In Which Screen Printing Can Be Affirming

This week we’ve had a visiting artist at school. He’s a screen printer from the Netherlands, and he’s been here setting up for a show since last Wednesday. You can see his stuff at http://harmenliemburg.nl but you really can’t get the right impression of how spectacular his work is until you see them up close and in their real life sizes (usually about 3 feet x 5 feet).

One of my professors set his visit up, and as part of his week here there was a two-day workshop for fifteen students to learn screen printing and make a set of prints having to do with different topics about the city of Charlotte. I was one of the fifteen selected and spent Saturday and Sunday learning this form of art.

I’ve never had much talent in drawing or painting, or really any of the traditional sort of art media. I can do photography and I’ve done hand-painted clothing with stencils, but who can’t do stencils? I’ve sort of always wished I could make art that could be hung on a wall, but never felt like I had a talent for it. But this screen printing thing really caught me. I felt so empowered to be able to actually make prints and produce this art with two other people in my group, and then have strangers see what we came up with and compliment it. It’s really a special kind of feeling to realize that I can do this type of art, and I can be really creative with it and I enjoy doing it.

A lot of us in the workshop were doing research into setting up small personal screen print studios, and I am definitely going to do that. The materials aren’t expensive even if you buy the professional stuff, and making the screens personally saves even more money. With a couple small screens I could do little cards and some clothing (I can’t even describe how excited I am to be able to screen print clothing after working with plain acrylic paint on the fabric for so long), or just prints to give to my friends as gifts. Hopefully I can get everything set up in the next month or two and be sending some of you guys the results soon after that.

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