Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Chemistry Experiment: The queen of screen

Here we go. As I said in an earlier post, I gave up on creating a gocco print for the two matching printed tea towels in my "chemistry set" (my new name for the set, by the way) and decided to come up with another solution. Ronaldo and I were in the Kensington Market area of Toronto a few weeks back when I ran across a store called Model Citizen with a sign in the window advertising a silk screening workshop that happened occasionally on Sunday afternoons. I went in and met Julian Finkle, who I think owns the store and runs the workshop. He spoke so passionately about screening that I knew that I had found the solution to my printing problems. I spent the last week preparing a handful of colourful tea towels, and working on a tight design that fused kitchen and chemistry with the old Claire flare.

I have to say that the preparation was well worth it. The class was worth every last penny of the $180 I spent on it. First, Julian seems to keep the classes small- the class I was in was meant to have four students, but it ended up that only two of us
were able to make it. We started by actually stretching the screens. Ian (the other student) and I next learned the process of applying the photo emulsion. We were taught the steps to creating a usable image and how to burn it on to our screens. Ian made designs incorporating the Japanese characters that made up his son's name and I had my sciencey screens.

Once the the screens were burned we were taught techniques to apply the inks actually print something. How gratifying to see the results! Here are some images of the work I created that afternoon:

Here is a towel with my inspiration- basil!

The class went from 12 noon until around 7. Julian was incredibly knowledgeable and welcomed us back to make more screens at a later date if we wanted to. I highly recommend the class to anyone who's interested in learning the basics of screen printing. Hopefully, if all goes well, my towels will be available at Model Citizen just in time for the Christmas season!

I even made a few extra for myself and Ronaldo to use. Here's a picture of Ronaldo's amazing homemade tomato sauce too!

Next step is trying to bring down cost of material, time spent on creating the art, and figuring out the packaging.

What do you think so far?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Nuit Blanche it up!

What a weekend! I feel like I need a day off to recover from it! Lots of friends, family, fun, and art and crafty goodness. It starts with the arrival of a special parcel in the mail.....

...look what finally arrived! About two weeks too late, but I'm sure that I will find a use for it eventually.

The Madonna dance party was a hoot with my dear friend Vinny.

Saturday my little sister Martha came from Guelph and, along with Ronaldo and I, took to the streets of Toronto for the all-night art festival, Nuit Blanche. Although it was extremely busy, we had a great time!

The night started with Martha and I creating a clay tile in honour of our dead family pet, Bert the cat. And a few flasks of sweet sweet rum.

We tried going to a block party (ironically called Tony and Bert's block party) but it ended up taking place across the street from the Men's mission. Sketchy enough during the day, extra sketchy at midnight. We moved on to this lovely silver balloon bunny to calm our nerves.

Strung across the towers of city hall was this giant 4-letter-word generator. I swear, it made the word BART a few times, but every time I tried to catch it on camera, it changed to this really familiar word(?).

We saw all sorts of neat installations, did some life drawing at a hair salon, breathing art that moved, and a gigantic light bright. At the end of the night, this was Martha's favourite display. Who doesn't love a gorilla eating a child who is eating an ice cream? Next stop for this truck: The Louvre.

An exhausting night of art, but nice to experience with the awesome people I saw it all with. Sunday morning, and my much anticipated screen printing workshop came all too soon. As it was SO amazing I am honouring the class with it's own posting tomorrow. Feel free to wait with bated breath.

Friday, October 2, 2009

My Chemistry Experiment: Final phase! Samples for screenprinting

It's a very rainy Friday here in Toronto. No reason to be blue though, as I've finished 8 final sized tea towels! I am definitely going to have to come up with a quicker way to make the towels and a cheaper online wholesaler, but I'm happy with the final product. I have already changed the colour plan slightly. I won't be using the dark teal colour as a fabric base for the "Tin" towel set. It gave me an icky feeling when I was doing the mock up, and from what I can tell, others feel the same way. I'm going to make them orange, I think. Or white. Anyhow, the teal is OUT. I've been working on the screened design for the towels too. Sunday is the big day- the silk screen workshop! I want to make sure I'm as ready as can be so I can make the most out of it. I am really pumped! After this weekend I'm going to make up the corresponding embroidered towels to make the five final mock up sets. I've also got to get going on an illustration for a show I'm going to be in coming up at the beginning of November. More on that as it comes closer.

Here are the towels! Note the missing teal...

Tomorrow night is this crazy art event in Toronto- Nuit Blanche. It starts at 6:59 pm and finishes at 7 am on Sunday morning and happens all over the city with exciting displays, installations and general artiness! As a "roving reporter" for Claire Loves... I will be filling you in on all the fun on my Monday blog entry.

Before I sign off to go to a Madonna tribute dance party (yes, you heard me right) I want to let you know that there is a new little addition to the animal gang at the Toronto zoo. It's a newborn gorilla and you have a chance to him! I actually suggested my ultimate cat name, Bruce, as I feel it transcends species. If you have a chance, drop by the Toronto Zoo website and make a difference in the life of a local gorilla.

Photo courtesy of Zooborns

Time to make like Madge and vogue!