10 Palmers Rd
London E2 0SY
Sat 30 June & Sun 1 Jul 2012, 1pm - 5 pm
All photos: NolionsInEngland
This Graffoto scribe has learned a bit about various forms of printing at workshops which run by High Rollers Society gallery in East London. As the NoLions wardrobe is notably bereft of cool teeshirts, a teeshirt printing workshop looked like too good an opportunity to miss.
Copyem, master of tee shirt printing, has been printing teeshirts, sweat shirts, hoodies, vests, tote bags as well as vinyl, paper and boxes for a couple of years out of his own fully equipped studio. High Rollers bumped into Copyem at Pick Me Up, the contemporary graphic art fair at Somerset House earlier this year and that chance encounter between kindred spirits led to this workshop this weekend.
Copyem brought some screens and some basic teeshirt printing equipment to the gallery. Not to damn with faint praise but for multicolour printing and larger volumes Copyem uses 8 frame carousels which are not practical to schlep across London to the gallery, hence the basic gear in use today.
Graffiti Is For Losers - Copyem12
The first step in the process is obviously, create your artwork, which leads onto the second step, burn your screen. Step 1 was fulfilled by several notable artists and Copyem had already burned the screens back at base.
Handy tip alert - Copyem applies an abundance of tape to the screen outside the image area in case there are spots where the photosensitive chemical didn’t harden in the burning process, so the parcel tape prevents un-wanted ink leaking through those spots. The screens are clamped into the screenprinting press with the image centralised. A light spray of adhesive to prevent the teeshirt from slipping around preceeds the stretching of a teeshirt over the wooden base.
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The screen is charged with screenprinter ink, though other forms of acrylic and water soluble ink can be used, and the squeegee is used to drag ink across to “flood” the screen.
Flooding complete, the ace printer makes two or three passes across the screen with the squeegee to force the ink through onto the teeshirt. We were all ace printers for one afternoon!
When the image looks solidly printed, the screen is lifted and a heater element placed a couple of inches over the tee to dry the ink off. Rumours abounded of people popping tees into the oven or under the grill to complete this stage.
Hey presto, super cool kid with the hottest teeshirt around.
At the workshop we saw three different designs being printed , the purple Goldpeg above and a black on white “Graffiti is for losers" and a pink (ok – fushia) coloured character by Copyem12. Anyone could have a go at printing the Copyem designs which could be taken away for a fairly nominal donation to the costs. The Goldpeg and couple of ultra cool multi colour Rowdy and Sweet Toof tees were available to buy from the gallery. The Sweet Toof tees came with a special screen printed Toof image which looked to have uniquely varied backgrounds.
Rowdy, Goldpeg, Sweet Toof
The compact layout of the High Roller Society gallery makes for a very intimate workshop experience, participants not only get to see every aspect of the process close up, the “vibe” lends itself to informal discussion with the expert presented as the workshop progresses and everyone gets to have a crack as well. If you are reading this on Sat 30 June 2012 or before 5 pm Sunday 1 July then there is a chance tomorrow (Sunday) for people who couldn’t make today to have a go and (or) to pick up some of those cool teeshirts. Well worth a quick visit.