I got the chance to learn to silk screen through volunteering with Public Dreams Society. Public Dreams puts on community events such as Illuminares, a lantern festival in the summer, and Parade of the Lost Souls, a Halloween event honouring the dead (similar concept to Mexico’s Day of the Dead).

In previous years when I’ve volunteered with Public Dreams, I’ve ended up working during the festival and not getting to see very much. Sometimes it’s a bit disappointing, such as with Word on the Street, I know all the great things that are happening, but I have other obligations. So when I saw Public Dreams’ call for artists and volunteers, I jumped at the chance.

Here is Theresa, the Creative Director for Public Dreams. He is taking a burned and prepped screen and registering it (aligning it) on the fabric flag.

These flags will act as barriers along the parade route, but they also tell a story of Innocence, who always has a bird on her shoulder. It’s a creative way to barricade specific areas (such as private property and gardens) along the parade route.

Before we started, Theresa drew all the different images, then she transfered them to acitate (clear sheet plastic) and burned them onto the screen (very fine mesh). This left empty areas and closed areas.

We taped off the screens (there are two images per screen to save supplies) and placed them on top of a fabric flag. Where there are “empty areas” from burning them, the paint will go through onto the fabric, and where the areas were burned closed, the paint won’t go through.

Here I am squeegying the paint across the image.

Lift up, and ta da!

Then you hang the fabric up to dry, and repeat! You don’t need to rinse the screen, or even wipe it, between imprints. You would only need to wash it (thoroughly as the paint would ruin the mesh screen if it dried in it) if you are changing colours.

Silk screening is so much fun, and I definitely want to try it again! Albiet, all the hard work (drawing, burning the screens, mounting them, etc.) was already done for me… but the manual labour of silk screening flag after flag was quite fun.

It’s just great when the prints turn out really well… the fine lines defined by the thick paint. Gorgeous!

Fun! (P.S. That apron was awesome!)

Next week we’re making birds of whimsy puppets.