My 28th birthday came and went last month. Despite my lack of chatter about it here, it was pretty well spent. I recieved some wonderful gifts, impecably chosen for me. My favorite new toy is my Speedball Screenprinting kit gifted to me by the Mister. Ah, he knows me so well! I’d been wanting to try screenprinting for a very long time and had experimented with some diy methods, but was never able to get the results that I had hoped for.

The kit comes with two basic methods for creating the screen. The first is the screen-filler method. You paint a plasticizing chemical onto all of the areas where you do not want the ink to transfer through the screen to the material. This is the simplest, easiest, quickest method to prepare your screen, but the second is much more fun. The second method is called photo-emulsion. With this method, you coat the screen with a light-sensitive chemical, then you place a graphic that has been printed or drawn onto acetate or tracing paper between the screen and a light source. All of the places where the light reaches the chemical on the screen (i.e. all of the places that aren’t blocked by the graphic) harden and become plasticky, the rest of the areas (the graphic) are washed out so that the ink penetrates the screen.

Okay, that’s a rushed and super-simplified explanation of the screen printing process. If anybody cares, I can do a more detailed post in the future, but there are already some great resources out there for those of you who are interested in doing this yourself, in particular this MAKE and this Threadbanger video.

All of that was just so that I could show off my first semi-success:
sp emulsion exp2 matrioshki set 006

This is my Set of Numbers Matrioshki print. It’s a math joke. Let me explain: The font was a little bit too fine to print well, but you can sort of make it out. The smallest matrioshka is N, the set of natural numbers (0, 1, 2, 3…). The second smallest is Z, the integers (-1, 0, 1, 2…). Maybe you remember from math class that all natural numbers are integers. We say that the set Z contains the set N. Do you see the joke now? As we move further to the right we have the quotients, which contains the integers, the reals contain the quotients, and finally the complex numbers contain the reals. It’s nerdy, I know.

This image has been floating around in my head for years and I’m so excited to see it finally come to life. Even though the screen isn’t perfect, I think I’m going to make myself a t-shirt. I don’t think that I have the patience to try the same graphic twice. There are too many things to make and only so much time!