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). Â So instead of four-color printing, I spent the day troubleshooting the screen burning process, with help from the complexcloth Yahoo group. Â 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. Â 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. Â Screen printing is messy and takes a lot of space (mostly for drying the printed items), so I prefer to do it outside. Â 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. Â So I will play around with it this coming weekend. Â (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. Â Alas, no. Â 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. Â I’m just playing at the moment, and developing skills that will come in handy later. Â I want to understand more about surface design, and I’m taking advantage of this break from Big Projects to play with different techniques. Â 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). Â I need to do some deep thinking about ways in which surface design can be used with handwoven fabrics without overwhelming the woven pattern. Â 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. Â 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. Â After nearly a year focused on a single project, it’s nice to take some time “off” and play without any further intent. Â 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! Â Mike and I went to Lowe’s and Home Depot this weekend to investigate flooring, cabinets, and major appliances. Â 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. Â 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!