For the York Bzzaar, we decided to make a screen-printed tea towel.
The York Bzzaar is held annually in the beautiful Avon Valley, west of Perth. To help celebrate, Blue Lawn Designs have created a tea towel using the image of the historic York town hall. We thought that this would be a good opportunity to describe how we make our screen-printed tea towels.
As an example, for our tea towels depicting the built environment, we work from a photograph that we convert into a high-contrast black and white image. From there, we then make a ‘film positive’. This is essentially a transparent and opaque image that is then exposed onto a screen that has been coated with a photographic emulsion (red is also UV light proof and acts the same as opaque black).
The ‘film positive’ is placed in contact with the coated screen. By exposing the screen to UV light, the emulsion under the transparent areas, hardens. But under the transparent areas, the emulsion doesn’t harden and remains water-soluble. As a result it can be washed out with water, creating a stencil of open and closed areas on the tightly stretched polyester (not silk) mesh.
For each additional colour in the design, an additional screen is required. The tea towels are then individually hand printed with water-based inks in the Blue Lawn studio.