Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On the Hobbyist Train to Ruin

It’s interesting how difficult it can be to find certain things in Japan. For example, I have had a long burning desire to screen print something since coming to Japan but it has been a frustrating search for materials. The cost of the materials, if found. to print a single t-shirt is probably ludicrous for all intents and purposes. However, there is much to be said for the process and the feel of doing it yourself. When I look at my wardrobe of t-shirts most of them are ones printed by me. It serves as a reminder of the years gone past. Was it really 5 years ago I made that Resident Evil merchant shirt? I can’t say I’ve made tons of shirts because it requires effort. This is a kind of effort mom described by saying I was slaving away out in the garage.

I’m gravely offended by the price of t-shirts you see. I saw some awesome bear shirts in Sapporo on my last day there. Those had massive ferocious blood thirsty bears in bold yellow and black colors. How sweet. Sure, businesses are in it for making a dollar and I probably can’t reproduce anything like that by myself but upwards of 25 dollars (might have been 30) for a t-shirt is a premium my wallet won’t open up for, no matter how great. Fashion annoys me anyway. Maybe I'm just jealous I lack any solid style. Come the end of the day and everyone in their get ups will devolve back into sweat pants and hooded sweatshirts as there is no longer anyone to impress. If that is the nature of our being why does there seem to be such a priority put on fashion? Oh its just consumerism as everything else.

So I believe I have found the things I need to start screen printing again. When searching for screen printing materials I get lots of webpages for shops that do printing. There is also a rather prevalent mini printing kit but I want tools like I would use back home. It just wouldn't do. I want to work with the tools that will lead to improvement. Oh I don't even want to think about the money I will spend to get started. My hobbies aren't always cheap. I just have to rationalize by telling myself its the same as several dinners out or buying some new clothes which works out well because I don't do either very often. Great for me!

I spent most of the day contemplating what I will need to make some nice prints. I could do single color prints but I won't limit myself. I'm going to go for the kill with my first t-shirt. In order to do so I'm going to need to construct a nice hinge/clamp system for my screen. As I have no idea where to get proper screen printing clamps I'll just make something up of my own. My idea is to attach door hinges directly to my screen. Then I will clamp the portion unattached to the screen down to a board. Take a look below.


This way I can quickly detach the screen and wash it. So one side of the hinge is screwed in while the other is not. I think this will work great. I need a hinge system for lining up my art work. That is the most difficult part of multiple color prints. It's maddening.

I have several random print ideas that have been floating in my mind for awhile. I've mostly put them off because of the technical skill involved. I can't let my skill get too rusty and I'm dying to create something I can wear. Here is just a sample of what I'm aiming to make. It's always good to create samples and dream of what the outcome might be. It usually never looks quite like I envision in the sample but usually does just fine.


I love those bees. I lifted the bee from an 8bit music album CD cover several years back. It has eaten at my mind ever since. It needs to be born on a shirt. I hope this winter we see that happen.

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