a very slight angle, with one firm action with both hands, the squeegees are drawn down the screen, and it is dispersed through the screen onto the tote bag. Scooping up the excess colour, it is reused at the top of the screen, the process is to be repeated.
A fun and easy screen printing process with instant results. I found it to be a great way to print, and the rest of the reaming time in the class was used to cut new stencils and printing, which was a lot of fun. It was amazing to see the rest of the group come up with their designs and prints, which were all fantastic designs. Zeena’s had a great teaching method. Which was friendly and informative while at the same time enjoyable and fun, However, I was told off for using a rubber, which is not allowed in the class. You do come away having had a great day with like-minded people. If only my art classes were like that at school, I’m sure I would have remembered them more fondly. So here I am at the end of the class with some fantastic tote bag and tea towels, which are going to make some great Xmas gifts. I have caught the bug to screen print and now I will be looking to screen-print much more of my illustrations in the near future.