Makers are a curious lot. We love to experiment with different crafts and are continuously challenging ourselves to learn new skills. So when Handmaker’s Factory generously offered a prize of their “Learn To Screen Print In Day” workshop to giveaway to two of our Modern Makers Retreat May 2017 attendees, we already knew we’d be saving up our pocket money so we could join the lucky winners at the class!
Our class consisted of MJ @janiecat58, Erin @quiltbystarlight, Jane @behind_lilpipdesigns, and myself (Alison @thebaronessdesigns), led by the lovely Nichola, who runs Handmaker’s Factory at a wonderfully eclectic studio in Melbourne’s Inner West.
The first step was to work out what designs we would be able to easily replicate onto the screen printing template, given our limited drawing skills and even more limited scalpel cutting skills. Nichola soon realised that this was no ordinary group when our first set of design sketches were furtively passed around the table and giggled at like naughty schoolgirls. “I never knew quilters swore so much!” Nichola said later.
Once we had each decided on a design, we set to work cutting out our templates and Erin was first up to actually screen print. Always a spectacular maker, her first ever screen consisted of beautifully fine raindrops, and she printed them like a pro!
Compare with my own less-ambitiously-delicate mid-century design and not-intentional-but-I-kind-of-like-the-ghost-effect-so-I-won’t-call-it-a-mistake printing!
Jane was next up with a cute little “splash” design.
And MJ had designed and cut a beautiful, intricate flower.
Meanwhile, Erin had managed to design and cut a second gorgeous template and was already printing!
Nichola showed us how to use the screen, explaining and fixing our issues as we went along. We tried a few colours for our designs and had fun getting wet and wild while washing the screens between colour changes!
The class wrapped up and we took our printed fabric panels home with us to be used in quilts and other projects.
We also took home a greater understanding of what it means to design a screen printed image, and huge respect for those who do it so well.
As a quilter, I find myself looking at the world through kaleidoscope eyes: all geometric shapes and a rainbow of colours. After this workshop, everywhere I looked I was seeing simple designs that I would be able to cut and screen print! It’s definitely something I’m itching to do again.
I’m also itching to try out some of the other workshops that Handmaker’s Factory run, such as indigo shibori, eco printing and natural dyeing, and weaving. Classes like this make great gifts for crafty friends… or indeed yourself!
Hands up who a list of new skills they’d like to try when they “have time”? Well you know what… we’re MAKERS! Let’s MAKE TIME!
Handmaker’s Factory is located at:
84b Charles Street