Monday, September 7, 2009

“Estampia” ---an older T-shirt image

These images are from a shirt design I did a number of years ago when I
was still relatively new to T-shirt printing. The Hungarian stamp image of the male face
that looked to me like a monk went on the front, the
French stamp with the smaller icons went on the back.

I collected stamps as a kid.
My late father-in-law also had a collection, which impressed me
greatly once I found out about it. I revisited subscribing to
a mail-order stamp program about 25 years ago, but quickly realized
I didn’t have the time, money or propensity to keep it as organized as it really
should be----oh, and I still wanted to do art, too---so the stamp collecting
finally fell by the wayside, yet I found lots of beautiful images on them
for inspiration. “Estampia” was a way for me to use a few of my favorites,
pay tribute to the lure of my always-fascinating part-Hungarian background,
and also try out some screen monoprinting on the shirt. At the time I was feeling a little constrained by the screen stencil processes. I enjoyed doing these and they sold well,
but it was pretty labor-intensive and time-consuming, as I soon found out---so I
decided to abandon this design.

Discharge Printing Takes Center Stage

Over this summer I started doing water-based Discharge Printing,
which is where you apply a bleaching agent in a controlled manner
to a dyed fabric, achieving an intermediary color shade in those image areas.
Can I just say, “Way Cool?!”
I did 2 new images of Vandercook letterpresses---One of an SP-20 Repro;
the other of a #325G, and its pertinent reminder on the press-bed of the
“Dead Line” ---yes, folks, that is exactly where the term, “Deadline” came from---
our friends in the commercial printing industry.
You know, the place in the universe that comes up on us much too fast, a little
too familiar a feeling. It's nice to have it illustrated so well on the press--- leave it to
those printers!
I am pretty happy with the discharge Vandercook T-shirts, especially since I kind of resisted doing a Vandercook T-shirt in the beginning. They are wonderful presses to print with,
but I felt visually challenged by their numerous no-nonsense straight lines---not many sinuous curves to catch the eye on these, being part of the mammoth 20th-century
industrial printing age.
But a friend who saw my work at the Hybrid Book conference (June 2009) suggested that I come up with a Vandercook shirt, so the intersection of using that request as inspiration, and this new way of printing worked out perfectly.

I also revisited my older images---the Desert Chevy Nomad, the Chrome Car, and
the Food Chain T-shirts---just to see what would happen.
I plan to play with a few other previous incarnations, in
this fun experimenting with positive and negative imagery, and learning about dyed color
possibilities. These photos show examples of all the images I worked on with
discharge paste; some are combined with regular water-based fabric ink also.
I didn't get to do any more woodcuts on shirts as of this writing, but I have a number of
ideas I'd still like to pursue. Yup, I wish I could clone myself----especially with the busy fall
season upon us!

My other new project is to get an Etsy store up and running as soon as I can, so I have a real
online outlet in which to sell my shirts. This is a bit of a process, a little more
than I first realized. Right now I am photographing more of my designs and preparing inventory specifically for the Etsy store.
I'll be announcing on this blog and elsewhere when it is ready, so check back later!
My blog will then be re-edited somewhat and function as a showcase for my designs as I add to my portfolio, and whatever insights about them I feel moved to write about.
Thanks for reading!