How to Screen Print with Stencils

A recent addition at Of Cabbages & Kings are these handy screen printing kits. They come come in two sizes, the A4 Screen Printing Kit and the A3 Screen Printing Kit, and are perfect for printing at home with stencils. The kits contain a wooden screen (43T mesh count), a wooden square 75 shore blade squeegee and 100ml of black and 100ml of white water-based ink. Ideal for printing on tote bag’s and t-shirts, or creating your own prints and stationery on paper and card.

We’ve put together a handy step-by-step guide to get you started creating your very own screen prints.

You will need:

• A simple image to trace

• Freezer paper or grease proof paper

• A sharp scalpel

• A cutting mat

• Something to print on – paper, card, a t-shirt or tote bag

• An iron if printing onto fabric

Start by choosing a design. Bold graphic shapes work best and remember you will end up with a monochrome image so greyscale tones will not work. Something that is straight forward to cut with a scalpel also makes creating the stencil much simpler. You can draw out a design first or choose an existing design to trace. Shading in the parts you want to cut out makes it easier to visualise the finished design.

You can create your stencil from freezer paper paper or grease proof paper. Freezer paper will give you more detail and a finer edge and is available online and in some craft shops.

We are using a light box to make the tracing process clearer, but it is not essential. If your image has a high contrast you should be able to see it through the paper quite easily. It is also possible to draw your design directly onto the paper. If you are using freezer paper make sure you have the mat side up and the shiny side down.

Once your design is drawn out begin to carefully cut out the parts you want the ink to pass through. Take time over this process as neat and rough edges will reflect in the finished print. Top tip – If you over-cut you can patch up an area with tape on the reverse and re-cut. 

Once all the pieces are cut out and you are happy with the design you are ready to print. Choose a sturdy flat surface and lay down the fabric or paper on which you intend to print. If you are printing onto fabric make sure that it is ironed flat. You may also want to place a piece of card between layers of fabric, for example a t-shirt or tote bag, as this will prevent ink bleeding through. 

Place your stencil onto the paper or card making sure it is flat and that there are no creases or wrinkles. If you are using freezer paper the shiny side should face down.

Now place your empty screen over your stencil mesh down, making sure not move the stencil out of place.

Apply a generous amount of ink (as some will be absorbed by the paper on your first pull) along the top edge of your screen. 

With the help of a friend or using a firm hand, hold the screen in place so it wont slip and slide around. In the other hand hold the squeegee at a 20 degree angle from the vertical position. Apply even, but firm pressure and pull the squeegee across the screen in a downward motion. Repeat again ensuring the ink covers the whole of the design. 

Lift your screen gently off. Your stencil should now stick to the screen ready for the next print. 

Stand back and marvel at what you have created!

If you are printing onto fabric and wish to cure the ink, after it has air dried place a tea towel over it and iron for 3-5 minutes with a hot iron.

Happy Screen Printing!

 

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The Make Bank: Tackling Creative Poverty

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We are very excited to tell you about a new social project aimed at addressing some of the issues surrounding ‘creative poverty’ and young people’s access to art and design subjects and careers. The Make Bank has been set up by Kirsty Thomas, a former art and design teacher, and founder of creative studio Tom Pigeon. Kirsty’s research revealed that in recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of secondary pupils dropping out of creative subjects. She discovered that while some pupils were being advised that the creative industries did not offer a viable career path and that perhaps they should get a ‘proper job’, on other occasions it was because they simply didn’t have, or couldn’t afford the tools they needed to complete the course. This is where The Make Bank comes in.

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The Make Bank Founder Kirsty Thomas

By providing Art and Design Kits for disadvantaged pupils, The Make Bank can help students who want to pursue creative education. Working with schools across the country The Make Bank has created quality art and design kits devised to meet the needs of all young people aged over 13 following the National Curriculum in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. For pupils studying GCSE, A Level, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications they have created five subject-specific kits, so whether it’s art, design, photography, textiles or ceramics the students have the right tools for the job! Any pupil can apply for a Make Bank Kit in partnership with their teacher and it will be sent directly to their school.

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Alongside the kits the project also works with industry professionals to share inspiring stories, creative journeys and career advice, nurturing, inspiring and encouraging creative talent in young people and helping them recognise the wealth of opportunity that exists within the creative industries. To raise money for the kits Kirsty has teamed up with some of UK’s most exciting artists, illustrators and designers on the Make Bank Print Project, some of who we know very well here at Of Cabbages and Kings. You can find these ones, The Language of Colour by Stuart Gardiner (below), in our shop too. However, if prints aren’t you’re thing and you would like to donate directly just follow this link

 

We love this project, however materials alone will not create a new and diverse generation of creatives. Young people need guidance, support, inspiration and knowledge to enable them to pursue a creative career. The Make Bank is calling on everyone within the creative industries and beyond to stand up and do something about Creative Poverty. This is our opportunity to create a thriving industry that is equal, diverse and fair.

Would you like to get involved?  Visit the The Make Bank

 

 

An Interview with Jo Angell

Jo Angell is preparing for her upcoming show: ‘Awash’ here at Of Cabbages & Kings. Featuring new works from a recent series of prints and paintings; abstract pieces, reflecting the interplay of land meeting water. The inspiration has come from landscapes as diverse as the harbours of Iceland to a riverside Essex village. Her images break the world down into bold graphic shapes, and the melding of texture and colour often reflects the interaction between industrial materials and nature.We’ve asked her a few questions and she talks us through her inspiration and processes.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital….
All of them in combination! It really depends what I’m working on. With my digital prints I often create shapes, textures and line elements with paintbrush and pens using black ink. I then scan these into my computer and start to work in a digitally creative way, to add colour and layering. With my paintings I use acrylic paint on canvas or plywood. I’m experimenting a lot with paint at the moment, with different brush sizes, substrates and acrylic mediums.


How long have you been printing and painting for?
Following a long career as a graphic designer, I did an MA in Textile Futures at Central St Martins in 2006-2008. It was during this course that I got back into screen printing (actually for wallpaper designs) and become involved with the digital revolution for print on textiles. This progressed into creating all sorts of surface pattern products. One of these was a collection of greetings cards which Tate Modern bought for their shop. I started to think of these as graphic prints as they were popular. This got me hooked into making archival quality digital prints. I also won the opportunity to create some work in a new gallery and further experimented with a set of prints for this. I’ve always painted, but in the past few years I have more felt the desire to experiment with paint and create one off pieces. Acrylic paint has suited me as I love how quickly it dries, and how rapidly I can create layers and textures.

How do you start building up an image?
With some of my paintings I have become interested in a less structured process. This might involve sketching on the canvas and painting a first rough layer. Then I like to allow myself to be more free and respond with the colours and space in any way which takes my mood at that moment. I find this interesting as sometimes this fails, and sometimes something unexpected and fresh emerges.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Travelling and finding new places always inspires me. I take a lot of photos and having just looked at them, there’s a strong theme that I’m always drawn to remnants of bygone eras or worn remnants of industrial bits and pieces. The textures on worn metals, woods and rope. In the past few years, I have been lucky enough to spend time painting in an Essex riverside village called Wivenhoe where boat shapes, rusted chains, buoys and worn wood gives me inspiration aplenty! I’m really inspired by the post war artists who went to St Ives in Cornwall such as Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon who sought to create abstract work about the feelings of immersion in a place rather than be representational, using different materials.

Do you find having a background in Graphic Design influences your work?
To me, design and my art are linked. It’s all about balance of form, space and colour. I heard a quote from the artist Ben Nicholson recently which really resonated ‘Abstraction should be a vision of order like good design.’

Your work has a very distinctive set off repeating forms. Do you find yourself drawn to certain shapes and colours to explore a theme?
Definitely! I think most people doodle the same thing when they doodle. Mine tend to feature curves, reflections and rotations of these shapes which could be related to my textile design and pattern making background.

What’s your favourite takeaway?
Is this a foodie question?!
If it is, I love Thai vegetarian curry from Tootoomoo!

To see more of Jo’s work check out Jo Angell’s page on the OC&K site.

An Interview with Underway Studio

Ahead of their upcoming show: Printed Spaces: East London Edition at Of Cabbages and Kings (12 April – 5 June 2019 and kicking off with a Private View – 7pm – 9pm, 11 April 2019) we have asked them a few questions.

Underway Studio is a collective of four artists based in Brixton, London. They work collaboratively on screen printed works, with a strong graphic feel that often has an architectural theme. With ‘Printed Spaces: East London Edition’ they explore the architecture of London’s cultural spaces, featuring new prints with an East London focus.

Underway’s, Melissa North, Caitlin Parks, Anna Schmidt and Aiden Barefoot.
There are currently four members of Underway Studio, how did you meet?
We all studied on the same Illustration and Visual Communication degree, but across several years. After graduation, we set up our own studio space to continue working in screen print and it has evolved from there. Initially the studio was a space to pursue our individual practices, but we started to collaborate on a few prints and soon developed a strong collective voice. After having a few different homes across London, we are now based in Brixton where we produce our own work and teach workshops.

 

How do you work on an idea collectively?
For the past 6 months our work has predominately been focused on the architecture of London’s cultural spaces. We wanted to start this portfolio as both a celebration of the rich culture we have in this city and to showcase the architecture of these spaces, much of which has been re-purposed and developed over the years. When we start developing prints we take a lot of photos and collage these together to see which subjects have the most interesting aesthetic, passing designs between one another until they are ready to be taken into screen print.
What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital, print?
Screen printing and collage. We love the way that you can play with scale and overlaying different colours and textures to create a completely unique result.

 

Tell us about the production side of things and how you produce work as a collective.
We physically share the files and material of what we are working on together. Print designs are passed between the collective until they are finalised and ready to screen printed. As a result, the artworks have an impression from each member creating a unique aesthetic. 
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Where do your influences come from for your subject matter?
Much of our work is influenced by architecture, form, texture and colour. Using a physical print process means that our visual language is both playful and distinctive, embracing any happy accidents along the way.
You have a very distinctive, bold use of colour. Is the colour influenced by the subject matter or come from somewhere else?
Colour lends itself extremely well to screen print.  Overlaying layers and textures creates interesting results that inspire and drive our work. We experiment in the studio doing test prints and playing with different colour combinations and this often leads us to our final palette.

 

What are your favourite takeaways?
We are all massive foodies and will eat anything from pizza to ramen. Honest Burger in Brixton is a particular favourite of ours, but you can’t beat South London staple Morleys to get us through the long printing hours!

 

To see more work by Underway Studio take a look at our website here. If you do get a chance come by the shop and check out the show.

Here Comes A City

An Interview with Marc Gooderham

As the face of London changes seemingly overnight, local artist Marc Gooderham has made it his mission to capture these views of the city, the architecture of crumbling and faded grandeur, that are beginning to vanish before our eyes. In the run up to his exhibition Here Comes A City, opening February 8th 2018, we took the opportunity to ask Marc about his paintings and his project.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital….

There are two. Naturally the paintbrush, but also the highly underrated yet extremely versatile piece of chalk!

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How long have you been painting and drawing? When did you start out?

As far back as I can remember. As a child I would sit and draw for hours. Still lifes, portraits, intricate buildings using pen and ink. The first piece of art I sold was to my art teacher at school. He kindly parted with £150 for a still life piece. As a kid, this was all very exciting. I tried not to let that first sale go to my head…honestly.

All your pieces come from real locations, mostly in London. What is it about the urban landscape that appeals to you?

I’ve always lived in London, so it’s a place I know and love. A place of intrigue and new experiences. It’s the contrast of old and new and glimmers of a forgotten time that really appeal to me.

Buildings with a fallen, crumbling exterior always hold an evocative beauty. Cities are a physical thing, they’re made up of lines and interesting forms, and the complexities of architecture and perspective can be challenging at times. But it’s all these things that make it the perfect subject to paint. Buildings command our attention. They’re our homes, places of work, places we admire and fall in love with. They help us navigate our way through life.

What is your process for working on a new piece? 

The only real way of getting to know a city is by walking it. Familiarising myself with the street level views. Making preparatory sketches and photographs. Revisiting a potential location at different times of day – sketch as much as possible! It has to have all the right components, which help make the final composition. Light and shade, suggestions of human life, a glow or reflection in a window, lights shimmering in the distance. These all give harmony and unity to a picture. Once these are in place, I begin work in the studio.

You are now working more with chalk pastels instead of painting, was there anything in particular that drew you to a new medium?

Working with charcoal and chalk pastels has been quite a liberating experience. I am still painting, producing large canvas pieces each month, again of the urban landscape.  I will always paint, however the pastel/charcoal lends itself to working quickly and more instinctively, 50% of the picture is created using my fingers.  There isn’t a lot of room for mistakes which adds to the excitement of this medium, speed is of the essence! It’s about capturing a certain feel or atmosphere and ultimately exercising the art of freehand drawing. It gives the artist a sketch – like fluidity.

Do find yourself returning to locations?

All of time. The locations are very familiar to me. Old haunts or places I have lived naturally become the subject of my work. The city is changing at such a rapid pace, there will always be a new discovery.

What is your favourite takeaway?

 Quite simply ‘Babur To Go.

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New Church Street Screen Print!

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As you may remember, back in June we ran a charity auction for The Abney Park Trust with John Gosler’s original art. Thanks to everyone’s support and efforts we were able to raise £260 for the charity. Don’t forget we still have a few of the cemetery maps and festival posters for sale if you’re interested in owning a bit of Stoke Newington history!

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While working with John on getting the auction together, we found another original in his collection. The piece was made in the same scraper board technique as the festival posters and featured a streetscape based upon the shops and buildings lining Stoke Newington Church Street. It was also done around the same time in the mid-90s to promote the Stoke Newington Midsummer Festival. We loved it so much we decided to reproduce it ourselves to sell in the shop!

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Since the scraper board left such a distinctive woodcut style texture, we wanted to pick up as much of that as possible and decided that a screen print would reproduce it best. We worked with Mark at Atom Gallery in Newington Green who printed them up for us, on  beautiful Southbank Smooth 310 gsm paper stock, hand pulling each one in a limited edition of 500. Each print is hand numbered and embossed with the Of Cabbages & Kings logo for authenticity.

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People frequently ask after locally themed prints, so we are delighted to be able to offer something drawn, made and printed right here, and exclusively available from Of Cabbages & Kings!

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MESH Studio with Marcelina Amelia

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On July 6th 2017 we will be hosting the official launch of MESH Studio with Marcelina Amelia here at Of Cabbages and Kings in Stoke Newington. On the opening night there will be a special pop-up shop from 5:30-9pm and the exhibition will run from July 7th until the end of August. We spoke with Marcelina to find out a bit more about MESH and the idea behind the brand.

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MESH is a multidisciplinary art brand and design studio founded by artist Marcelina Amelia: Meshing shit up!

Marcelina has taken her artwork beyond the confines of the canvass and has applied it to affordable art objects and wearable art as well as limited edition prints, books and other artworks in a range of different media. Rather than focusing on product design, Marcelina often combines her image making with found household objects to create a series of one-offs within a theme.MESH_STUDIO_GICLEEPRINTS_POSTER_MARCELINAAMELIA.jpgThe Mission Statement:

“Our aim is to embody the term ‘Renaissance girl’, and as the name suggests, we love mixing different techniques and forms, like screen-printing, fashion, painting, ceramics, publications, illustration, politics and activism, because art shouldn’t have any boundaries. We hope that this fluid and meshy structure of the brand, will allow us to collaborate more and make a lot of exciting work and happenings.

MESH’s first collection is titled The Unsatisfied Girls Club and is inspired by the recent movement of strong and powerful women who aren’t afraid to walk tall and proud, manifesting their thoughts, fighting for their rights at the Women’s Marches and other activist happenings all around the world. 

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The Unsatisfied Girls Club is a movement of women wanting and deserving more. Women uplifting each other, and rolling their eyes at the old outdated, stereotypical ways, not being ashamed of their ‘girliness’, standing for themselves and each other, because being a women isn’t a weakness. Research shows that many women are conforming to outdated stereotypes and acting ‘like an alpha male’ to succeed at work – including dressing like a man and hiding ‘girlie’ emotions.”

You can also read our interview with Marcelina on the blog from a few years ago when she had her last exhibition us.

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Adam Bartlett – Painting and Process

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We are excited to announce our next exhibition with Adam Bartlett aka Tigers of the Universe. You may have seen his prints in the shop over the few months, and we’ll be looking forward to see what comes next! Adam will be exhibiting some original paintings alongside limited edition giclée prints. The show opens with a private view on Thursday April 13th from 6:30pm, we hope you can join us.

Adam creates his paintings by building up many layers of painted patterns to create beautiful decorative artworks.  We were able to grab Adam for a few questions to ask about his work and process.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital….
My weapon of choice is the trusty pencil, followed closely by the brush.

How long have you been painting for? When did you start out?.
It feels like I have always been drawing and painting, although previously I was a digital illustrator for 8 years. It’s only been the in last 3 years that I’ve started painting again.

You often use a combination of media in your paintings, such as acrylic, spray paint, emulsion and even enamel. How do these combinations influence your final pieces?
The various mediums are used in layers. Emulsion is the base and finally the enamel for fine details. It’s not a hard and fast process, but more something that i enjoy. Also the paints have their own strengths and combined have good contrast and character. I am often unsure of the paints influence regarding the final piece, but more often than not pleasantly surprised.

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Many of your pieces have jungle animals and lush landscapes. Are they inspired by travel or imaginary locations?
The animals and forests are pure fantasy. I long for a world covered in jungle and forests where the animals and birds can roam free. The natural world is so stunning and I want to capture this in my paintings.

You have also worked in fashion textiles and design, does this background influence your current work?
More and more I feel the influence of textiles creeping back into the paintings, not only with introducing texture again, but thinking about fabric designs etc. It’s exciting to come full circle and bring these various experiences together again, but with a fresh perspective.

Do find you that you come back to certain motifs, themes and colours over pieces?
Yes, I think its important to keep certain repetitive elements in your paintings. Sometimes I feel guilty about repeating things, as if I’m not pushing myself enough, in which case exploiting repetitiveness will suffice.

What is your favourite takeaway?
Mmm, fish n chips or shish kebab

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The Origin of A

By George Cullen.

I’m starting a series of blog posts about the materials of printing. In these I will examine with more detail, the materials and methods behind the prints at Of Cabbages and Kings. First up in the series I am going to look at paper size and how it came to be that so many artists work with the same paper measurements – in particular the ‘A’ size.

You’re probably already aware that a lot of the paper our artists use and the paper you use at home or at work is an ‘A’ size. As a result so are a lot of the frames that we stock, especially the more popular ones. So what is ‘A’ size paper?

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A diagram showing how A sizes fit in relation to each other.

‘A’ sizes form a group of papers whose dimensions are exactly half of the larger one before it, while also maintaining the same proportions. For example an A3 sheet is made up of two A4 sheets and two A5 sheets can me made from one A4. A0 being the largest sheet in the series at 841 x 1189mm.

The ‘A’ size paper measurements began their life in Germany in the 1920s. The standardisation was introduced by the ‘Deutsches Institut für Normung’ German Institute for Standardisation aka DIN who were responsible for the standardisation of many elements of German society including industrial output and technology. They have a wide range, for example DIN 72552 is responsible for electric terminal numbers in automobiles where as the one for paper size is DIN 476. There is even a typeface DIN 1451 which was designed in 1931 for its legibility.

The ‘A’ sizes and their metric measurements were adopted by Britain in the 50’s as part of the metrication of measurements and replaced ‘Foolscap’ which was 8½ × 13½ inches. DIN 476 allowed paper sizes to be standardised across Europe and many parts of the world. By 1975 so many countries were using DIN 476 it was established as ISO 216, which is the ‘International Organisation for Standardisation’ and ISO 216 is the official United Nations document format used today. ISO216 is used in every country in the world, apart from the United States and Canada whose paper ‘US Letter’ and ‘P1, P2’ etc is still based on an imperial measuring system.

The largest A0 sheet has an area of one square meter, which was the result of Germany adopting the metric system for their measurements. This also aided in measuring the weight. As paper weight is worked out as grams per square meter (gsm). So the weight of a sheet of paper is how many grams are per a square meter of that paper. The heavier the paper, the higher the gsm and generally the better quality!

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An A4 sheet showing folds of A6 and A5

So why isn’t A0 a simple meter square? Well this reveals the simple elegance of the ‘A’ measurements. If you fold a square in half you get two rectangles that bear no resemblance to the original proportions. The A sizes allow you to fold the paper in half and get the same proportioned piece of paper as a result. This is great when you have to resize artwork to fit different sheets of paper, perfectly demonstrated in the giclée prints of Mister Peebles. The ‘A’ size is used to give you the choice of having a larger or smaller print, without compromising the original artwork.

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 Mister Peebles – Scale Great Heights in A2, A3 and A6 sizes

So next time you are in Of Cabbages and Kings and looking at prints, take some time to consider the paper sizes. If you can’t spot the A sizes straight away look at the back, where we have written the dimensions. You might want to think about how you hang them on the wall at home. You could have one large A1 print or instead four A3 ones in the same space. That is the joy of the ‘A’ system as the structure is already set down in the large A0 and the other sizes are worked out by halving the space.

An Interview with Lauren Mortimer

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Our next exhibition will be with London based illustrator Lauren Mortimer. The opening night is on Thursday September 1, from 7-9pm, and the show will hang until the end of October.

We love Lauren’s graphite illustrations that combine nature elements in unexpected ways, and so it was very exciting when we got to sit down with Lauren for an interview and find out more about the lady herself and her artistic process.Lauren Mortimer_Profile

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
The pencil is pretty much my best friend!

You originally studied Fashion Promotion at Central St. Martins. Has that influenced your current illustration work?
I think that it must have influenced my current work on some level, though if it has, not purposefully. By not having an illustration background, it allowed me to have more freedom and find my style quickly. My work does lend itself well to the fashion world though… I do a lot of editorial work for instance for fashion magazines.Lauren Mortimer Prints_2Many of your pieces include visual puns and hidden meanings, as well as surrealist combinations. How do those themes come together for your pieces?
I think the wonderful thing about illustration is that you can create anything you like on a piece of paper. There are no limits. Though my work is very realistic, I like to mix themes and merge objects together to create something more visually exciting – something that isn’t a reality. Patterns and texture play a huge part of my work too. I like to change the meaning of the objects, and nature will always be huge starting point for me.
 

Some of the projects you’ve worked on include illustrating books. Can you tell us a bit about the process for a larger project like that?
I’ve got 5 books under my belt so far, and I’m working my way through the final artwork of my 6
th, a colouring book. The wonderful thing about big projects like these is that you have a physical product at the end of it with all of your artwork put together. You see it in a different context to the piece of paper you created it on, and you have that proud moment. When my two cocktail books, Tequila Mockingbird, and Gone With The Gin arrived in the post from the publisher, it was really exciting, and definitely a highlight for me.Lauren Mortimer_Gone With The Gin Cover GWTG_Lauren Mortimer_Blade Rummer

There is a slightly macabre and dark undertone to many of your pieces, is that something you find yourself consciously drawn to? Do you find that graphite lends itself particularly well to those themes?
I think that it’s just my style and my interests that come together that way. By contrasting an object that’s soft and beautiful with something that’s hard, for instance, enhances each of them, and creates something poetic in my eyes. For me it’s more about how the viewer interprets it. Everyone should take what he or she wants from it in their own way.

How long have you been making prints?
I’ve been producing limited edition prints for about 4 years now! Time flies!

What is your favourite takeaway?
That’s easy… Pizzzzaaaaaaa!  

Thanks so much! You can see more of Lauren’s work on our website or in the shop. Feel free to pop by on Thursday the 1st to meet her in person, enjoy the work up on the walls and have a glass of wine.

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