Thursday, March 22, 2012

Where Does the Time Go?

Wow! These past several weeks (and almost two months) have been consumed by the norm - work, doctor appointments, picking up prescriptions, replacing starter in car, changing spark plugs to pass smog test, etc.

I also told myself that it was time to stop stalling and turn artwork into screens to print. I had been working on turning my collage prints into black and white art and printed them on transparencies, and I finally started to do something with all those transparencies. I should confess that I have a bad habit of buying supplies and never touching them. I also have a weird obsession with screen printing "tools". What I have always wanted to do is screen print on fabric but I have never had the funds to purchase all the equipment to "set up shop", so hence, my obsession with any new screen printing "tool" (I say tool for lack of a better word at this writing).

A few years ago, I purchased the PGArts. This is the larger format Gocco that I had always wanted and it was on sale at Paper Source. As soon as I bought it, I found out that the company that owns and makes Gocco, Riso, was discontinuing my favorite "toy". Therefore, I never took the PGArts out of the box. I continued using my old smaller model until I finally ran out of screen masters.

Well, I pulled the PGArts out of the box. I attempted to burn two screens and neither worked. I'm not sure why they didn't work, but can only say that the entire imagine did not burn both times. Ugh. Then I ordered some PhotoEZ Standard Stencils. I burned a stencil in the sunlight and then burned some in a light box. They came out pretty good, yet still lacked some detail from the artwork. They kind of looked a bit blurry when I pulled prints.  I then ordered some StencilPro Standard Stencils and I think they came out quite good, that is until I printed my stencils on a rather "rough" dishtowel. I didn't like the way it looked.

I then brought out the Yudu. I had purchased one back in 2008 or 2009 and had never used it (I only used one at a workshop I had taken). I watched some videos and read some helpful blogs and attempted to place the emulsion sheet on the screen. My first attempt was dreadful! It turned out looking like an abstract painting.

I clearly had too much water on the screen so the emulsion took forever to dry. I would attempt to pull the protective plastic backing off and it would pull the emulsion with it (a sign that the emulsion is still wet). I have since attempted a few more sheets of emulsion and have pretty much determined that knowing when the screen coated with the capillary film is dry, is a visual thing.

I then read about others having great success using liquid photo emulsion on their Yudu screens. It is certainly more economical and easy to apply once you get the hang of it. I am still learning to get the hang of it! I have coated several screens with the liquid emulsion and only a few have really been good. The very first screen I coated was so crazy, though. I used a scoop coater but applied the emulsion holding the scoop coater upside down. Talk about a waste of emulsion!  The first "good" screen I coated with the liquid emulsion, ultimately failed. When I was rinsing off the screen after burning the artwork,  I missed a few areas of emulsion so the print was wrong.

Seems that my biggest investment lately has been in emulsion remover! I am not deterred, however. I plan to get this down and get it right as I have so many design ideas floating in my head that need to come to life.

On the family front, my mom celebrated her 89th birthday this past Monday! I cannot believe she is 89. My sister and I took her out for a nice Thai dinner and then she had a glass of champagne (served in a vintage cocktail glass) and a jumbo Red Velvet cupcake. We got her gifts from the Braille Institute - a talking clock, two decks of playing cards for the visually impaired and a great magnifying mirror. I also learned how to fix her talking watch while at the Braille Institute store. She also had many well wishes and a call from my cousin from Canada.

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