Funded by an Engine Micro Bursary, Wingham reports back on her experiences on the intensive five day course.
The purpose of the five day course at Leicester Print Workshop was to learn new skills within print making, my chosen field of interest, in all its wonderful forms. The summer textile course, led by Zara Shepherd, allowed for an intensive insight into a printing genre that I have little experience of.
The brief explained that during the week I would learn how to make a repeat pattern and print this to a high standard using traditional hand screen printed techniques and experiment with different products to achieve this. Working with our own ideas and interests, students would be encouraged to design a pattern that was entirely our own to use as we wished.
Day 1: Designing our repeat pattern
At the beginning of day one Zara gave an introduction into the outcomes of the course, as an experienced textile technician formerly from Loughborough University and now as a textile artist pursuing her own range of wares, she had lots of experience and enthusiasm for all things textiles. We were shown what could be achieved through screen printing on to fabric, with Zara providing examples of the patterns she has hand drawn showing the group what was possible.
he day started with how to draw the box which would form our block repeat. Sounds easy!? It turns out drawing a perfectly straight rectangle was a lot more difficult and time consuming than first thought but very important for the tile to work when it came to printing it.
After drawing this box it was time to design the pattern. Zara went round to talk to us individually about our designs and how these would work as a repeat form. I decided to work with the theme of palmistry, reading the visual to inform us of what we cannot see – linking with my artistic concerns on all things associated with how we gain information from sight and that which we do not notice. With this I decided to work with a two-colour design for my fabric.
Day 2: Drawing our finished repeat block and exposing this on to a screen
After we had finished designing the final repeat block it was time to trace this on to draft paper ready to expose onto a screen. This step of the process took a while but it allowed you to make little changes if needed and create a hand-finished effect to the work.
Day 3: Colour swatching and printing the 2 metre fabric
As a printmaker I know the importance of colour mixing and swatching to achieve your desired result and textile printing is no different. It was wonderful to be allowed to just play with colours to see what worked and what didn’t. This is something that I often forget to do – just play and have fun as an artist which I will now take more time to do.
Day 4: Experimenting with different printing mediums
Zara showed us examples of other mediums which can be used in screen printing to achieve different visual effects such as puff binder, foil and flock that we could use to embellish our fabric. These particular processes that need heat to become active are fantastic at adding texture to flat images and create interest.
Day 5: Finishing the printed fabric
After an intensive five days, I was shattered. It was a course where the premise was to learn and experiment as much as we wanted to. Every day we were making and being hands-on allowed us to learn skills for ourselves and at our own pace.
The new skills and expansion on existing ones has given me the confidence to push my work further. I am delighted with the outcome of the course – it has sparked the making of new work exploring different avenues associated with print. Most of all I am looking forward to making something with my fabric.