Friday, June 15, 2012

Deconstructed Screen Printing

Toward the end of May, my talented, artist friend, Mia Bloom, paid me a visit for a few days so that we could try our hand with deconstructed screen printing in my studio.  She brought along the Kerr Grabowski  DVD that she had purchased.  If anyone is interested in learning this method of screen printing check out Deconstructed Screen Printing for Fabric and Paper.  I highly recommend it.  Not only is Kerr a great teacher but she has an endearing personality that comes across in no uncertain terms.  It's as if she is in the studio with you!

Mia and I set about making printing boards from 2" insulation board according to Kerr's directions.  The 4'x8' insulation boards from Lowe's wouldn't fit in my car so I first had to come up with some sort of transportation mode.  Here's a picture of a carrier contraption that I made out of PVC pipes, water noodles and lengths of nylon cinching straps.  I might have looked a bit funny driving down the road with neon orange water noodles strapped to the top of my car but the unit worked like a dream.
Here's my contraption that I call a Car Carry All
Much to the doubt of onlookers in Lowe's parking lot,
my Carry All worked just fine.
Because the sheet was huge Mia and I were able to get a few, big printing boards out of it that look like this:
Completed printing board
Here's an idea of the printing board's great size
We continued to revisit Kerr's video instructions on mixing thickened dye with sodium alginate, the importance of the use of soda ash, and how to mix urea water into the sodium alginate.  All this was quite foreign to me, but, by George, we were making progress.  We captured some great pictures of Mia's screens and I'm sure that you will soon be able to see them on her blog.  Images of my prepared screens are not as good as Mia's but at least they show the screens and some of the supplies we used.
Painting onto the screen with thickened dye
Because we did not have fiber reactive dyes, we used Rit Dye.
We both believe that the final colors would be much more
vibrant if we could have use fiber reactive dyes. 
One screen painted with thickened dye and another waiting
to be done.
Waiting for the screens to dry has to be the most  difficult part  of this method.  Thank goodness we had two hair dryers to hasten the process.

Here are some pictures of my final screen prints after the were thoroughly dry and after the thickened dye had been washed out of the fabric.
Final printing of 3 screened series
The picture above represents completed prints from 3 different screens.  The top row resulted from the first screen (shown above).  The middle row is from a second screen.  The bottom row resulted from a screen prepared with Elmer's School Glue and printed with thickened dye, not from the deconstructed process.

This process can easily become addictive and I'm sure there will be more projects like this coming out of my studio.  Remember, give some thought to purchasing Kerr Grabowski's DVD and be sure to check out Mia Bloom's blog in the next few days.  Her printings were absolutely  magnificent.


  1. The final printing looks beautiful! I love the carry all. How smart!

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  3. Linda-reading almost a year after your excellent post--i LOVE your DSP and your car carrier!!! thanks, Kerr (now "publishing", didnt realize would need my url)