Today’s four-color printing got off to a rough start when I discovered that two of my screens were printing very poorly (and suspected that the third and fourth would be worse). So instead of four-color printing, I spent the day troubleshooting the screen burning process, with help from the complexcloth Yahoo group. Eventually I figured it more or less out, and produced a screen which, while not perfect, printed quite well.
Here’s a photo that shows the difference between yesterday and today:
Maybe not super obvious in the smaller photo, but if you click in, you’ll see how much better today’s print is. I’m still refining the screen-burning process, but I think I’m getting close enough that I can go back to attempting four-color printing.
Unfortunately, though, that will have to wait until next weekend. Screen printing is messy and takes a lot of space (mostly for drying the printed items), so I prefer to do it outside. Four color printing requires a nice chunk of focused time, and I just don’t have enough daylight to do a print run outside on a work-day. So I will play around with it this coming weekend. (It’s probably just as well; my T-shirts from Dharma Trading Company will have arrived by then, so I’ll have something to print on.)
ME asked if I was planning to weave the dragon. Alas, no. Weaving that kind of detailed portrait requires either an incredible amount of hand manipulation or a jacquard loom, so it’s out of my reach right now. I’m just playing at the moment, and developing skills that will come in handy later. I want to understand more about surface design, and I’m taking advantage of this break from Big Projects to play with different techniques. I may make some “complex cloth” a la Jane Dunnewold’s book, layering different surface design techniques to produce a visually rich fabric.
I have no idea, honestly, whether I’ll use this in my current body of work (which focuses, at least for now, on handwoven couture garments). I need to do some deep thinking about ways in which surface design can be used with handwoven fabrics without overwhelming the woven pattern. But it never hurts to have more tools in your toolbox! and I think I can learn a lot about design by playing with surface design techniques on cloth. Fortunately I have quite a bit of cotton fabric in my stash, so I can play for quite awhile with what I’ve already got.
I’m really enjoying dabbling and tinkering. After nearly a year focused on a single project, it’s nice to take some time “off” and play without any further intent. I’m sure my Muse will start cracking the whip again eventually, especially when a really interesting idea comes up – but meanwhile, I can dabble in this and that.
And, of course, there’s my new hobby: home improvement! Mike and I went to Lowe’s and Home Depot this weekend to investigate flooring, cabinets, and major appliances. We won’t be able to get hard-and-fast estimates until the house is actually ours, but we’re starting to think about what we want done and what we want to buy. Depending on what gets left behind, we might have to purchase a LOT of major appliances, so it doesn’t hurt to think about it in advance.
Off to bed!