Screen printing at Sark school

We are back in the studio after a phenomenally fantastic weekend in Sark. For anyone who doesn’t know it, Sark is a small island with a population of just 600, a 45-minute boat ride from Guernsey. The Sark Folk Festival has been running for three years now and is a small family-friendly, relaxed music festival that brings together folk bands, morris dancers, hirdy girdy players, bag-pipers, lobster catchers, craft makers and now screen printers!

School transport in Sark - there are no cars on the island!
School transport in Sark – there are no cars on the island!

Since we were lugging all of our screens and inks to the festival we decided to offer a workshop to the school as well. There are 34 children at the school between the ages of 4 and 16, taught in three groups. We anticipated a quick two-hour workshop, but a lot of the children decided to design their own stencils rather than use our pre-cut ones so we were there for most of the day.

The combination of small-island life and being taught in mixed age groups seems to make for very independent thinkers and a very supportive group of children.

Sark school pupils preparing screens to print
Sark school pupils preparing screens to print
Some of the younger children printing
Some of the younger children printing

The computer game Minecraft seems to be all the rage in Sark (we’re way too old to know what that is but we were amused when a flipped letter made the slogan “I love Winecraft”) and the ubiquitous One Direction is popular, but there are a lot of original thinkers at Sark school. Have a look at some of their creations:

A few of the finished products drying in the sun
A few of the finished products drying in the sun

And some of the bags already in use:

Bags already in use! (if you want 'horses' on a bag with a Scotty dog who are we to protest?)
Bags already in use! (if you want ‘horses’ on a bag with a Scotty dog who are we to protest?)

Sark Folk Festival here we come!

We are busy busy preparing for Sark Folk Festival and we are very excited about it. Neither of us has been but we have heard a lot about it and know and love some of the bands and singers who will be there. In anticipation, we have prepared a new paper cut, which we think captures the mood. Here it is on children’s t-shirts:

And under that starry night on that small island we danced
And under that starry night on that small island we danced
and the music filled our imaginations
and the music filled our imaginations

On another note, we recently took receipt of some secondhand screen-printing frames and realised how toxic the plastisols most screen-printers work with are. The frames retained residues of ink that we could only clean by using harsh solvents. We took the decision from the start to use soil-association-approved, solvent-free inks, and we are so glad we did, even though they are blummin expensive. It means we only need water to wash our screens and children can screen-print safely and easily. We would recommend them to anyone interested in trying out screen-printing. We use Permaset inks, but there are other solvent-free brands available.

 

Album cover design

Research for this latest project was easy — it involved listening to Jack McGahy’s songs over and over again. And he’s good!! (Though he is family, so we’re bound to like him.) He describes his music as folk pop and his tunes are extremely catchy.

Scary Love by Jack McGahy
Scary Love by Jack McGahy

So the album is called “Scary Love” and the design is Hammer-Horror style. Have a listen: http://jack-mcgahy.bandcamp.com/track/scary-love

And if you want to hear him live he is playing at our studio launch, 7th September, 2:30-6:30 at the Studio, Rex Stationers building, Ruette Bray, St Peter Port, Guernsey. Everyone welcome.

 

Screen printing in the open air — good idea?

So today we ran our first screen printing workshop. Ever the optimists, we decided an outdoor event, open to anyone and everyone, would be a reasonable first forum for us. We LOVED it and hope the 70 or so people who tried out screen printing with us enjoyed it too. Here are some of the finished products:

dolphins, hearts and other lovely screen prints
dolphins, hearts and other lovely screen prints

And a few more:

Dogs and scooters along the seafront
Dogs and scooters along the seafront

The workshop was part of Arts Sunday, which by the way was a wonderful event. We didn’t get much of a chance to see the other stalls and workshops, but Guernsey’s St. Peter Port seafront was buzzing and the music drifting on the (alarmingly strong) winds was pretty fantastic. Here’s our pitch, right on St Peter Port’s marina:

Screen printing along the harbour in St Peter Port
Screen printing along the harbour in St Peter Port
open-air-workshop
open-air-workshop

Here we are in action:

Getting ready with the red ink
Getting ready with the red ink
What a lovely array of colours!
What a lovely array of colours!
Screen printing ink pots
Screen printing ink pots

Lessons for next time:

– you can’t have too much masking tape

– you can’t have too many cupcake stencils

– woolly hats and hot chocolate are useful, even in June

We leave you with some happy campers:

A new swimming bag - good work Iris!
A new swimming bag – good work Iris!

 

Lovely t-shirt Freddie - did you make it yourself?
Lovely t-shirt Freddie – did you make it yourself?