Refining and Resolving my Print and Weave Processes, Techniques, Materials and Colour
The initial screen-printing processes centred around the use of recycled newsprint and the creation of pattern and texture in a range of ways using waste. A fine series of newsprint was used to explore the effects of print, pressure, and squeegee technique with the screens with and without the use of exposed imagery from prior and ongoing artwork. Many different materials were used as complementary and contrasting forms of resist including different forms and weights of shredded paper and card of which some of the waste had already been printed on to create additional effects in print. The newsprint was initially preferred as it absorbs the printing ink so readily and distorts so well to create different surface effects and tensions on and within the paper. From using such a mix of materials and techniques so many varying outcomes could be realised. I enjoyed how the interaction of the screen-printing processes using a very small squeegee as if a paint brush yielded interesting visual mark making qualities as every nuance of the marks made were held and retained by the newsprint then distorted as the inks dried into the newsprint. In starting small scale, I increased the size of newsprint sheeting to A2 and produced twenty-four variations of a single series of experimental prints from using up left over colours from previous art projects within the studio space. I selected from colours which offered the most information concerning contrasts, the effects of the resist material, layering and distortion through different drying techniques. The newsprint and inks responded differently to applied direct heat, left to dry in and out of direct sunlight.
I really enjoyed this series of practical investigation as a research process to help inform the direction of my screen-printing processes on finer materials, of adapting and adjusting my use of materials to explore how the application of printing inks can develop new narratives.
I liked how the practical investigation lent itself to developing my relationship with screen-printing using a wider range of different materials. The range of waste resist materials used added an interesting dynamic with print and ink as well as reinforcing my context. The uptake of ink within the newsprint created mark and textural variations which continued to evolve through time…I liked this idea of evolution…evolving with time. The dull yellow responded well to the substrate and offered a neutral base for the other colours. The brown-orange, cyan and blue created contrasts which fuelled further colour schemes based on a more paired down colour way.
I started to think about how the physical qualities could be further harnessed and while I was influenced by the work of Val Britton, contemporary artist I wanted to use my screen-printed sheets together as a final larger piece. While working smaller scale I increasingly related to larger scale work. I have increasingly investigated how my developing textile practice can be viewed on a larger scale no matter how it initially evolved as this acts as the preferred platform to view the screen-printed work. Being seen as a set of twenty-four and as a whole marked the final piece as greater than the sum of its parts. This process of screen-printing on different paper types, card, cardboard, and composites including MDF helped me to manage my thinking concerning larger-scale projects involving screen-printing on muslin, to create new learning and understanding on scale, materials and techniques. Many versions produced unusual mark making with the resist, which threw up more options of laying down ink in different quantities coupled with varying ink applications.
I felt that the more muted outcomes were the most successful whereupon there was this sense of fracturing, of being broken, of disrepair which resonated with my theme of environmental fracturing and the need for increased sustainability and reduced waste. I felt that there was a stronger connection with the context through the materials used and the communication of ideas was realised through the portrayal of the key themes in process especially when using more sheer and fragile paper types. The reaction of the print to the newsprint paper, how this type of paper absorbed and in-part fractured in response. Each print layer related differently to the printing process and affected what was printed and how it was printed. Often small rivulets of ink formed on the surface when printed onto dried ink which was interesting to see and respond to.
From reflecting upon my relationship with the materials I liked the feel of the finished pieces, of the effect of the ink on the newsprint and how it has altered the surface tension. Just arranging and rearranging the separate A2 pieces in configurations of twenty-four was enjoyable, of the stiffened textural effects in print. Even the masking tape used to hold the newsprint down to the print table yielded some interesting patination when printed over. Some of these samples were retained and kept for future reference.
This helped me to think about the evolution of further sampling processes and the possibilities of using the materials and techniques again. The use of the small squeegee allowed for greater control, pressure, and variability when printing which produced increased textural effects within the imagery produced. Single pulls were used given the fragility of the newsprint which would fragment readily with the wet ink especially with the use of additional waste products as resist. Using more pressure to push the resist down created more outline layering effects with abstracted edging which added an additional dimension to the finished pieces. Weaker solutions were used to create some translucent effects especially with the cyan which can be further investigated.
On reviewing the distortion and puckering effects of the ink on newsprint it reminded me of my previous sewing projects using fabric and stitch to manipulate the material. How the newsprint contracted and reacted with the printing ink made me think of parchment, of how materials can be transformed with the addition of different techniques using printing ink to change how it is seen, felt and related with.
From this experiencing I am pleased with what I have learned and how only waste was utilised throughout this experience of screen-printing to produce such a finished sampling process. This has further reinforced my focus on using waste to create and communicate the need for environmental sustainability and reduced waste.