Updated: Jan 14
Definitely my favourite course with the Huguenot Museum, Rochester is Pattern Exploration - two days devoted to design and printing. Day one covers linocut printing onto wallpaper and day two is all about screen printing onto fabric. Here’s what happened... After introductions we looked at and discussed the 18th century designs of silk weaver and designer James Leman. Then, armed with sketch books, we went in search of inspiration from the museum’s collections - details such as fine silver work, intricate sampler stitches, woven silk and jewellery stood out.
Back in the museum’s learning space we worked on the sketches bringing them up to a standard that would translate well into print. A simple exercise using tracing paper helped keep the design symmetrical and it’s amazing to see how quickly the patterns evolved. As the designs are repeated over and over we were able to see how the negative spaces looked and how seemingly unrelated lines and curves took on new shapes when multiplied. Every. Mark. Counts.
Happy with our designs we transferred them to lino tiles and carved out what is just a small part of the pattern. At this point you might not have given many of the tiles a second look! They seem to be a series of random shapes and marks, but add ink, start printing and the patterns came to life.
Everything that students learnt on day one is pretty much obsolete on day two! Screen printing requires a completely different process but the sketches from the previous week are still valid and after a demonstration of what they can expect for the day, students start to work on their designs.
Once happy the designs are traced onto the screens and Screen Drawing Fluid is use to paint the image. When that's dried Screen Filler is applied with a squeegee and left to dry again. Finally the Screen Drawing Fluid is washed out to reveal the stencil.
After a few practise runs students buddy up and help each other with registering screens, holding screens, fetching inks and washing squeegees - it's a real team effort.
And here are some of the results...