Silkscreen of the Month: September

September is Molly’s birthday month and so we decided to use a festive ice cream haired woman print.

For this, on top of choosing classic white-navy-silver-red colours that reminded me of vintage ice cream bar packaging, I wanted to really make it sparkle with iridescence. I popped down to Guerra Paint & Pigment store, here in NYC. And let me tell you, that place is MAGICAL if you’re a paint nerd like I am. They sell all manner of wet and dry pigments that you use to make your own paints, mix for new colours or, in my case, utilize as flocking.

You might recall from last month’s print the red and copper metallic dry pigments I used to make my ink. Those pigments came from Guerra. For this month’s, I bought a jar of iridescent green sparkles (aka, fancy holographic glitter). Silkscreeners usually purchase a special glue for flocking, but since I was short on time, I decided to just push my gold leaf size through the screen. I use water-based Aquasize, which was honestly a little thin compared to silkscreen ink, but my separation for the glitter layer was halftoned into 1px dots to avoid too much coverage. So the glue went through incredibly well, even though I could barely see it on the page. I was mostly printing blind – I couldn’t see if any holes were becoming blocked up by drying size or if i was pushing too hard and getting an under bleed. It was mostly just relying on how I would normally treat a print like this, every 10 or so prints running to the big light to see if the surface looked a little wet and then keeping faith that I knew what I was doing. Just pushing the size around the screen was enough to keep it going, but since it was water based, a quick spray with distilled water loosened it up and kept the size flowing without losing much, if any, stickiness.

After setting them to dry to a nice tack, it was then a matter of simply pouring on the glitter with a small spoon and pushing it around with a thick brush to make sure it got full coverage. I made sure to hit the front and back with a rubber cement pickup so that none of the textac that I used on my printing table (this keeps your paper down on the table, so it doesn’t stick to the ink coming through the screen and leave you with awful kiss marks, but it doesn’t leave *much* of a residue, unless you’re throwing glitter all over the print) to clean the front and back and made sure to leave plenty of time between doing the last colour and printing the size so everything was dry and clean when I finished and stacked them all up. Ideally, in the future, I would have the individual bags on me and just wrap them up there, to ensure no glitter rubbed off or stuck to anything else besides the paper.

But I think it turned out OK even without going that extra mile.

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