February 15, 2018

Napkins--patterns, colors, sets


I've been working on screen printed napkins off and on for about 18 months now, since a workshop with Claire Benn in October 2016.  At this point, I've developed nine patterns that I like, and about 10 colors, with about that number again tested and put aside. Through the sample making, I now have a large supply of lovely napkins for myself, and I look forward to making more for occasional house gifts. I'm thinking that before a stay, I would send my host pictures of the colors, patterns and possible types of sets, and ask what they would like as a gift.  

Double-click on any image to see it larger.

Here are some sample sets:


ONE BASE COLOR, four different patterns, 3 different screened colors (navy, black, burgundy, black)

ONE BASE COLOR, four different patterns, one screened color

on each napkin, ONE COLOR, TWO TONES 

ONE PATTERN, different colors

ONE PATTERN, different colors

ONE PATTERN, different colors

MIXTURE-1

MIXTURE-2

MIXTURE-3

Here are the color combinations that I like. (For variations of blue on plain muslin, scroll down to the table of images of all the patterns.)

 
light blue and black
 
light blue and dark blue
 
blueish green and black

 
blueish green, 2 values same color
 
gold, 2 values
 
gold and black
 
lavender and black
 
lavender and dark blue
 
lavender, 2 values
 
light gray and black
 
light gray and dark blue

medium gray and black
 
magenta and dark blue
 
magenta and burgundy

magenta and black

rust and black

 
rust, 2 values
 
rust and red
 
turquoise and dark blue
 
turquoise and black
 
turquoise, 2 values
 
red and black
 
yellow-green and black
 
yellow-green and dark blue
 
yellow-green, 3 values



And here are all the patterns, screened on a base of plain muslin with either one pull of dark blue, two pulls of dark blue, or two pulls of one dark and one medium blue. Further explanatory notes on how each screen was made follow the photos. (Note, there is some backstaining when washing out the dye, so the base color on plain muslin ends up a very pale grayish blue, rather than the cream color of the original muslin.)

 
bowls
 
bowls-over-printed horizontally
 
clover
 
cross-hatch
 
quote
 
quote-fragmented
 
squares-open
 
squares-filled
 
vines




All these designs were made with paper-laminated screens. For an explanation of the basic process, scroll down in this post. I realize that much of the explanation below of individual screens will likely be confusing to someone who hasn't done screen-printing, but at least it will give you some sense of the method.

BOWLS: I made a dozen or so stamps in a bowl shape, cut from a double layer of adhesive foam sheets and then stuck on foam core (easy stamp method learned from Carol Soderlund). I stamped onto the screen with matte medium. For the more complex over-printed design, I printed once with the screen in a vertical orientation, and then a second time with a horizontal orientation.
CLOVER: This is a motif taken from line-drawings I did several years ago. I put the design into Photoshop, made it into a repeat, printed it out, and then put the printout under the polyester to serve as a guide for drawing the design onto the screen with matte medium. (The drawing implement used is a squeeze bottle filled with matte medium.)
CROSS-HATCH: I ripped up pieces of masking tape and applied them to the screen in broken vertical lines, then pulled matte medium through the screen. When the medium had set, I pulled off the masking tape. The cross-hatch design was made by pulling the resulting screen twice, once in horizontal orientation and then in vertical.
QUOTE: The quotation is from Martin Buber: "When one eats in holiness, the table becomes an altar." I wrote out the quote in capital letters with matte medium. The screen has been pulled twice, once vertically with a dark blue and then horizontally with a medium blue. On the first version, the lettering is somewhat readable if you know what you're looking for. For the "fragmented" version: I made a reversed second screen from the first, so that I could be printing the letters themselves rather than the background. Much detail of the letters was lost in the process, but I love the fragmented look.  This was printed twice, horizontally and vertically, but all with the same color blue. 
SQUARES: These two screens were made by using a 2" plexiglass square as a stamp (method/design from Claire Benn). I brushed the square lightly with what Claire calls a "manky" brush--a brush where the bristles have been cut into. In the first screen, the matte medium was applied rather heavily, so the squares are almost entirely blocked from the screened dye, and you see mostly the margins between the stamped squares. This was screened twice, horizontally and vertically, to get enough of a design on the cloth.  In the second screen, the matte medium was applied less heavily, and you get more of a sense of lines across a number of the squares. This was screened just once.
VINES: This design is based on a quilting design that I use frequently. I drew it on the screen with matte medium. The screen has been pulled twice, once horizontally with a dark blue and then vertically with a medium blue.

And for any bloggers out there who wondered how I got the images nicely set into tables, see this helpful tutorial by Sharon Brennan.