The information on this page will provide an overview of what a live screen printing workshop will look like, from education tools to actual printing.
What does the educational aspect of a live printing workshop look like? For starters, it’s brief. I expect participants will want to join the event in order to make something, not to get a lecture on history and design principles. My intention is to put our screen printing activities into context: both historical and from the perspective of graphic design.
For example, I might give a quick statement of when screen printing (sometimes called serigraphy) came into popular usage. Then we would take a look at a poster design from a potent historical moment, such as the iconic “Silence = Death,” made famous by the ACT UP activist collective of the 1980s (fig. 1).
After a (very) brief introduction to the piece, we might discuss how certain principles of design are working, such as hierarchy, scale, negative space, and typography. Participants will be encouraged to think about these aspects in relation to their own messages.
Depending on the structure of the event and time allotted, we would then follow one of two potential pathways:
PATHWAY 1 — QUICK PRINTING PRE-DESIGNED POSTER
For shorter events, I will bring burned screens with a predetermined design. I will introduce the equipment and printing process, and participants can begin printing immediately (fig. 2).
PATHWAY 2 — CUSTOM STENCIL PRINTING
For longer events, I will do a quick intro on making cut stencil images and typography. Participants will then design their own stencil and cut it out of acetate. I will introduce the equipment and printing process, and participants can begin printing their own designs (fig. 3). Note: This structure could be further fleshed out to incorporate a screen drawing fluid technique, or even further into multi-day workshops resulting in photo emulsion printing techniques. These would likely require the use of an established facility.
I am considering developing a one-sheet how-to guide for screen printing, similar to the examples below. At the very least, having these for reference could be a good starting point for live events. I believe it can be empowering to distill something that feels so complex down into a single at-a-glance reference, especially for those new to the craft.
Mobile Screen Printing Unit Supplies
Below is a checklist of supplies needed for a mobile printing event. Apart from the printing surfaces and screens, all materials currently fit into one standard plastic tub.
- Printing surface(s)
- 3′ x 4′ table top with hinge clamps
- t-shirt press
- Test print sheets
- Masking tape
- X-acto knives
- Pencils, pens, markers
- Spray bottle
- Paper towels
- Projector (if applicable)
- Used for reference, examples, tutorials
Documentation of Workshops and Classes
Below is a selection of photos from live printmaking events, workshops, and high school classes that I’ve lead and/or taught. This snapshot shows the flexibility of types of events and content I’ve produced, as well as my breadth of experience teaching graphic design and printmaking skills.
Live screen printing events at Can Can Wonderland in St. Paul, MN
Screen printing workshop at United Seminary in St. Paul, MN for a class on “The Arts and Social Transformation,” with content inspired by Sister Corita Kent
Printing and design classes at Perpich Center for Arts Education