Despite having studied fashion textile design and specialising in silk-screen-printing, I have forgotten everything in the fifteen year hiatus. It was so lush to have the opportunity for a one day refresher course at the open-access studio of 3rd Rail in Peckham Levels. The two tutors spent the day starting teaching us from scratch so that beginners could get an understanding from the very basics.
We had an introduction to the different kind of fibres, materials and compositions of fabrics in relation to techniques in how these can be chemically manipulated with printing techniques. This ranged from disperse dyes to the difference in translucent to opaque inks. We handled samples from fashion designers to get a feel for how to alter surface textures from bleaches such as devoree or layers like flocking. The options are endless as to how you can mix and match these variables to create your own unique fabric.
We experimented with our artwork and were helped how to arrange it into a format to fit the dimensions to get the most out of having one screen. The next step was to learn how to coat our screen with light-sensitive solution and then expose the images to imprint the design. Once this was fixed and washed to reveal the print in the gauze, we mixed up our coloured inks from the white "medium" and droplets of pigment. I knew that I wanted to achieve a gradient so I created a pastel pink that would bleed as a violet into a pastel blue.
I was using a reinterpretation of one of my archive patterns "Wham Bam Tanagram, Famalam" which meant that I lay down the black outline first as a border for the colour blocks. I learnt how to use my eye to match up the repeat to print a length of the fabric. Once this was dry the next stage was to mix the colours in an ombre and pull through the opalescent second coat. I learnt a valuable lesson by making the mistake of using my screen the wrong way round, which meant it didn't fit and resulted in the pattern being off-set. Hopefully this means I won't do the same again and made the whole experience even more worthwhile!
I came away with a piece of original textile design from just one day in the studio in addition to the knowledge and practise learnt. I'm now planning to return for the intermediate workshop in August to follow onto the next stage and push the art-form even further!
Find out more about how you can use the open-access studio or enrol on their workshops over on the website here and follow their news on Instagram here