Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Printing, Resting, Scarves!

                 Hello blogspot, its almost two days since I’ve posted, thats because I took yesterday and today to recharge my body and hang around the house. I have discovered knowing when to take a break is AS important as constantly exploring and succeeding at the tasks I have been given. It turns out the two go hand in hand and although I want to explore London every second I am not working, my body has a different plan.
When I am not recharging I am at work making scarves. I have about 7 out of 30 done, and the minutes per scarf is getting shorter as my production speed gets faster. In other words, there is definitely progress and its coming along quite nicely if I do say so myself.
Although I didn’t do anything too exciting after work, I did manage to get a little adventure in during work. One of the woman who works in the studio asked me if I would be interested in going out and grabbing the fabric they ordered on my break, I said yes because I never turn down an opportunity to see a new place. So after she gave me a map and some directions, I was off!
To get there, I took the Northern Line of the tube to Kentish Town. On the tube I noticed a lot of people subtly pointing and laughing at me, “thats strange” I thought, I’m not sure what would be so funny about me sitting in a seat on the tube, I deemed it as strange and continued to other random thoughts. Then I noticed the guy sitting next to me was fast asleep and it wasn’t until he started to slightly snore that I noticed he was sleeping. This made the fact that people were laughing and pointing in my direction make sense, this man was pretty comical the way he was dead asleep waking up occasionally to make sure everything was ok. I was slightly relieved to know the laughing was not at something that had gone horridly wrong with my outfit or makeup, (it occasionally will happens that I rub my eyes, forgetting I am wearing eye make-up, and its not until I see my reflection in a mirror or store window, that the sock of walking around with raccoon eyes in public hits me.)
When I got off the tube I successfully found the fabric store and got to hang out in their showroom filled with EVERY kind of fabric imaginably while I waited for the manufactures to wrap it up safely in plastic. On my way back to the tube I stumbled upon a really cheep super market which made my day because I have not eaten a ton of fruit since I’ve been here, and I am used to living on fruit back home, so I stocked up big time on all sorts of healthy treats. 
When I got back to the studio I continued making scarves until Caroline (the print maker here,) asked me if I would like to help out with some printing. I was thrilled because silk screening is a new thing for me, I have done print making where you etch metal and run it through a press but I have never silk screened onto fabric before! 
Silk screening itself is a process best described in person because it is complicated to give a written explanation that is accessible to read and understand. But here are the basics instructions: for each print you have 2-4 screens. One screen for each color you want on the print. First you must pin down the fabric so it does not move when your printing. Then, you must put the screen on the fabric, take some ink at one end, and squeegee it back and forth so all the ink goes through all the gaps that make the design. We use two people for this process here because the image is two big for one person to squeegee on their own, you must pass the squeegee to the second person at the midpoint of the print. You repeat the pattern by doing the steps listed perviously, then lifting up the screen, placing it next to the section you just did and repeating the squeegee step. You then let that dry, once it is done drying you aligned the second screen(which will be a different design then screen 1,) do this process with a new color, and eventually you have a multi colored print. 
We were working on paper for this print because the screen we were using is one that was archived (its been around a while,) and we wanted to make sure the print worked out before doing it on fabric. Another helpful fact about doing the print on paper, is that you can bring the print up to the pattern maker who can give their input on it, and even line up the clothing pattern on the paper to see if the concept will work correctly with the design. 
After printing it was back to scarves as I tried madly to get as many as I could done in the short time I am here. After work I laid low, letting my body recharge so that I could get back out to adventuring and sight seeing in London! 

On the right- the first print from the screen, it is two colors because we used two different color pigments on the first screen. The process of putting multiple colors of pigment on one screen is called referred to as  rainbowing!

This is the second screen, this will be yellow and it will go over the first screen
The final product

LOTS of silk screens in the printing studio

The drawing room where the print concepts are made.

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