Once upon a time, I started out as a graphic designer. In the dark ages. Really. Meaning; I cut amberlith, rubylith (my spellcheck doesn’t even RECOGNIZE these words) and frisket very expertly with a swivel xacto knife until I could do it in my sleep. Those who know me well, know I have a love-hate relationship with my electric kiln (there’s a segway here, please keep going)… I’m lucky to have one and I love that, but I hate the often one dimensional look that comes from it, and often strive to do more, with hopes that it will be something I will like and continue; and can transform bits here and there as I go. And so, long story short, I thought maybe I’d take a little part of the me that was, and add to it, the me that is; and that’s when I thought of the silk screen process.
Just to give it a try, I ordered a Speedball all-in-one ‘kit’ from Amazon for $20. It consisted of a small silkscreen on a frame, squeegee, ink (which I didn’t use) an xacto knife and acetate (flashbacks!). The directions said to cut out your stencil for your silkscreen from the acetate, place it between the silk screen and the paper, then create your print. Now I did a lot of serigraphy back in school, in fact, it was my favorite type of printmaking, however, this is definitely NOT how it was done; but, for cheapskate-sake, this is how I did it here. If I like the results, I’ll splurge for a real screen with either a lacquer based transfer system or photo emulsion transfer.
The photos below show the results of the silk screen transfer. It didn’t come out very crisp on the clay, but that was ok with me – I was really just looking for a multi-layered effect. Perhaps it was because I screened on unprinted newsprint and that really soaked up the water – I’ll keep experimenting because I’m sure there will be an occasion when I want it crisp. I screened with engobes in the process documented below. I tried oxides, mixed with water and added wallpaper paste for thickness, but these really did not screen crisply onto the paper at all. I got the wallpaper paste idea from Matt Hyleck, but I’ll have to experiment with the proportions more before I’m happy with it. The engobe in this case, worked out much better.
Basic White Engobe Recipe I Used (cone 6-10… this is a vitreous engobe, even semi glossy at cone 6. Colorants were added to get brown, blue and golden tan engobe)
OM4 Ball Clay 200
This was the first day it was above 60° in the studio and it was such a pleasure to work in. The first time in a long time I was able to take my time and experiment comfortably. I’ve got some glaze tests to do before the final pot is done, but check out my facebook page and I’ll post the glazed results there when they’re done!