I’ve been screen printing seriously for the better part of a year now and I have to say that I can see new levels of improvement in the quality of my work. Not that I didn’t care about the quality of what I was doing previously, only that I can see the technical issues I’ve been struggling with become less of a struggle over time. Obviously, this is not some grand discovery on my part that I, and I alone, have figured out. No, it’s more of a personal Looney Tunes styled anvil being dropped on my Wile E. Coyote head moment of clarity.
And it’s not the huge things you might think, it’s more of the minor things that have popped up and shown themselves to be the biggest culprits in the creation of my work. What are these issues you might ask? (Ok you might not be asking me anything as you read this but let’s just pretend shall we?)
- Not coating my screens with the utmost of care.
- Not taking care of my films that I prep to make my screens.
- Not working clean in my studio.
- Not taking care of my equipment properly as I work or when I am finished working.
Now you might say that it sure looks like I have no clue or concern for what I do as a screen printer. (Please don’t say that because it isn’t true and it would probably hurt my feelings. Kidding.) I love what I do and I love learning more about what I do. Substitute any artistic endeavor, photography, painting or anything else you might like, and think about the tools and supplies you use to create your work. Do you ALWAYS take care of your brushes? Do you ALWAYS keep your camera batteries charged and your lenses clean? Do you ALWAYS put away your gear after you work and make sure it’s clean and ready to go for the next time you need to use it? If you answered no to any of these, welcome to the wonderful world of being an artistic, creative person! Seriously, welcome, were glad you are normal like the rest of us. =)
I’ve realized that with all the creative ideas running around my head like a Japanese bullet train going 200 mph, it’s not the big things that get in my way, it’s the minor ones that seemingly mess me up. That’s why working with intention, to be as 110% involved in what I do from start to finish is so important. It’s not just coming up with a great idea for a new t-shirt or a print, it’s taking the time to create that image the best way I can. It’s not just burning a screen with that new image as quick as I can so I can print it, it’s making sure my films are clean when I use them. It’s making sure my finished screen is prepped & checked for pinholes so as not to slow me down when I print. It’s keeping my hands, squeegees and workspace clean so that I don’t get ink everywhere. It’s important to clean up my area when I am done, to clean my squeegees and store them properly so that I am ready to use them next time.
I’m not curing cancer with my artwork even though that would be pretty rad if I could. What I can do is to work hard & work clean and with intention in all that do from start to finish. Paying close attention to the little things that might trip me up so that in time those little issues will fade away and not be an issue any longer.