I am fortunate that being a part of Strong Island has given me the opportunity to meet and befriend many talented artists. When I was at school I used to consider myself quite creative, I would enjoy a bit of still life and I even did my GCSE art project on the maritime influences on buildings within Portsmouth. If you are ever in the area of the Guildhall, make sure that you look up more and you’ll see what I mean.
Ever since then, getting a roller out to paint a wall at home or a doodle during dull moments at work is about as artistic as I get. When I saw the opportunity to learn how to screen print with Spencer from the Batch Makers Studio I jumped at the chance to get involved.
Those who know me best would agree that I have a tendency for being ‘fashionably’ late to things, so I made sure that I arrived with plenty of time to spare. I was greeted by most of the Hotwalls Studios being locked up and in darkness. After a little panic that I’d made a mistake and the workshops were happening elsewhere, I saw Spencer arrive and open the studio.
In total there were four of us involved in the workshop. The unit isn’t the biggest but it was perfect for our small group. I also had a nice surprise that two friends of mine Sophie and Russ had also booked onto the workshop as well. While it was obviously nice that I had two familiar faces, Spencer provides a friendly and informal environment so everyone can feel relaxed and welcome.
Spencer provides a friendly and informal environment so everyone can feel relaxed and welcome.
Spencer is passionate about the technique and this is evident in the way in which he explains his work and the process behind it.
Spencer began the workshop by explaining the history of screen printing and its origins in China hundreds of years ago. In Europe and the United States, Andy Warhol is famous for popularising screen printing as an artistic technique. Arguably his most famous piece of work is the ‘Marilyn Diptych.’ The piece from the 1960’s can still be found today at the Tate Modern in London.
Spencer is passionate about the technique and this is evident in the way in which he explains his work and the process behind it. Delivering an informal lecture, he allowed us to understand how to bring a design to life by creating the screens. I wouldn’t want to spoil too much as I’d like to think that if you are reading this then you might have an interest in getting involved in one of the workshops.
We got the opportunity to put that theory into practice. Spencer had already prepared two screens so we can create our own print of a Black Redstart. The small Robin-sized bird has adapted to live in the heart of urban environments and has been seen outside of the Hotwalls Studios.
We had three attempts at printing on different types of paper and were able to take home our favourite of the three. It was left at the studio to dry and I am still yet to pick it up later this week. I can’t wait to get my print framed and put up on the wall at home. I have art on my wall from the likes of My Dog Sighs, Midge and Audrey Kawasaki, but this one will be special because I made it myself.
This was such a fun, interesting evening and an absolute bargain at £35 each. I would thoroughly recommend it to everyone to get involved, whether you have never screen printed before you’d like a bit of a refresher. If you would like to have a go yourself then you can book your place on any of the courses by emailing Spencer on [email protected]. I recommend booking your place before the event and not just turning up. Please note that the availability listed below was true at the time of writing and more up to date information can be found here.
Sunday February 18th at 14.00 – 16.00 (1 space)
Sunday April 15th at 14.00 – 16.00 (5 spaces)
Sunday March 18th at 14.00 – 16.00 (2 spaces)
Thursday May 10th at 18.00 – 20.00 (5 spaces)
Thursday April 12th at 18.00 – 20.00 (5 spaces)
Sunday May 20th at 14.00 – 16.00 (5 spaces)