KATIE CHARLESON

Screen Printed Homewares & Bespoke Textile Design

Learning to Screen Print: Why you need Textiles in your Life

Creative Fulfilment, Design Life & Career, Print, InspiringKatie CharlesonComment

With the start of spring I am soon starting up screen printing classes again! Here are my top reasons why you should give fabric printing a try.

A repeat pattern designed and printed in one Saturday day class, December 2016

A repeat pattern designed and printed in one Saturday day class, December 2016

The last few weeks have been busy with printing and developing the new products (hello wallpaper and giant cushions) and setting up the shoots and generally running around. I wallpapered my first ever wall a few days ago- but that's a blog post all of its own!

Amongst all of this I still wanted to write a little about learning to screen print textiles.

You know I live for all things textile design, and if you are reading this then you probably do too. But screen printing is my first love and I've been teaching fabric screen printing at Bainbridge Studios at Elephant & Castle since summer last year. I love introducing new people to my world of screens, squeegees and messy inks, so these are my top reasons to get into screen printing fabric in 2017.

Katie screen printing a repeat fabric

Katie screen printing a repeat fabric

Learn a skill with your hands

One of the main reasons I love to work with textiles is the very tactile nature of the screen printing process. The methodical way of setting up a print run, preparing your screens, mixing your colours and sampling your fabrics is so satisfying.

Recently more and more of my friends have been taking up evening courses in ceramics or life drawing or other practical creative pursuits.

Modern life for many of us can be so far removed from the satisfaction of working with your hands and in these uncertain times it is so grounding to switch off and just make something!

If at the end of the day in front of computer work I can get a few hours to myself to screen print some new ideas or orders for a client I am a happy woman.

A satisfying messy splodge of ink

A satisfying messy splodge of ink

Tote bags printed in textile screen printing class at Bainbridge Studio

Tote bags printed in textile screen printing class at Bainbridge Studio

Be challenged (in a good way)

Textile printing differs to paper printing in a few practical ways, and there are infinitely more variables of what you can achieve with different techniques, dyes, inks, chemicals and fabrics.

 

This also means that textile printing can be a process of trial and error, so if you are looking for a skill that you will get the knack of immediately look away now! 

BUT if you persevere and give just a little patience you will find a huge selection of creatively satisfying options. The first time a fellow designer says to you "how did you do THAT??" is a proud moment!

Repeat patterns designed and printed in beginners textile screen printing class at Bainbridge Studio

Repeat patterns designed and printed in beginners textile screen printing class at Bainbridge Studio

Find expression & direction

If you are no stranger to screen printing and textiles but are struggling to find creative direction, let me tell you we have all been there! But I find that those people who have come along to classes have gained insight and fresh ideas from going back to basics

and getting feedback from the small, friendly groups we run at the studio.

Others who have benefitted have been people looking to build up their skills in mixed media or students looking to expand their portfolios for applications to art school or other courses.

Gin Dunscombe working on a new print on the beginners textile screen printing course at Bainbridge Studios, Summer 2016

Gin Dunscombe working on a new print on the beginners textile screen printing course at Bainbridge Studios, Summer 2016

Plus

we do all this in a really laid back, fun environment. Classes are kept to no more than six students per session so one on one guidance and advice can be given in either our full day weekend classes or weekly evening course of classes.

We cover a range of skills from the basics of pigment printing, designing a 2+ colour print, exposing & stripping a screen all the way to creating a multilayer repeat pattern.

You will leave the classes with a good grasp of the skills essential to printmaking, plus your own printed tote bag, a good length of repeat pattern fabric and a new insight into where you can take your work next.

All of this will set you up so you can work in the print studio unsupervised if you decide to become a member.

Want to join me for some textile printing? My Bainbridge Studios weekly course starts up again on Tuesday 4th April. Or come along to a full intensive Saturday class on the 8th April. You can view all the details and book online here. Anything I've missed out or that you would like to ask me? Let me know in the comments below!