Silver Octopus screen prints are heeere!

By Erika Moen on February 28, 2012

Gaze upon the fruits of my exasperated labor!

Yes, VICTORY! I have created my first series of silk screened prints since I took that class last year — and I made them without any teacher assistance!

Of course I’m going to walk you through every step, I mean, how could I not?

On the last day of class in May 2011, Joanna, another student, asked if I’d be interested in silk screening at her house if she managed to set up a DIY printing studio. Of course I said yes! Fast-forward to January 2012 and I had completely forgotten about that conversation– until I got an email from her letting me know that she had successfully constructed a pretty swanky studio in her basement and would I still be interested in trying it out.

With a date set, now I had to get a design together! Oh crap! Originally I wanted to do something with two colors, but then I remembered that the last time I did this sort of thing was half a year ago in classroom that was packed to the gills with the most sophisticated and expensive screen printing equipment available, so maybe for this first session I should stick to something a little more simple.

With that in mind, I sketched up this octopus with the intention of keeping it mono-colored, so I wouldn’t have to worry about registration.

After scanning in my sketch, I drew over it in Photoshop to make stark black and white line art that I would then use to burn into my screen.

The digital version was then printed onto a clear plastic sheet that’s typically used for over-head projections.

After 25 minutes of exposure, the screen was ready!

For the printing materials I bought silver Versatex ink and Indigo Blue, 98lb, Acid Free, Canson paper, which I then cut into (roughly) 10″ x 10″ squares. My cellphone there was timing how long my screen was having the design burned into it. And the tea, well, that’s the most important tool of all.

Oh my goodness, people had warned me that metallic ink is difficult to use but HOLY CRAP this first session in Joanna’s home studio was almost a complete wash due entirely to how impossible that fucking ink was. It was like PUTTY. In the entire evening, I only managed to pull one passable print! That’s the one you see above, and even it still has a bit too much texture showing through.

After whining on Twitter, I was informed by people more knowledgeable than I that I would have to cut the ink with a medium to make it more liquid-y. Which is exactly what I did at our next session, a week later. Oh, and I also switched brands to Speedball’s metallic ink, which helped enormously as well. The medium I used with Golden Mediums Silkscreen Medium, if anybody is facing a similar dilemma as I was.

I still had some real problems with the ink drying too quickly inside the screen, leaving little texture-y streaks on each print, but overall I was happy enough with 16 prints (out of 25 attempts) that I feel comfortable putting them up for sale!

I wiiiiiish I could take better product photos / Photoshop them to look like they do in real life D:

But this detail shot came out alright, in spite of my camera-ineptitude.

So yeah! There’s only 16 of these guys! They are all hand made by me! If you would like one for yourself, we can make that dream a beautiful reality.

Erika Moen’s Posters, books, prints and original artwork

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