Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Screen Printing from Scratch

This week has been a logistical challenge. I always knew that juggling all my commitments would make this a difficult year, but didn't really appreciate how it would end up consuming me. This week marks the start of our build up to the end of term (is it Christmas yet?) and as per usual I have agreed to a number of things in order to push my degree work as hard as I can. One aspect of this was to start looking into the possibility of constructing my own exposure unit for screen printing. This idea manifested itself after I realised that if I wanted to produce replica documents, maps and correspondence, I need a method of reproduction that gave me a good chance at replicating the original.
After experimenting a little with screen printing last year, I decided this was probably going to fit all the criteria but one aspect would prove tricky. Access to our print room at university is difficult as it is in very high demand, the printing would be no problem but preparing the screens would take too long if I didn't have the facilities to be able to work 'out of hours'.
The complicated part of the method of screen printing that I wanted to pursue, was that of using photo emulsions and ultra violet exposure. I wanted to be able to exactly copy certain documents in my possession and to do this I would need to scan them to a high resolution and copy them to the mesh screen using a UV exposure box. Was it going to be possible to build myself?
After hours and hours of research into UV lighting, exposure times, methods and equipment, I am happy to say I now have a homemade unit which was tested over the weekend and (after many trials and errors) is now fully functioning and I ran my first prints yesterday with great success.
Tomorrow sees the the return of the first 'critical evaluation' of my work by a visiting tutor - Jeremy Akerman - so we will see how it is received and I will keep you posted as to how it goes.


  1. Interesting challenge, Alison. I admire your tenacity and inventiveness. Good luck with the results.
    Chris G

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