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Image preparation in Photoshop for Screenprinting with James Cockerill and Jule Mallett

I have been lucky to attend a course at Ochre in only my second week of residency. I had a great weekend with lovely people, learning the basics of editing an image in Photoshop, transferring it to a screen and then printing it.

The patient and knowledgeable James Cockerill from Halt Glass took a group of us through the editing process, turning each of our chosen photos into two or three layers ready to be printed on acetate and transferred to screens. Meanwhile, the indefatigable Jule Mallett took each of us in turn through the screen cleaning procedure in the wet room. The first day finished with an introduction to mixing screen printing inks and choosing our own colours ready for the next day.

On the second day we all mastered the art of filling the trough with the photographic emulsion, tipping it to the correct angle and drawing it up the screen without stopping to give a smooth finish. We then prepared our exposed screens for printing, bordering them with brown paper and then plastic tape.

I had done that part before, but I had never used the studio’s vacuum beds, so many different steps to remember! Although, once I had got the hang of the ‘arm’ which pulls the squeegee across the screen, I thought it was great as it produced a smooth, even layer on the paper which was held firmly in place by the vacuum. With the help of Jim switching the vacuum bed on and off, I managed to get a little production line going and was really pleased with the final print.

Since the course, I have been attempting the Photoshop editing process myself with, it is fair to say, an even mix of success and failure, but it is only week four of my residency, so watch this space…!